Your marriage is on the rocks and you’ve finally come to the conclusion that you need to ask your spouse for a divorce. This is one of the more important conversations you’ll ever have, as the approach you take will impact the divorce process and how you get along in the future (should you need to co-parent).

There’s no perfect guide on how to ask for divorce, so the best thing you can do is take an honest and calm approach. Here are some tips for making the most of this conversation:

  • Get to the point: Don’t drag things out, such as by beating around the bush. Quickly let your spouse know that you’re ready to divorce. No matter how they react, don’t change your mind now.
  • Leave time to have a meaningful conversation: If you only have five minutes in your schedule, it’s not the right time to sit down and ask for a divorce. The time and place you choose is every bit as important as what you actually say.
  • Keep your cool: It’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you, even if you’re ready to divorce your spouse. You can only control yourself, so don’t let your spouse’s emotions change your approach to the conversation.
  • Avoid details that will cause a fight: It’s difficult enough to ask for a divorce. If you introduce subject matter that has the potential to cause a fight, that’s exactly what you’ll get. Stay away from potentially touchy subjects, such as who will get physical custody of your children and what will happen to your family home. You will have enough time to work through these details during the actual divorce process.

Asking for a divorce is never easy, but once you get your true feelings out in the open it’s easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re now in position to proceed with your divorce filing, which positions you to work through your issues with your soon to be ex-spouse.

Understanding the divorce process and your legal rights will give you the knowledge necessary to manage anything that comes at you during this challenging time.