How To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

Is there a right way to tell your Spouse you want a Divorce?

I’m often asked, if there is a right way or a wrong way to tell your spouse you want a divorce. The answer to the first question is a maybe, but there is definitely a wrong way to tell your spouse you want a divorce.

Consider your feelings and their feelings

You and your spouse have lived part or much of your life together at this point. You may have children together, but you certainly have memories both good and bad up to this point. Your marriage, your life together, and your history are uniquely yours and yours alone. There is no script for every divorce, because every marriage and consequently ever divorce in Oklahoma is different.

Discussing divorce can and often will bring up sensitive issues for your spouse: shock, denial, anger, resentment, depression, jealously, and emotions you may have never seen from them. The best thing you or anyone can do in this situation is to not make a difficult situation worse.

An experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney would tell you to only begin this conversation when you are ready to deal with the litany of possible responses. You know your spouse better than anyone does. Factor in their personality and emotions in deciding when and where to bring up this very personal and very difficult subject. You can make a plan for the worse and you should.

Divorce Guidance in Oklahoma

Nowhere in Oklahoma statutes or case law will you find the way to tell your spouse you want a divorce in Oklahoma. However, you will find language dealing with fairness and equity in our laws. You can and should consider the following:

Alimony: Also called “spousal support” is the routine payment of financial support from one spouse to the other. Judges in Oklahoma consider the circumstances of both spouses before entering a temporary spousal support order (during the divorce) and/or alimony (time of divorce and beyond). The Court will consider two-factors: 1) the need of the spouse seeking support; and 2) the ability of the other spouse to provide support.

Child Custody: Oklahoma, like many states, determines child custody based on what is “in the best interest of the child”. OKLA. STAT. tit. 43 § 109. Oklahoma law does not specify that joint custody is preferred; however, that is the trend in our state. The Court in your Oklahoma custody case is not allowed to exercise a preference for the mother or the father. You should approach this issue with patience and understand you will likely have continued contact with your spouse, at least concerning custody of your children, until all your children are adults, if not beyond. Even, if you or your spouse are awarded sole physical custody; the other parent will generally have the right to continued regular visitation, unless abuse is an physical abuse, sexual abuse, or substance abuse is an issue.

Mediation: most divorces in Oklahoma are settled without trial, which saves you time, money, and heartache about an uncertain outcome. Keep the fact you may have to negotiate terms with your spouse in mind before you refuse to discuss terms with him or her.

Property: Oklahoma law dictates, “equitable division and disposition of the property the parties” OKLA. STAT. tit. 43 § 108.  

Reconciliation: No divorce in Oklahoma is final, until it is final. Additionally, you cannot marry anyone else for six (6) months after your divorce is final pursuant to OKLA. STAT. tit. 43 § 123. You and your spouse can work through your issues and no divorce attorney should every try to convince you to not reconcile with your spouse.

In Oklahoma divorce proceedings, fairness and equity are paramount, which makes sense as the issues in divorce: child custody, separation, and division of your property are very personal. Oklahoma divorce court and judges focus on the best interest of the child first, the fairness to the parties second, and everything else is after these two considerations. You would be mistaken to believe Oklahoma divorce is about anything else. This concept of fairness begins with how you first communicate with your spouse. Being mean-spirited or intentionally hurtful will do you no good and may cost you in the process.

Considers before filing for Divorce in Oklahoma

Consider all the issues identified above and others before you open a topic of conversation that cannot be shut; divorce. Do you know what you want in the divorce? Will your spouse hotly contest divorce? Will your spouse agree to the child custody agreement you would want? Do you know what custody agreement you want? Can you intelligently explain why you want a divorce? Have you considered how your spouse will react? Have you identified the right place and time to initiate this conversation?

Considerate planning of the time, place, and manner of telling your spouse you no longer wish to be married to them is very important. Prepare yourself for the potential issues that will come up before you open the topic of divorce with your spouse.

Marriage Counseling

Often a spouse is totally caught off guard of the depth or pain an issue has caused their spouse, if this is the case and you are willing to work on the issue together before divorce, marriage counseling is a great idea. Everyday spouses considering divorce or in divorce proceedings decide to reconcile. My firm and every other divorce attorney in Oklahoma has experienced spousal reconciliation. There are many resources available for marriage counseling, whether it is through your church, pastor, priest, rabbi, licensed mental health professional, counselor, or another source; consider this option to save your marriage before filing for divorce.

Even, if you believe you and your spouse are beyond reconciliation, either emotionally or because you are already physically separated, can benefit from marriage counseling. The process of speaking to an experienced professional can help you and/or your spouse identify issues or communication failures not identified before. Whether divorce is inevitable or not; learning how to better communicate with your spouse will make both your lives easier in marriage or during and after divorce.

Staying or Leaving the Marital Home

It is very unusual; however, possible, for both parties to live in the marital home after divorce. The overwhelming majority of divorce proceedings involve one party leaving the marital home during the divorce. You need to know, if you are willing to leave the home before you tell your spouse you want a divorce. Do you know, if your spouse will want to stay or leave? You could be stuck with the bill of not only maintaining the marital home during your divorce proceeding, but also an apartment or townhome for you or your spouse to live in. You will need to take time for additional planning, if you have minor children and hope to have them stay with you some or all of the time you are in your new home.

You can begin to set aside cash to pay rent or additional bills. You should not set yourself up for financial failure, if you can avoid it. Leasing is almost always the best option during a divorce, if you leave the marital home. You can consider putting the marital home on the market, if both parties are in agreement, but do not rely on the other party cooperating with you.

Child Custody and Parenting Time

As a parent myself, I know the most important question for almost every parent is this, who will your children spend most of their time with during and after divorce? The home you make for yourself and your children during and after your divorce will play a major role in the amount of time your children will spend with you. Children will need a bedroom or at the vest least an area of your home that is theirs. Many parents lose the opportunity to have their children live with them due to simply logistics that they have not made a place for their children. Oklahoma family law judges care deeply about the best interest of children and the home your make for your children plays a major role in the judge’s analysis.

Often children will spend the majority of the time with the parent that remains in the marital home for a variety of reasons, including the stability it affords children. Children that stay in the marital home will remain close to friends, attend the same school generally, attend the same church, remain in the community they know, and the list goes on. You should advocate for keeping the marital home, if you want your children to spend a majority of their time with you.

Regardless of whether you stay or leave the marital home, a parenting plan will be put in place by agreement or by order of the court. The plan will dictate who has “final decision-making authority” among many other important issues. The resolution of the issues that go into child custody will affect your life and the lives of your children for many years. In some circumstances, you should consult with a family law attorney in Oklahoma before announcing to your spouse that you plan to seek divorce.

First to File for Divorce in Oklahoma

It may be beneficial to your case to file for divorce before your spouse. Take a moment to read the following 5 Reasons to File First in Your Oklahoma Divorce.

Choose an Experienced Oklahoma Divorce Attorney

Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES in Oklahoma City for legal advice on seeking divorce in Oklahoma. You need a plan before you tell your spouse you are seeking a divorce in Oklahoma. John Cannon is a Fierce Advocate for every client and will use his experience and respected reputation to do everything possible to reach the best possible outcome in your case. John has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for clients evidenced by receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb). Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES today for a free confidential consultation.  

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