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Having the divorce talk

Before going to court, a spouse in Texas must take the first step in ending a marriage. They must tell their soon-to-be former spouse that they want a divorce. If this conversation goes poorly, it can add further conflict and cost to the divorce process.

This conversation is not the beginning of the end of a happy marriage. It may go without saying that spouses in a happy marriage would never consider divorce. However, a spouse in an unhappy marriage may never leave their unwanted relationship if this conversation is never held. That being said, there are ways to mitigate a painful situation and allow the couple to move on.

First, there is never a perfect time to have this talk. Delays may lead to outbursts made under frustration that are later regretted. The best opportunity is when the couple can be at home without appointments, children or other distractions.

This is not another time for arguments or complaints. The message should be very simple and merely state that the marriage is unsatisfactory, their life together is appreciated, and it is time for both spouses to move on.

The other spouse should also receive the opportunity to react without having an argument. It may be necessary to politely deny pleas to reconsider divorce.

Trial separation should also be rejected. Separation periods may create delays and even more problems because of new romantic interests, pressure on the children and new credit cards, investments and bank accounts. Financial commingling during this period can also complicate property division and pose other legal issues.

If the spouses are parents, they must agree on the best way to share the news of the divorce with their children. They can wait until after they calm down, see a therapist or speak with a mediator. Both parents should tell the children together and inform them that they will both continue to act as parents.

Finally, this conversation should not involve the service of legal papers, telling the other spouse that an attorney was hired or negotiating child custody, support and property division. It should be limited to sharing the status of their relationship and ensuring that the children are properly informed.

The decision to divorce is an emotional one, but also one that is often a long time coming. Breaking the news in a calm manner and sticking to the basics can go a long way into setting the stage for an amicable divorce.

Source: Your Tango, "How to tell your husband or wife-'I want a divorce'," Arianna Jeret, March 30, 2018

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