Even if you think your marriage is on solid ground, your spouse may not share your feelings. Instead, they’ve been thinking long and hard about your relationship, pondering whether or not divorce is the right solution to their personal problems.

If your spouse asks for a divorce, it’s critical that you take a deep breath and begin to process what’s just happened. Doing anything else could lead you to make a variety of mistakes that will haunt you in the future.

Do your best to take these steps:

  • Ask why: If you have no clue why your spouse wants a divorce, you have the right to ask for more information. They may not provide you with truthful answers, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking.
  • Decide if you can save your marriage: This doesn’t mean you should beg your spouse to stay, but you should at least determine if they want to consider counseling or another method of solving the problems at hand.
  • Don’t scream or become violent: The last thing you want to do is become aggressive, as this will scare your spouse away while also giving them more reason to believe that they’re making the right decision. No matter how you feel, keep your cool.
  • Avoid the details of your divorce: Your spouse, in an attempt to speed up the process, may want to discuss some or all of the details of your divorce, such as who will stay in the home and who will have physical custody of the children. Discussing these things while you’re still processing the situation is a mistake to avoid.
  • Ask for alone time: It’s hard to get in touch with your true feelings when your spouse is sitting across from you. Ask for time alone to process your feelings and decide what you want to do next.

There is no way of knowing how you will react if your spouse asks for a divorce. This is particularly true if you don’t see it coming.

When you take the steps above in some form, you’ll feel better about the way you approached the conversation and your ability to best protect yourself and your legal rights during the divorce process.