I Want a Divorce! How Should I Say it to My Spouse in NJ?

Practical Tips to Discuss a Divorce Decision with Your Spouse in Totowa, Wayne, Woodland Park, and Passaic County Towns

How Should I Say I Want a Divorce to My Spouse in NJ?Couples divorce for many reasons. The most common causes include infidelity, non-commitment, and excessive arguing. Frustrated spouses, over time, feel misunderstood and seek other love interests for comfort and validation. Other significant stressors include financial challenges, substance abuse, domestic violence, and health problems. Couples who argue excessively may lack communication tools or were married too young to gain relationship experience. Religious differences and contrasting views of childrearing may also get in the way of couples lasting through the downs and the ups in long-term relationships.

Possible Reactions from a Spouse

The most anxiety-producing words are “I have something to tell you.” When you know your marriage is over and you want a divorce, you may want to approach the subject with your spouse most safely and productively possible. But first, you must be sure that you want to divorce because your follow-through will take resolve. Of course, the circumstances of your marriage dictate how or when you break the news. A violent spouse may require you to seek legal protection first. In most cases, planning is crucial to the timing.

Choose the Proper Time

Choosing a time when you both can talk uninterrupted and when neither of you is too tired nor preoccupied with something else is best. After work hours and after the children are in bed may be a quiet, focused time, but morning is better for freshness and alertness. You want your spouse’s undivided attention where and when they can feel safe. You may handle an intimate private matter better in privacy, so arrange to be alone in a comfortable setting, optimally at home. But you may prefer a secluded corner in a public place to control the expected emotional reaction.

Protect Yourself in Case of an Aggressive Response

Knowing your spouse, you can plan for what you predict is inevitable. For example, if your spouse turns violent in conflict, you can obtain a domestic violence protective order or have a witness and support person with you before approaching your spouse. Sometimes family members can play a significant role as mediators and support. If it is unsafe to face your spouse, you may have to remove yourself and have a process server deliver divorce papers to them.

Shield Your Finances

And if you believe your spouse will empty bank accounts or run up credit cards, you may want to ensure you have the means to support yourself. Weeks may pass before you can get a temporary court order for support, especially if you depend financially on your spouse. Additionally, educating yourself about how much alimony courts order is also helpful for planning. For this information, you may consult with a family law attorney.

Don’t Just Say It. Back Your Words Up with Divorce Papers

But even if you do not fear your spouse’s destructive reaction, you may still want to file divorce papers with the court and serve the divorce complaint on them rather than discuss the subject beforehand. This way, both parties can hire attorneys to reduce emotional confrontations and protect parties and children. However, if you sit down with your spouse to broach the subject, be sure to pick the right time and place.

Get Your Speech Ready in Advance

And then know what you are going to say and how. Winging it could leave you frustrated or emotional and unable to communicate what is necessary. So, jotting down notes in advance or writing a letter may help you convey your thoughts in a gentle but firm tone. Expressing confidence communicates your resolve, so they understand the reality of the situation. In this way, you can anticipate your spouse’s response and compassionately address what they will say and express. Rehearsing for the emotional turmoil may help you both handle the situation better.

While you want to be compassionate, you also want to honestly convey your reasons and expectations. You want to choose your words carefully, especially if your spouse is unsuspecting of your decision. While you have thought the decision through, they may feel powerful emotions, catching them off guard. The psychological disadvantage and the shock may cause them to lash out in anger and become uncooperative. They may withdraw in silence or try emotional manipulation and guilt to change your mind. Thus, being prepared for the emotional response, remaining calm, and choosing the right words and tone are critical.

Clearly State Your Arguments

Without harping on tired disagreements or picking old wounds, spell out the marital problems, their causes, and your attempts to solve them. Using a divorce discussion to remind your spouse of their destructive substance addiction is likely to end in a fight and not very productive. So, while you want to state your reasons, you may want to avoid specific details that provoke an argument. And speak from your point of view, using the pronoun “I” to prevent them from feeling blamed and attacked. Optimally, you have prepared your spouse beforehand with warnings about divorce to avoid ambushing them.

Do Not Create False Expectations

Key Tips to Communicate a Divorce Decision in New JerseyFinally, be prepared to separate and take the necessary steps to move forward. The last thing you want to do is give your spouse false hope of reuniting. If they understand you are serious, they may not fight the inevitable. Depending on your spouse’s cooperation, you may discuss mediation. Without their agreement, however, you may have to undergo a more contested divorce process to resolve conflicts or disagreements about child custody or support issues.

Seek Legal Support from an Experienced Family Lawyer

No matter how the chips fall after telling your spouse you want a divorce; it is essential to hire a skilled divorce lawyer to handle immediate and long-term concerns. A knowledgeable, compassionate family law attorney can offer you divorce options tailored to your situation during an emotional time. For example, your attorney can help you get a restraining order to protect you from domestic violence. A good lawyer can often get child support and temporary custody until you work out the other details of the divorce.

Contact our Divorce Lawyers for a Free Confidential Consultation

If the situation warrants it, a smart, collaborative divorce legal professional may be able to work collaboratively with your spouse’s attorney to facilitate a marital agreement and avoid a long, expensive trial. Other settlement options exist in the court system with alternative dispute resolution options to help reduce or eliminate contentious financial, custody, or other divorce issues. The family court provides arbitration and mediation to resolve disputes rather than litigate them in court, but couples may agree to private mediation with an experienced family law attorney or a retired judge as well. With so many options to choose from, the first step is talking to a family lawyer to expansively cover the topics that matter to you in your divorce and future life and review all of the options you have to move forward.

Meet with a family law attorney at our Little Falls office to plan for your divorce before you have that crucial discussion. At The Montanari Law Group, we have decades of combined experience approaching divorce issues, small and large, on behalf of clients in Morristown, Ringwood, Ridgewood, Hackensack, Newark, Wyckoff, Jersey City, and elsewhere in New Jersey. Explain your situation in a free consultation with a divorce lawyer today at(973) 233-4396  or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation today and discuss how to follow through with your divorce.


To speak with one of our highly knowledgeable attorneys, contact us today at (973)-233-4396 or toll-free at (888)-877-7985. You can also complete the form below to begin your conversation. We are a personalized, boutique-style law firm that offers free initial consultations and flexible appointment options.