How to First Discuss Divorce

1) First and foremost, divorce is an avalanche of emotions.  If you have been seeing a therapist, consider bringing up the divorce discussion during a joint session with the therapist.  If you bring up the topic without a counselor, choose a time and place that is quiet, calm, and far from interruption. 

2) Talk to your spouse about the cost of divorce.  If you litigate, you might be looking at a $40,000.00 trial per person.  If you negotiate, the cost might be closer to $2,500.00 per person.  Choose negotiation, mediation, collaborative divorce or litigation jointly so you are on the same page about the expense of divorcing.

3) Set divorce priorities.  Is consistency for your children your top priority?  Is an equitable distribution of retirement assets your concern?  Or is affordable housing worrying you?  If you are open about your concerns and you jointly prioritize, you will eliminate some of the friction.

4) Be patient.  Your spouse might need a few weeks or months to process the news, and might be unwilling to negotiate immediately.  Generally, there is not a rush.  In fact, many courts have mandatory waiting periods before they will issue a divorce.

5) Work together to collect your financial documentation.  Compile your tax returns, bank statements, and all other financial data from your marriage.  Make copies so you each have a full set.  If you are in agreement about the identification of assets, you are one step toward the distribution of assets.