Going through a separation and divorce brings with it many emotional stages. Some of have likened a divorce to a death of a friend or family member. There are four main categories of emotional stages in a divorce: (1) shock (2) anger (3) sadness and (4) moving forward. Ideally, if both spouses are in the moving forward stage, a divorce can be done quickly, amicably, and without any litigation. These folks have accepted the situation, are ready to end the marriage, and start the next phase of their lives. Divorce is much harder when one spouse is in the moving forward stage while the other spouse is still in the shock, anger, or sadness stage. Below is a more detailed description of each. Where do you find yourself?


Generally, this is the very first emotional stage when you learn your spouse wants a divorce or has filed for divorce. You’re in denial. You’re in disbelief. You can’t understand why this is happening. There is no acceptance of the loss of your marriage. You try and convince your spouse that things will change or get better.


After the shock of what is happening you get angry. You get angry at yourself, your spouse, your family. Anyone that you can put blame on for the situation. This is the stage where one spouse tends to lash out at the other spouse. Sometimes verbal abuse starts, obsessive emails and texts, and nasty voicemails. There is a lot of tension and animosity.


After you’ve gone through the shock and anger you feel depressed about the situation. You may feel as if you’re never going to find anyone else. You no longer trust anyone. You realize that you have to deal with your assets and debts and children. It can be very overwhelming and scary.


You have now come to terms with the loss of your marriage. You’ve accepted that life as you knew it is no more. You are able to think more rationally, reasonably, and logically. Decisions on your future are made without blame and anger.

Knowing which emotional stage you are in divorce is crucial. Knowing which emotional stage your spouse is in is also crucial too. It will help you both navigate the waters while going through a divorce. Collaborative divorce allows people who are experiencing the range of emotional stages to still have productive discussions and reach a settlement. Having a neutral facilitator with a mental health background can help the spouses through the emotional transitions. While each emotional stage has its own challenges, we at DivorceSmart Esq can help you achieve a resolution to your marriage without destroying your future.