Maybe you saw it coming over the past few months or years. Or maybe your spouse did something that pushed you to your limit. Regardless of the circumstances, if you have the feeling that your marriage is over, it’s time to ask for a divorce.

But that leads to an important question: How do you tell your spouse that you want to divorce them?

Even if they feel the same way, bringing your true feelings to light is complicated. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Carefully choose a time and place: Don’t make the mistake of blurting out your intentions at the wrong time, such as when driving in the car with your children. Discussing a potential divorce is a big deal, so set aside enough time, in the right place, to do so.
  • Get to the point: Rather than beat around the bush, dive head first into your true feelings. Tell your spouse you want a divorce, explain why and back it up by sharing your feelings and why you think your marriage is over.
  • Give your spouse time to speak: Even if you have a lot to say, you shouldn’t dominate the conversation. Give your spouse time to speak their mind, share their feelings and provide feedback on your thoughts. Don’t interject, but instead listen to everything they’re saying.
  • Don’t talk about the details of your divorce: This is a common mistake that you could easily make. You know that your divorce will result in many questions and concerns about alimony, child support, child custody and property division, among other details. Even though you’re anxious to dive into these details, don’t do so during this conversation. Emotions are high, so you could quickly find yourself in the middle of a serious argument about something of extreme importance.

Asking for a divorce is much more difficult than it sounds. However, once you share your feelings and have a plan for the future, it will feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders.

Once your spouse is aware of your intentions, it’s easier to plan for the divorce process and protect your legal rights at every turn of the road.