Divorce is a trauma, and anyone going through this trauma may be helped by speaking with a counselor or therapist. Additionally, you should consider whether the collaborative family law process may be helpful to your family, as it is a private form of dispute resolution that generally involves a neutral facilitator, who usually has a mental health background. This is in recognition that divorce is not just a legal matter, but also a highly emotional matter. Regardless, below are the five stages of grief you may experience if you are going through divorce:
It is not uncommon for spouses to deny that the divorce process will go forward. At this point denial sets in, and so the former spouse may ignore correspondence received from the other spouse’s attorney or waive of the other spouse’s movement towards divorce as “just a phase.”
Spouses may experience anger while going through divorce. Anger at the other spouse for wanting the divorce, anger at themselves for perceived failures, and anger at the world for being a place where divorce happens. It is best to let other’s deal with their anger while remaining neutral.
Spouses may attempt to bargain to avoid the divorce. They may attempt to bargain with the other spouse (“What if I spend less time at work?”), bargain with God (“If I pray will you make this stop?”), and bargain with themselves (“If I start caring about others then this won’t happen”).
At some point in the divorce, it is not uncommon for a spouse to feel that all is lost, or that he or she will never recover from this trauma. At this stage it is most important to reach out to friends and loved ones for support and to consider speaking with someone who has the proper mental health training.
Finally, spouses come to accept the divorce and know that they can and will move forward