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Speaking of divorce: How do you have the talk with your spouse?

Once you have decided that divorce is necessary, it may still be a very long road between now and when the divorce gets finalized. And one of the biggest roadblocks may be right in front of you: Breaking the news to your spouse.

While divorce can be and is a mutual decision in many cases, it is also common for one spouse to initiate divorce proceedings - sometimes with little warning that divorce was even on their mind. If you have yet to discuss divorce with your spouse, you may be wondering just how to have such a difficult conversation.

Picking the right time and place is important. It's usually best to do it at a time when you are both free and can be mentally present. You may also want to minimize other distractions and interruptions (getting someone to babysit the kids, for instance).

How you start the conversation will depend on how much your spouse already knows. If you have not discussed divorce at all, you may need to ease into the topic rather than jumping in right away. Your spouse's prior knowledge (or lack thereof) may also affect how he or she reacts to the news. Nonetheless, you should be prepared for any number of emotional responses.

Although you may need to be firm about your position, you should also be gentle. The divorce talk could set the tone for how the divorce process will eventually unfold. Kindness and patience now could make things a lot easier later on.

As we wrote in a post earlier this month, separation is an option if either you or your spouse is unsure about divorce. A trial separation does not involve any legal work, but legal separation does.

Divorce is not an easy decision, nor is it easy to discuss with your spouse. If you need some help preparing for the discussion, please consider working with a therapist or other mental health professional.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The Best Way to Ask Your Spouse for a Divorce," Cheryl and Joe Dillon, May 22, 2015

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