You’ve thought it through and have come to the conclusion that asking your spouse for a divorce is the best decision for you and your future.

While this is sure to bring many changes to your life, you’re willing to deal with it with the goal of getting your life back on track.

The first step in the divorce process has nothing to do with property division, child custody or child support. Instead, it all starts when you sit down with your spouse, discuss your feelings and get a better idea of what comes next.

The way you ask for a divorce can affect your future. If everything goes smoothly, you’re in the best position possible as you enter the process itself. Conversely, if this conversation turns confrontational, you could have a messy divorce on your hands.

Here are three tips anyone can follow when asking for a divorce:

  • Don’t hide your true feelings: You’ve done this long enough. Now that you’re prepared to divorce, discuss your true feelings with your spouse. It’s never easy to do, but you owe it to them to describe exactly how you feel.
  • Be receptive to questions: Even though you’re the person asking for the divorce, it doesn’t mean you get to do all the talking. Your spouse may have a variety of questions, and you should hear them out and provide answers as applicable.
  • Don’t talk about what will happen as the result of your divorce: Maybe your spouse will ask you if they can stay in the family home. Or maybe you’re tempted to ask questions about child custody. These types of details are important, but you shouldn’t discuss them shortly after asking for a divorce. With tensions at an all-time high, it can quickly result in an argument.

Asking for a divorce is sure to be one of the most difficult conversations you ever have. However, it can also be rewarding, as you’re taking the first step in bettering your situation.

Once you ask for a divorce, learn more about the process and the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.