How to Tell Your Partner You Want a Divorce

Breaking the news about divorce can be a difficult and trying time. This is someone you imagined spending your life with and growing old together. Everyone who has told their partner they want a separation remembers the exact details and moment of when it happened. We oftentimes feel mixed emotions, whereby we still love the person but are no longer in love with them.

Sometimes a partner’s personal problems can also be the trigger for a divorce such as gambling, addictions and behavioural issues. We can try to change our partners but ultimately it lies with them to change.


Telling Your Partner You Are Preparing to Leave

The best outcome in this situation is if both spouses are open and understanding of each other and willing to listen thoughtfully and carefully to one another, however, most of the time this is not the case. One partner, usually the one being left will be dissatisfied and less invested in moving the process forward.

It is imperative that you and your spouse have an open dialogue before things get to this point so you can begin to work on issues before it’s too late. We humans often fear the unknown and for some, it is easier to leave than have difficult conversations.


Telling Your Partner You Want a Trial Separation

How you communicate this to your partner depends on what sort of outcome you want for yourself. Do you want the trial separation to be a pathway to repairing your relationship or as the next step in the divorce process? It is hard to know the answer. Some couples will use this time to reflect on themselves and their marriage others may use it as a way to start preparing their partner for the inevitable.

It can be hard to emotionally, physically and financially prepare for a divorce and separation can help with these feelings. You just need to take one step at a time and find out what YOU really want out of life.

Being Asked or Asking for a Divorce

If your partner is asking you for a divorce, it is important that you discuss your issues at hand and explore options such as counselling, a trial separation if you’re partner is not willing to do these things it is most likely over in their minds and has been for a while.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do in this case to change their mind. If you have children, it is vital that you can accept each other’s decisions and remain amicable with one another.

On the other side, if you are the one that wants a divorce and have exhausted all options and do not see any other choice but divorce it is sometimes easier to just be upfront and tell your partner you do not see it working any longer.

If you 100% know you want a divorce it is also a good idea to maintain boundaries, you do not want to send mixed signals to your potential ex-spouse and give them hope as things can escalate and get messy.

Be Gentle but Firm

How you approach asking for a divorce will determine and shape the way your whole divorce process will work. If you approach a partner with anger and frustration you can expect a similar way in return.

Be as kind and compassionate as you possibly can, use empathy to put yourself in their position and how you would like to be told. The chances of you thinking about divorce has been a lot longer than theirs and thus they will not be as far along the road as you are so be understanding with this.

It is also extremely important you remain strong in your stance if you 100% want a divorce and do not let them persuade or manipulate you into making a decision you do not want.

Timing is Important

Telling your partner you no longer want to be with them is an enormous decision and one that can hurt a person deeply. You want to make sure your partner is emotionally capable of receiving the news. Try not to do it when an important life event is taking place or when they are going through a difficult time.

Try to be patient and wait to announce it when it can be the least damaging to your spouse, families and children especially.

Keep The Right Relations

Ultimately every decision you make is yours and yours alone, however, there are ways we can go about these choices and decisions. If we want to have the right relationship with our children’s other parent we need to go about things in a way that we respect one another and how it will affect the future of our lives.

Being tactful and respectful of how we behave towards our partners can make a huge difference in rebuilding trust and maintaining a healthy friendship between two parties. Your words and actions have a huge effect on those around you.

Ultimately when we ask the question, What is the best way to ask for a divorce? There is no easy or simple answer. We are all individual humans with different outlooks and life experiences as well as different relationships.

The only thing we can advise is to make yourself happy and make sure your children are looked after. We all live one life and we want to experience that life to the fullest.

Thank you for reading and until next time.


6 Questions to find out if divorce is the right solution for you

Divorce can often be a stressful and confusing time for couples; there are no easy solutions or answers to decide whether you are ready for a divorce. The emotional and financial toll a divorce can have an a person is often understated, SKV Attorneys is here to help guide you decide whether divorce is the right choice for your situation. If you are looking for more helpful advice, take a quick gander at our articles page.

Should I stay or should I go is a question people in marriages often ask themselves. Many experts assume that once a married person says they want a divorce that they are ready for it, however, that is not always the case. When the divorce process happens couples are not prepared for the reality of the situation.

Divorce is something that should not be rushed or done hastily, emotions are quite often involved in the decision and reactionary behavior can affect those around you and your mental well-being. Before deciding on a divorce you need to ensure you are facing the situation with a clear head and without emotional bias. We will go through the following 6 questions to help you decide if divorce is the right path for your marriage.

“I don’t see divorce as a failure. I see it as the end of a story. In a story, everything has an end and a beginning.”
Olga Kurylenko

1. Are You Willing To Accept Responsibility?

As human beings we are always wanting to be in control of every situation, however, in reality this is an impossible task and the same goes for marriage. Relationships deteriorate over time and behaviors themselves change, we can’t change our spouses behavior but you can change your behaviors. Are you willing to change yourself to save your marriage?

Marriage is a partnership and two-way street; it is not only one side that can be blamed for the breakdown of a relationship, both sides need to be able to accept responsibility for the actions, whether it is neglect or something more serious. According to leading divorce experts one partner will usually blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage but  it is not as simple as that. The actions of one partner can affect the actions of the other, therefore it is imperative that if you want to make your divorce as smooth as possible you need to accept your shortcomings as a partner and not just your spouses.

2. Do You Still Have Feelings For Your Spouse?

Many divorces are emotionally driven affairs and one or both spouses will often have still feelings for one another but due to intimacy, power or other struggles there can be a disconnect between spouses who have hastily decided the divorce is the best route. If this sounds like you we recommend you take some time to yourselves and work on your marriage and the issues you are facing otherwise you might feel a sense of regret and find yourself worse off than before the divorce.

One story from a client, who we will call Elizabeth, Elizabeth was struggling through her relationship with her husband, Elizabeth would try save most of their money to pay off their debt but her husband could not control his spending and pulled them further into debt, seeing divorce as the only way out of the situation. This put a great strain on an otherwise perfect relationship and because of Elizabeth’s feelings towards her husband she could not do it. Instead Elizabeth sought out guidance from her therapists and close friends to help set boundaries and try overcome the situation with her husband.

On the other side of the coin, people fall out of love sometimes, especially after being together for many years. Unfortunately, this usually only affects one spouse who is still in love. If this sounds like you, divorce may be the right solution, however, it is not unheard of for people to fall back in love but do not let someone hang this thought over your head.

3. Is Your Decision Without Bias & Emotional Reaction?

When making a huge life changing decision such as divorce it is essential to go into the process with a clear head, non-bias and unemotional state to allow you to make a decision you can stick with over the process. Often times an emotionally charged decision does not last and is not productive to resolve any issues you and your spouse are experiencing.

In order to be ready for a divorce you need to have a minimal emotional attachment to your spouse otherwise the divorce process won’t be smooth it will instead be stressful and full of a lot of pain because you are still holding onto your feelings of anger and resentment.

One of our customers was in the divorce process who always complained how much she hated her soon to be ex-husband, on a weekly basis she would have strong feelings of hate toward him. The feelings she was experiencing was a reflection of her passion and feelings toward him, she soon realized this and started detaching herself from her emotions and proceeded smoothly through the rest of her divorce process. To be ready for a divorce you need to lower your emotional attachment to the person you are separating from, which is easier said than done.

4. Are You Ready For The Consequences a Divorce Brings With It?

Divorce is a major change in anyone’s life, there is no easy way out and it comes with much stress, financial and emotional turmoil. It is often the ending of “the happy family” dream. It is imperative that you have a good support system in place to help you through this time.

Divorce hurts, and it hurts even more to know it has caused others pain and suffering. Children, family members and friends can all be greatly impacted by a divorce. You are not only making a decision for yourself but for everyone who is involved in your lives. The following are some consequences you may face:

  • Financial and lifestyle changes that may make you worse off than previously.
  • Your mental health and wellbeing may suffer.
  • You need to be able to accept your children’s feelings of anger and depression during the early stages of divorce.
  • Know that if you have children with your ex-spouse you will need to be able to co-parent peacefully.
  • Be able to accept responsibility for certain failings within the marriage.

The consequences of divorce can vary wildly from couple to couple, however, one thing remains and that it will be sad and painful especially when you have children involved. If you would like to learn more about the effect divorce has on children just click this text.

5. What Is Your Reason For Wanting a Divorce?

According to great minds in the divorce industry, any reason other than simply wanting to end the marriage is a sign that you are not ready to get divorced. If you have an ulterior motive or are hoping to change the other person and their viewpoints, maybe they will start treating you better than you are getting divorced for the wrong reason.

A divorce cannot undo what has already been done or change someone’s mind, divorce can only end the marriage. Divorce allows you to be released and free to do as you desire and form bonds with new people.


Spouses divorce but parents are forever. Do not let your emotions ruin your relationship with your children.

Be prepared to deal with the aftermath of a divorce, especially with young children.

6. Are You Ready & Willing To Take Control Of Your Life & Emotions?

Divorce is a trying time for any individual but you eventually need to get over it and move on with your life. Would you rather do this gracefully and with tact than from a place of hatred and bitterness? Whether you are the one who wants a divorce or the one that is being divorced the endgame is always the same; the resolution of the marriage.  Ultimately the decision is yours to decide how you move forward.

From our experience generally couples who approach the divorce process with understanding and respect have a much easier time moving forward with this change in their life. Ultimately the decision is yours to decide how you wish to approach the ending of your marriage, we always recommend that you do your best to be respectful to your ex-spouse and reach a fulfilling agreement that both you and the children are content with

A few helpful tips to guide you through the process

  • Encourage Honesty: Try be honest with one another and come to a mutual respect and understanding.
  • Ensure The Marriage Is Over: Once a divorce happens you can never go back so ensure the relationship is irrepairable before pursuing.
  • Educate Yourself: Having yourself setup with a therapist, lawyer and financial advisor will help the process be a lot smoother.
  • Find What Matters: Don’t get worked up over small objects and money, look at the bigger picture and focus on what is important to you.
  • Family & Friends: Don’t be afraid to lean on your family and friends for awhile until you find your feet.
  • Be Patient: A divorce is a marathon not a sprint, there are many things that can add to the delay, just go with pace and don’t give yourself anxiety attacks.

Closing Thoughts

In conclusion, it can be a confusing and scary time just by taking the time to ask yourself these questions and whether you are ready for a divorce. Seeking professional help before deciding to go through with a divorce can help you through the process, people such as mediators and divorce coaches will support you.

Maybe you have already decided that divorce is the correct course of action for your marriage and you are ready. Give us a call or send an email for a friendly consultation on how SKV Attorneys can help you through the divorce process.

Thank you for reading and until next time!

It’s Wedding Season! Here’s Why You Need an ANC (Whether You Marry Here or Overseas)

“He was a dreamer, athinker, a speculativephilosopher… or, as his wifewould have it, an idiot”(Douglas Adams)

Note: Although by way of example we explore below the “international wedding” scenario, even if you are South Africans marrying in South Africa you need an ANC. Read on…

The Rand’s weakness notwithstanding, many couples still plan their dream weddings overseas. Likewise, many couples living overseas come back to South Africa to marry. If you are one of them, ask your lawyer before you get married for advice on which country’s laws will apply to your marriage.

Why get advice?

In South Africa, our default marital regime is marriage “in community of property”, and for many couples that is the worst option. You may well be better off opting rather for the “out of community” option (with or without “accrual”). The point is to make an informed choice rather than drift blindly into the default regime. Don’t assume that you will be married out of community of property if your marriage takes place in a country where “out of community” is the default. And don’t assume that it’s your nationality/citizenship that counts.

Not so! No matter where you tie the knot and no matter what your citizenship is, what counts is where the husband is domiciled at the time of the marriage.

The difficulty – determining domicile

So you must figure out where the husband is domiciled at the time of marriage – how do you do that?

“A domicile of choice”, says our law “shall be acquired by a person when he is lawfully present at a particular place and has the intention to settle there for an indefinite period.” In lay terms, that’s where he considers his “home” to be, where he lives and intends to remain permanently. Note that in law you must be domiciled somewhere (even if you think you aren’t), and you can only be domiciled in one country at a time. In other words, you can be stateless but not without a domicile, and you can hold dual citizenship but not dual domicile.

There are two main grey areas here –

  1. The “intention” bit. What if you have recently moved to South Africa? Or if you are a foreign national living in South Africa? A South African working overseas for a year or two? Or if you have plans to emigrate in the future? There’s a lot of potential for uncertainty and dispute there, and the problem is that in doubt it’s a court that will have to decide. It’s difficult enough at the best of times to decide what another person’s mental “intention” is, and remember that here we’re talking about intention at the time of the marriage. Years (in some cases decades) down the line, imagine the difficulty faced by the poor judge tasked with that one! There have been cases like that and they’ve been messy.
  1. The “husband” bit. Referring to only “the husband” is discriminatory and almost certainly unconstitutional, and in any event with same-sex unions which partner’s domicile are we looking at? Until parliament sorts that one out with new legislation, uncertainty will reign.

The remedy – avoid all doubt with an ANC

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to avoid all that doubt and potential for dispute, delay and cost. Simply have your lawyer – before you marry – draw up an ante-nuptial contract (ANC) tailored to meet your particular needs. Then sign it. Then fly away and enjoy your wedding secure in the knowledge that all the annoying (but critical) little legalities have been put to bed!

Call Now Button