Your marriage is over.
Divorce is imminent, or perhaps has already begun.
You can’t talk to your spouse anymore without it turning into a fight.
This is probably a big part of why you are getting divorced in the first place. But is the lack of communication going to affect how your divorce proceeds?
Your ability to effectively communicate with your spouse NOW can have a direct link to both the duration and cost of your divorce.
By the end of this article, you will see (I hope) how important it is to put your differences aside and work together with your soon-to-be-ex to make the divorce process a quick and inexpensive one.
How to Tell Your Spouse It’s Over
It all starts with how you broach the topic of wanting a divorce.
Whether you’re the one telling your spouse you want a divorce or you’re on the receiving end of the news, how the request is communicated is important, because it sets the tone for everything that follows.
Surprising your spouse with a Complaint for Divorce is NOT the best option. It’s the stuff of horror stories: a stranger knocking at the door and serving you with divorce papers right in the middle of your kid’s birthday party.
The better course of action is to have a conversation—or many conversations—explaining that this is what you want and you hope he understands. Your goal is to make the process as painless as possible for BOTH of you. It’s not about trying to hurt each other or get revenge.
Of course, emotions are running high. This is the reason many divorces turn ugly and cost so much. But setting the stage by establishing that the marriage cannot be saved prepares everyone for dealing with what comes next.
It may be a good idea to let your spouse know when to expect to be served with the Complaint for Divorce. In many states, this is a formality (service of the Complaint) and has to be done for procedural purposes with the court.
You Can’t See the Future
I say the following to people getting divorced all the time:
Just because the marriage failed doesn’t mean you two can’t be friends or co-parent together effectively after the divorce.”
I don’t know why your marriage failed. I wasn’t there.
But, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter now.
What DOES matter is how you act moving forward.
Now, it does takes two, but if the communication is there, you really can have a positive relationship with your ex.
It is possible, and I’ve seen it many many times.
What About the Kids?
Children are probably the biggest issue for divorced parents.
Are you on the same page? Is there an adequate parenting schedule in place? Do you have the same priorities and parenting styles?
If you want to make your co-parenting life as conflict-free as possible, then you need to get on the same page regarding the children.
If you can’t, go to mediation to figure it out. Go to therapy. Do something, because if you can’t get on the same page, your post-divorce life will be miserable.
My biggest piece of advice on that point is this:
If you find yourself getting all worked up over everything your ex is doing when he has the children, stop it! Not everything is the end of the world.
Divorce judges typically don’t want to get involved in parental affairs unless there is evidence of obvious child abuse. It’s a high standard.
What does this all mean?
A bad marriage is a bad marriage. Unfortunately, it happens.
But you still have a say in the post-divorce relationship.
Remember, just because you couldn’t communicate as spouses doesn’t mean you can’t as exes. Keep an open mind.
Always act in the best interests of the children, even though that might not be what is in your best interest.