Choosing the right time and way to tell your spouse that you want a divorce is an important part of the process and you may want to consider how to go about it to help make your divorce as amicable as possible.

Speak to a solicitor

If you are considering divorcing your spouse and it is not a joint decision, then it can be helpful to speak to a divorce solicitor first. A solicitor can talk you through the steps involved in divorce and coming to a financial agreement so that you understand the process you are embarking upon. You can also explain your unique circumstances so that your solicitor can give you tailored advice for example in relation to any potentially complicating factors. We would advise attending a meeting with basic facts about the length of your marriage and your financial situation prepared so that you can make the most of an appointment.

Speak to your spouse

We normally recommend having a conversation with your spouse before you instruct your solicitor to actually begin the divorce process. Usually it is best for the first thing your spouse hears about the divorce to be directly from you rather than in the form of a letter from a solicitor or a notification from the court that you have made an application.

Even if the decision to divorce is not a joint decision or if you anticipate that the process will not be amicable, it will benefit you and your spouse in the long term to maintain effective communication. The divorce process will be far easier if you remain on good terms with your spouse and you can encourage this by having a conversation which is sensitive and calm. Since 2022, divorce law in England and Wales has operated on a ‘no fault’ basis meaning that there is no need for either of you to assign blame for the break-down of your marriage. Avoiding language which denotes blame in this conversation can help avoid unnecessary conflict and facilitate a smoother process.

It is up to you whether you inform your spouse that you have already spoken to a solicitor. In the interests of honesty, you may want to be transparent about this and explain that you have discussed how the process works with a professional but you have not taken any action yet.

Remember that if your spouse feels like you are attempting to manipulate, outmanoeuvre or threaten them then they may be far less inclined to cooperate in the divorce proceedings which will have the negative impact of increasing the time and cost of the process.

Instruct your solicitor to contact your spouse

Once you have had a conversation with your spouse, it is a good idea to instruct your solicitor to write directly to them. Your solicitor can introduce themselves, explain the first stages of the divorce process and advise your spouse to instruct their own solicitor. If you have spoken to your spouse beforehand about your decision to divorce, this correspondence from a solicitor should not come as a surprise and therefore should not cause any unnecessary upset.

If you would like help and support please contact our Family Law team who will be happy to help.