How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce: educate yourself (step 3)Feb 23, 2021
When you announce to your family and friends that you plan to tell your spouse that your marriage is over and you want a divorce, they may give you some bad advice. They may tell you to hire a lawyer before you do anything else. In other words, let your spouse find out you want a divorce by being served with court documents. Don’t do it.
Instead, prepare before telling your spouse you want a divorce. If you do, the process of your divorce will more likely be peaceful, and you will save money. The five steps to follow as you prepare to tell your spouse are:
- Take Responsibility
- Create a Goal
- Educate Yourself
- Focus on What is Best for Your Children
In this blog post, the focus is on Step 3: Educate Yourself.
Before you talk to your spouse, start learning everything you can about divorce and about the factors that can make ending a marriage dangerous.
Here is why educating yourself about divorce and relationship violence is important: if you don’t understand the divorce concepts, you will not be able to evaluate how different options will impact your life, and the lives of your children. If you possess good information, you can make better decisions. If you study possible danger signs (your spouse is very controlling, for example), you will be in a better position to take steps to remain safe as you separate from your spouse.
You don’t have to spend money to educate yourself. Presently governments are concerned about access to justice and the number of spouses who are unrepresented by lawyers or attorneys in family court. This has resulted in governments sharing divorce forms and instructions online, offering video explanations of legal terminology, and legal education clinics. Search “free legal resources” in goggle or bing, and see what turns up.
If you prefer less formality and want to treat the process as a life event instead of as a series of legal issues, there are videos on YouTube. I did a series on “Tip a Day to a Peaceful Divorce” when my business was called Full Circle Divorce. If you search my name (Kim Korven) and “Full Circle Divorce” on YouTube, you will find them.
If there are one or two things you do not understand, you can hire a lawyer or attorney who also works as a legal coach or who offers “unbundled services”. “Unbundled” means the lawyer will not represent you during the entire legal process. A lawyer or attorney who offers unbundled services will only provide the services you engage them to perform.
For example, if you want to know what courts say about who pays for hockey fees or music lessons, you might want to contact a lawyer. You will have to pay for the services, but it will be much less expensive than having this issue argued in court. Another possible question is to ask about parenting times and common parenting arrangements. Or you could ask the lawyer, “how is property divided here? Is it equal or something else? What about property I owned before we were married? We only lived together. Do we have to share the property?
If you ask these questions, you will have useful information to share after you tell your spouse you want a divorce. This will lessen the tension. You will be in a better position to make good decisions.
Some of the information you learn may not please you. Isn’t it better to learn this upfront, instead of after you have spent thousands of dollars?
If there is a history of controlling behaviour, additional learning is necessary. If this is you, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. I have collected some information on this topic which is useful.
In closing, I do not recommend hiring a lawyer before telling your spouse you want a divorce. Use free and low-cost resources first. You will feel more confident and will have a better idea what to expect. This will make the conversation easier.
Reach out to schedule your complimentary 20-minute drama-free divorce session.
Use Kim's "Divorce Script" to plan your words and tell your spouse you want a divorce.
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