How to Ask a Spouse for a Divorce

Deciding to end your marriage can be motivated by a number of reasons, including growing apart emotionally, infidelity on the part of either spouse, financial problems, failure to communicate and more. Whatever the reason you may have for wanting to end your marriage, it is not an easy task to ask your husband or wife for a divorce. To make the process begin, in as civil a manner as possible, certain considerations can be helpful in making a hard matter easier to deal with.

Schedule a special time to sit down one-on-one with your spouse and inform him or her that you want a divorce. Be prepared to explain the specifics of why you feel that this is the best choice and expect that the response you receive is likely to be one of anger, surprise or hurt. Do not defend yourself by resorting to blaming your spouse or being accusatory towards him or her; that will only make matters worse. Try using terms like "we" and "us" and "our", so that you can discuss how both of you had contributing issues in your marriage and how both of you can benefit from moving on with your lives. You may want to rehearse what you're going to say beforehand.

Try to be as conciliatory as possible, especially if you and your spouse have children together. Let your spouse know that you will honor your responsibilities to your children and that you want to continue to be a part of their lives. Work on making your spouse understand that an amicable divorce is better for your children and that acting vengeful and hostile toward each other will only hurt your children.

Leave third parties out of your divorce discussion. Bringing in family members and friends, who may inevitably take sides or get too emotional, will only complicate the situation. Discussing a divorce with your spouse should be a private matter.

Consider writing your spouse a letter about your desire to file for divorce if you are afraid to confront him or her. Make the tone of the letter respectful and specifically outline your reasons for wanting to end your marriage without using words that stir up animosity.

Get the appropriate paperwork started before you let your spouse know of your intentions to file for divorce. If your circumstances make it difficult or impossible for you to directly confront your spouse to ask for a divorce, then you can file divorce papers and have them served. While this certainly is not the ideal manner to inform your spouse about your desire to divorce, it may be the best method if violence is a possibility.