Asked 8 months ago - Boston, MAFlag
I want to do the right thing for my children and wife. She will be totally caught off guard by my request. What should I do to prepare for the day I tell her this?
Certainly make sure that you have the children away from the home, or take your wife somewhere out without the children. You can also tell her what you wrote here, that you are going to do the right thing for her and your children. However, since I don't know you or your wife, those are only general thoughts. On the legal side, you should hire a competent attorney ahead of time and give him or her all of your financial information. Best of luck.
While I agree that the first thing you need to do see an attorney, I would caution you about presenting your wish for a divorce as a fete de compli. Presumably, it has taken you some time and emotional anguish to get to this point and your wife will not make the same journey in just a few minutes. She will not be objective – not at first. She will be angry at you for not being frank with her during your growing disenchantment with the marriage. She will be angry with herself for not seeing the hand writing on the wall. More than anything she will feel threatened and disoriented and she will not trust you to do the “right thing.” Having gone to an attorney and having the divorce all planned out for her acquiescence and signature will just make her feel more powerless and resentful.
However you approach your wife let her spend some time coming to terms with her emotions before pressing her for a settlement. Hold off on discussing the settlement terms until she can approach it with some objectively and let her feel that she is participating in the process – her voice is being respected.
It has been my experience that most spouses end up seeing their marriage and divorce from a similar perspective, but they reach that perspective at different time and it is that incongruity that creates a contentious divorce (emotionally and financially expensive).
Without knowing what assets are involved, it is difficult to answer your question. I would certainly begin by taking enough out of the bank account to pay for your monthly expenses and a divorce attorney. As there is children involved, expect your wife to seek custody of them and child support (depending on their age).
Why do you think that what you is doing is best for your wife and children? Has there been a lot of arguing, physical abuse, or has it just been a loveless marriage? Depending on the children's ages, you may want to consider therapy. Most importantly, you and your wife going forward need to agree to keep the children out of the middle of your dispute. There is no reason for them to know any details from court or that mommy and daddy hate each other. Children can usually handle divorce, but it is usually the negative interactions between mom and dad that cause the damage.
Other than that, I would duck when you first tell her so that she does land her punch! I would then sit down with her and see how much you can agree on. If you can agree, you should seek a joint uncontested divorce action. Best of luck!
Hire an attorfney. There are different ways to approach this and you will need legal advice as to which way is the best to start the process. An attorney would need to know about marital assets, alimony issues, child suppport issues, debts and custody/visitation/joint parenting issues. There are ways to try and make this an amicable process and have both parties treated with respect along the way but you need to start with your own attorney. Good luck.
I agree with my colleagues that you should at least consult with an attorney before making any moves.
That said, I would also suggest that you consider using a couple's counselor to facilitate the conversation. We have found that therapists can be very useful for easing the transition out of the marriage and keeping the acrimony low. Parties are almost always better off reaching an amicable agreement, and a therapist can help make that happen.
Best of luck!
I don't know if you have been in therapy at all, but telling your wife how you feel in a therapeutic setting with the proper support for her may be one way to deal with the range of emotions that she will have. You may want to consider marital counseling. After discussing your relationship you may want to consider divorce mediation as a way to work through the issues that need to be addressed such as a parenting plan, financial support and how to divide your assets. Mediation is a non-adversarial and collaborative approach that helps divorcing couples work through the difficult decisions while maintaining a high degree of cooperation. The mediator is a trained neutral experienced in conflict resolution. Mediated agreements are often less costly than adversarial divorces and help couples to maintain their relationship as parents. It is so important that you do what you can to prevent the conflict from escalating while figuring out the decisions inherent in a divorce. Most parents want to protect their children from the ramifications of divorce, and the best way to do that is to decrease the conflict between the parents. Adversarial divorces will often increase the conflict between the divorcing parents. Clarifying to your wife that you want the outcome to be a fair and equitable on for her and the children will help to set the tone.
25,003 answers this week
2,584 professionals answering
Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.Browse our legal dictionary