Going through a divorce can be comparable to the death of a loved one, and this is why many experts equate the phases of handling a divorce with the stages of grief. There is the legal process of divorce, but individuals also must deal with the emotional process of denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and finally going through with the actual divorce.
How a person handles the end of a marriage can differ depending on many factors, such as their socioeconomic status, what stage of life they are currently in, and whether the divorce is amicable. If you are going through a divorce, make sure you have a strong support system to help guide you through the various stages of the emotional divorce process.
We go through each stage in detail below.
Step 1: Denial
The initiator of the divorce is likely better prepared to handle the end of the relationship. The non-initiator may feel separation shock and a variety of emotions. In the denial stage, the spouse who is being left may not initially grasp the situation, especially if the couple has had multiple disagreements in the past. They may believe their partner is just upset and will calm down in time. The unexpecting spouse may choose to operate on autopilot and not fully accept the end of their relationship.
Step 2: Anger
Normally, both partners will experience anger, grief, anxiety, and depression during the divorce process. These emotions may last months or even years, and each person must come to terms on their own. Many people may feel hopeless during a divorce, but it is important to maintain emotions. A large part of the healing process is to experience emotions, but it is important to not isolate oneself and recognize that these feelings will pass in time. Support groups, friends, and family are essential during the divorce process.
Step 3: Bargaining
During the bargaining divorce stage, one of the spouses may attempt to reconcile with the other. They may plea, bargain, or initiate to work on the relationship. One spouse may make promises or requests to stop the divorce process. Both spouses should evaluate whether getting back together is right for them. In some cases, the marriage can be saved; however, most spouses will continue with the divorce.
Step 4: Acceptance
After better handling emotions and realizing that the marriage should be ended, both partners can learn to accept the divorce. Some spouses may even feel a sense of relief. It is important to note that accepting the divorce does not eliminate all emotions. Emotions will likely fluctuate, and spouses can cycle through previous divorce stages.
Step 5: Starting the Divorce
Once the decision has been made to move forward with ending the marriage, a spouse can start to handle the legalities of divorce. Child support, child custody, alimony, and property division are important topics that must be sorted out. A divorce can be contentious, so spouses should emotionally prepare for the journey. One of the most important steps is to discuss the case with a divorce lawyer who will handle the necessary paperwork and fight on the behalf of their client to ensure they are given a fair settlement.
New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Guiding Clients Through the Stages of Divorce
It is important that spouses go through all the emotional stages of divorce. A New Jersey divorce lawyer at Burnham Douglass can fight by your side and help you with all the divorce-related matters. Complete our online form or call us at 856-751-5505 for a free consultation. Located in Marlton and Northfield, New Jersey, we assist clients throughout New Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Atlantic County, Gloucester County, Salem County and Mercer County.