A crumbling marriage is emotionally challenging. Proceeding with the legal dissolution of the union can be equally or even more turbulent. Divorcees typically experience five phases of divorce and should be prepared to cope with them and lean on support.
The five stages of divorce can unfold in countless ways, just as divorce proceedings can. Divorcees experience these phases differently. While spouses eager to exit the marriage will move on quickly, others, who may be more invested in the marriage, can feel like their world has shattered.
During the course of divorce, couples may be physically apart. Emotionally, however, the strong ties that joined them remain unsevered. Numerous additional stressors contribute to the devastating emotional toll that divorce inflicts: financial woes, marital discord, single parenthood and relocating.
While going through a divorce is stressful, being conscious of its emotional effects can ease the turmoil. Approaching the divorce in a conscientious manner can lessen the heavy emotional baggage. This edifying experience is rewarding in the long run, as the divorcee is unlikely to repeat the mistakes.
The five emotional stages of divorce are parallel to the five stages of grief. When served with divorce papers, denial is a common initial feeling. Accepting a divorce can be impossible for some spouses, especially those who unexpectedly receive a divorce petition and are unprepared for the shock.
Other spouses may fail to accept the reality that their marriage is in ruin. A deteriorating relationship usually happens over a prolonged period of time, but discord can sometimes be concealed. Despite the warning signals, these spouses may, out of denial, delay a process that is already difficult.
The frustration and unhappiness that follow dissatisfied spouses toward the end of a marriage may be somewhat eased when candid discussions are held. Openly talking about problems and solutions is ideal. However, when blindsided with a divorce, the emotional pain is intensified.
Anger is the outcome when channels of communication are blocked or were never developed during the course of the union. Feelings of betrayal and hurt can emerge when a spouse realizes the reasoning behind the other party filing for divorce.
Sometimes, a divorce petition is served out of the blue. When a spouse is unprepared or the decision to divorce is not mutually arrived at, the hurt and subsequent anger escalate. Confusion and depression can set in and further deteriorate marital and parental roles.
Divorce proceedings are lengthy. As battles continue, couples remain connected through anger. Either spouse may outwardly express inner conflicts by violating court orders or breaking agreements. They may change positions in order to hold on to the relationship, while simultaneously trying to let go.
Upon accepting the new reality of an upcoming legal separation, divorcing spouses may start to feel sadness. Either spouse could reminisce about good experiences had within the marriage. As a result, some divorcing individuals may be on the brink of despair.
Emotional reconciliation follows the sadness, as a spouse may attempt one last time to make amends and prevent the impending divorce. After the initial stages of denial, anger and sadness, the divorcing spouse may begin to bargain or negotiate the terms of divorce.
Acceptance is the final and most transformative of the five emotional stages of divorce. In this phase, a spouse honestly recognizes the breakdown of the marriage. True acceptance is often the most difficult stage, but can lead to new paths for those who experience it.
Immense growth is felt when a spouse accepts the marital situation for what it is and takes responsibility rather than blaming. Personal growth may be reflected in any of numerous ways. However, all paths of growth lead to risking new behavior.
Individuals experience growth differently. A hostile spouse, for instance, may learn to walk away from a volatile argument. A passive individual may stand up for himself. A spouse may start to refuse the unacceptable actions of another spouse. Or, a spouse may book a solo vacation.
During this phase of emotional unbonding, a spouse has a new lease on life and becomes a new person. The individual has the opportunity to make new choices and respond differently than what she was accustomed to. The marital structure dissolves, and the concept of the individual is reconstructed.
Moving Forward After a Divorce
Despite the unknowns that follow a divorce, such as re-entering the workforce, moving to a new neighborhood or losing mutual friends, it is critical for a divorcee to move through the losses and regain a sense of identity. The spouse, after all, is no longer a husband or wife.
Working on the aforementioned issues can smooth the divorce process. Leading a new life as a single person can be fearful, especially when a marriage has endured for years. In order to move on, it is important to mourn losses and be open to the possibilities of the future.
Working with a Divorce Attorney
When you anticipate divorce, turn to a family law firm that you can trust. The divorce attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C., understand the emotional upheavals caused by divorce. Given our years of experience in family law, we know how to achieve favorable solutions for you and your family.
Expert divorce attorneys at Allen Gabe Law, P.C., are knowledgeable in Illinois divorce laws and skilled in various types of family law cases, including division of property for high net-worth couples, child custody and support, visitation rights, domestic violence, alimony and pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
Navigating a divorce is doubly complicated by the surge of feelings and emerging conflicts. Considering the overwhelming emotions that surface, it is crucial to have the support of a skilled legal team that will provide practical legal guidance. You can trust our firm for expert legal counsel.
Choose Allen Gabe Law, P.C., to capably handle your divorce case. Our clients can attest to our dedication to serving those who trust our family law attorneys with their most personal information. We provide legal counsel to families living in and around Schaumburg, Illinois.
Call us at (847) 241-5000, ext. 121 for an initial consultation.