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A marriage can become an unhealthy and unhappy one abruptly, or it can gradually become increasingly hostile over time. You may be deeply dissatisfied in your marriage but feel worried about bringing up the topic of divorce to your spouse. While this hesitancy is understandable, you must have an open an honest conversation with your spouse about the underlying issues.

Having a conversation with your spouse about what both of you are getting from the marriage could be enough to spur you on to improve your relationship. It could also be the confirmation you need that the only way to move forward is to move apart. The following are some things you should consider before having a conversation with your spouse about divorce.

Be honest but neutral

If you start a conversation with your spouse and make accusations against them, or blame them for the breakdown of the marriage, this is likely to cause things to escalate. You must try to maintain a mature level of conversation so that progress can be made. This can be done by expressing honesty in a neutral tone.

Don’t necessarily put all your cards on the table

If you intend to file for a divorce, you should not necessarily inform your spouse of this straight away. You may, for example, need time to get organized to plan for the future and to protect yourself by being strategic about the way that you divorce.

Conclude with next steps

It’s always a good idea to bring the conversation to a close by creating a conclusion together. For example, you may decide that you want to try to improve the marriage before you opt for a divorce. If this is the case, you may want to commit to starting a course of marital counseling or to spend quality time with each other one evening per week. Alternatively, you may want to undergo a trial separation.

If you are considering divorce in Washington, take the time to understand the state-specific laws. By doing so, you will have the best chance of gaining a successful outcome for yourself and your children.