There is nothing easy about asking your spouse for a divorce. There’s a good chance this is the most difficult conversation you will ever have.

However, there are steps you can take to make it easier to ask for a divorce. Even if you only “take the edge off,” it’s better than heading into the conversation unprepared and simply hoping for the best.

Here are five tips you can follow to ease the pain of asking for a divorce:

  • Prepare yourself: How will you start the conversation? What do you want to say? What do you want to avoid? Prepare yourself for everything, even if you don’t think it could happen.
  • Choose the right time and place: Will you talk about divorce after your children go to bed for the evening? Will you do so in a public place? The choice is yours, but you must choose a time and place that makes sense.
  • Be clear with your intentions: Don’t mince words when asking for a divorce. Lay everything out on the table so your spouse knows where you’re coming from.
  • Prepare for every possible reaction: Your spouse could begin to cry. They could scream at you. They could even become aggressive. Think long and hard about what to expect, as this helps you prepare for every reaction.
  • Don’t feel the need to discuss the details: You know you’ll have to negotiate in regard to property division, child custody and other matters, but that’s something you can deal with later on.

When you understand how to ask for a divorce, how to protect your legal rights and what to expect from the process, it’s easier to protect your legal rights.