How to Write a Divorce Letter: The Dos and Don’ts

Deciding how and when to tell your partner that you want a divorce is extremely difficult. Everyone’s situation is unique when it comes to divorce. You and your partner may have been discussing divorce for some time, or it may come as a complete surprise to your partner. Whatever the situation, writing a letter is one option for informing your partner of your decision.

Why Should I Write a Divorce Letter?

Many people hesitate to write a divorce letter, fearing that it might seem cold or impersonal. In reality, there are many benefits that come with writing a letter over having an in-person conversation. Writing a letter gives you time to carefully organize your thoughts and feelings.

When broaching the topic of divorce in person, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with emotion and lose track of what you wanted to say. Ultimately, this can lead to more confusion and hurt for you and your partner than if they could read your carefully considered thoughts and feelings on paper.

When you inform your partner of your decision to divorce, they will likely react emotionally, with some combination of sadness, anger, and confusion – especially if the decision is a surprise to them. Although healing from a divorce will likely take you and your partner longer than a few days, a divorce letter will give them time to calm down from the initial intensity of their feelings before moving on to next steps.

Finally, if you have any concerns about physical or emotional abuse, it is highly suggested that you inform your partner about the divorce by letter in the interest of your own safety.

What You Should Include in a Divorce Letter

In the body of your letter, try to include these elements:

  • Start the letter with something like “The previous night was tough on me. I find it unfathomable to even conceive of the emotional whirlwind you must be going through after my disclosure about wanting a divorce. This has been the most painful yet crucial choice I’ve had to make in my life, and I hope you understand that it wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision.”.
  • An explanation of your decision. It can be as long or as short as you like, it should just feel right to you.
  • How to proceed with the next steps. A lawyer can help you determine what comes after your notice of divorce letter. You should consult with a Leigh Daniel Family Law attorney when writing this section.
  • Your name, your spouse’s name, and the date you sent the letter.

What You Should NOT Include in a Divorce Letter

  • Name-calling, insults, or otherwise hurtful language.
  • The possibility of changing your mind. If you think there might be a chance you could make your marriage work, then you should not send a divorce letter. Otherwise, it’s unproductive to give your partner any false hope.

Helpful Tips for Writing a Divorce Letter

Avoid writing or sending a divorce letter during any significant life events, such as major illnesses or deaths in the family, or if your spouse has recently lost their job. While you can’t and shouldn’t wait forever, it’s usually a good idea to give at least some time for the dust to settle after major life events before proceeding with a divorce.

Contact Leigh Daniel Family Law in Huntsville for Help with Divorce

An experienced divorce attorney will help you write your intent to divorce letter and support you through the process of separating from your spouse. If you are considering divorce in Huntsville, contact Alabama family attorney Leigh Daniel by phone or online to get the compassionate and knowledgeable legal counsel you need and deserve.


A respected Huntsville family law attorney with more than 20 years’ experience, Leigh Daniel is known for her positive attitude and her skills in the courtroom. She prides herself in the care and compassion that she and her team put into every case. Her goal is to instill a sense of confidence in her clients so they know success is on the horizon. As an author, inspirational speaker, coach, and founder of Project Positive Change, Leigh stays focused on the positive impact she can make on every client’s case.