The Five Stages of Divorce

The Five Stages of Divorce

The Five Stages of Divorce

Divorce is not just about the legal process of dissolving a marriage. It is also a grieving process. Even when two people know they cannot remain together as a married couple, the loss of what was once an intimate relationship represents an emotional trauma that requires time to deal with.

As with many other situations involving grief, you can look at the five stages of divorce from a psychological and emotional standpoint: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.


The first stage, denial, is not what it might sound like on the surface. Most people involved in a divorce understand what is happening. But they can still be in denial when it comes to accepting their new reality. If your spouse has recently served you with divorce papers, for instance, your initial response may be, “They don’t mean it. They’re upset now, but they will come to their senses.” Such responses are often a way of processing the shock of being confronted with the fact the marriage is over.


Anger often follows denial. This includes not just anger at your spouse. It can also encompass anger against others you blame for contributing to the breakdown of your marriage, including yourself. Anger is a way of expressing your frustration and fears over what comes next. It also reflects a sense of betrayal by someone you once trusted implicitly.


After anger comes bargaining. At this stage, you are looking for answers. You start to ask yourself questions like, “Is there something I could have done to save the marriage.” This is your brain trying to address doubt and possibly feelings of guilt over the failure of the relationship. It can also lead you to rashly seek reconciliation on shaky foundations, such as, “We should stay together for the sake of the children.”


It is common to experience some form of depression during or immediately after a divorce. For many people, the end of their marriage means a loss of their identity. It can leave them feeling empty and leave them in a paralyzed state where they cannot move on with their lives. In these situations, it is important to seek appropriate mental health counseling.


The fifth and final stage of divorce is acceptance. Again, this is not finality in the legal sense. It may take some time after a judge signs a final divorce decree for you to reach a state of psychological and emotional acceptance. Indeed, acceptance is usually not something that happens at a specific date and time. It is something that takes place in fits and starts over time. With each day, you learn to think of yourself as a whole person again and are in a position to start moving forward without your former spouse.

Speak With a Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer Today

Navigating the five stages of divorce requires working with an entire support network of friends, family, and qualified professionals. In terms of your legal needs, an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney can walk you through the necessary procedural steps to bringing your marriage to a close. Contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today to schedule a consultation.





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