2024 How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce in California

2024 How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce in California

March 18, 2024

Coming to the realization that your marriage has run its course and divorce is the only option left for you can be an emotionally damaging moment. Marriage is expected to be a lifetime commitment; when the commitment abruptly ends, it can hurt. Reaching the decision to divorce may not always be a mutual effort. You may be wondering how to tell your spouse you want a divorce in California. Reach out to an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you figure that out.

Steps You Can Take

Approaching your spouse to tell them you want a divorce can be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. It can be an intimidating conversation, but the longer you take to have the discussion, the harder it will be. Here are some steps you can take when telling your spouse that you wish to seek a divorce.

  • Consult a Lawyer: Before discussing divorce with your spouse, you may want to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney and state your case. They may be able to help you reach a decision, give you sound advice, and encourage you to do what you have to do.
  • Be Decisive: Procrastinating and failing to be direct is not going to help the conversation end any quicker. As painful as it might be to broach the subject, being decisive and getting to the point as quickly as possible can help you sound less insecure. Presenting your case in a thoughtful, clear way shows your spouse that you have thought this through and are not being reactive.
  • Don’t Lose Your Temper: Stay as calm as you can. This is going to be an emotional conversation for both of you. You need to choose your words carefully so you can say everything you intend to say in the moment. Practicing your speech multiple times in the days leading up to the conversation can help you emotionally detach from the words themselves.
  • Prepare for Their Emotions: While you may have had adequate time to prepare for this conversation, your spouse likely has not. You need to be ready for their emotional reaction, which could be severe. Take a deep breath before responding to them, and try not to let their reaction frustrate or fluster you.
  • Don’t Get Personal: It is not wise to turn this conversation into a full-blown argument by throwing past transgressions or old grudges in your partner’s face. To begin with, it will only serve to increase the tension. That only makes the discussion harder and deepens the divide between the two of you. If you feel either yourself or your spouse starting to get enraged, stop the discussion and agree to continue once tempers have died down.
  • Pick Your Moment: Timing can be everything. Announcing your intention to divorce in front of your spouse’s book club or fantasy league can only embarrass and irritate them. This is an important, heartfelt conversation that you need to have together. Try to pick a time when both of you are free for at least a few hours; do it at home, and do not do it in front of your children. Critically, avoid bringing it up if one or both of you are already in a bad mood.
  • Give Them Time: It is unlikely that this will be the only conversation you have about divorce, and your spouse probably will not simply end it with their approval. You need to give them time to consider the conversation and absorb what was said. You also need time to absorb your spouse’s response in kind.


Q: Who Loses More Financially in a Divorce?

A: Since California is a 50/50 state, neither party is supposed to lose more financially in a divorce. Property and assets acquired during the marriage are divided as equally as possible between both parties in the event of a divorce. Divorce in California does not favor one specific spouse, regardless of what may have caused the divorce, since California is a no-fault divorce state.

Q: What Is the First Thing to Do When Separating?

A: The first thing you should do after deciding to pursue a separation is to give yourself time to process such a major shift in your relationship. Odds are there was already a lot of emotional strife in play before the decision to separate was made. By understanding why this is happening and making peace with it, you can start to work out how to handle co-parenting, assets, and possibly a divorce if it comes to that.

Q: What Do You Do Before Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce?

A: The most important thing you need to do before telling your spouse that you want a divorce is to be entirely certain that a divorce is what you want. There is often no way back from that conversation. Consider your options, talk to a divorce lawyer, ask trusted family and friends if they have an opinion and, ultimately, decide what is going to be right for your relationship going forward. Once you have made peace with that, you should discuss divorce with your spouse.

Q: How Do You Gracefully Divorce?

A: There is no easy way to gracefully divorce. Divorce can be a messy, one-sided ordeal that leaves chaos in its aftermath, depending on the parties involved. If your spouse recognizes the need for divorce and is willing to compromise for the sake of you and any children you may have, there is a good chance that you can have a graceful divorce. It really depends on the people involved and their willingness to put egos aside.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today

Convincing your spouse that divorce is the right decision is not an easy conversation to have. It can get ugly, personal, chaotic, and painful, which can only reinforce that you have made the right decision. In the event of a divorce, it is important that you protect yourself. Reach out to Edgar & Dow today to speak to an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process and be by your side every step of the way. Contact us to schedule a consultation as soon as you can.


The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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