The 5 Stages of a Divorce

While every case is different, many people go through a series of stages as they recover and move on from their divorce. Knowing that other people have gone through these phases and knowing what phase you are in can help you make better choices. As you work with your family law attorney, keep the following stages and how you might be impacted by them in mind.

The Rejection Stage

Whether you are relieved or lost, in this phase, you’re trying to understand how your marriage ended like this. You may have trouble seeing your life without your spouse, even if you were only arguing near the end, and you’re feeling the emotions that come with experiencing a loss.

The feelings associated with loss are often intense, so you may be rejecting them in defense. It is best to let yourself feel them so you can begin moving on.

The Resentment Stage

At this point in the divorce cycle, those feelings of loss can’t be ignored, and they’re starting to spark resentment. Here, you need to be very careful when you speak. It can be easy to let that anger slide into your divorce, but once you’ve done that, the entire process may become more difficult and stressful. Even friendly divorces can turn tense and angry fast if emotions begin to take over the show. It’s wise to leave your emotions out of the divorce process as much as possible so it doesn’t drag on and take a financial and emotional toll. This may be the time for you to find help from a counselor or therapist.

If you find yourself really struggling to keep emotions out of your decisions, let your divorce attorney know. They can break down all of the elements of the decisions you need to make for you so you can focus more on reasoning than your feelings. It’s much easier to see when your decisions are being influenced by emotions and not facts when you have everything laid out in front of you.

The Renegotiation Stage

When you reach this point, your main focus might be to ease the pain you’ve been feeling since this whole thing began. So, you begin to entertain how things could have gone differently and what you could have done to get a different outcome than the one you have now.

This is generally a waste of time and energy. What is in the past is in the past, and nothing you can do now will change it. If anything, you’re giving the past the power to take away your future’s potential, and that’s not the position you want to be in. It is, of course, perfectly normal and healthy to consider what you could have done better. The key here is to learn from it and move on rather than solely focusing on what you view as your mistakes.

The Remorse Stage

When you are at the remorse stage, you’ve let renegotiation go and you are taking a clear look at the reality of your situation. Lean on your support system and engage in self-care during this time. Don’t be afraid to go through this. When you fully acknowledge what you are feeling and where you are, you’ll be able to finally begin to heal.

The Reality Stage

Once you are at the reality stage, you are fully accepting everything as it presently is. Of course, you still may feel loss and other emotions, but you are no longer resisting what is happening. You are now looking to the future instead of staying stuck in the past. You are, essentially, starting to recover from the divorce so you can move onto your new life.