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The Stages of Divorce

Ending a marriage is usually difficult for everyone involved. Not knowing what to expect is one of the most troubling aspects of the divorce process. While every divorce is unique, there are several stages that most people pass through when going through a divorce. To help prepare you for what is likely to come, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyerdivorce attorney at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby discusses common stages of divorce.

Emotional Stages of Divorce

It is important to keep in mind that you may not experience each of these stages and there is no specific order in which you are expected to pass through the stages; however, the following are common emotional stages of divorce and what to expect during each stage:

  • Denial. For most people, this is the first emotional stage of divorce. You may not outright refuse to accept that divorce is eminent, but you may initially avoid reaching that conclusion. Most of us try to avoid conflict and we tend to prefer the status quo to the unknown. In practice, this means that even if the marriage is clearly an unhappy one, you may prefer that to embarking on a divorce that will completely change life as you know it.
  • Anger. Most divorces involve some anger at some point from either or both spouses. You may feel angry because your spouse outright betrayed you or simply because the fairytale marriage didn’t end up with a “happily ever after” ending. You might also be angry with yourself for your part in the marriage ending.
  • Bargaining/Questioning. This stage of divorce is often marked by a lot of “what ifs.” You may be asking yourself what would have happened if you had done something differently or wondering if you would be headed for divorce if your spouse had done something differently. You may also overtly try to bargain with your spouse, with a higher power, or with yourself to prevent your marriage from falling apart.
  • Depression. Even if you initiate the divorce yourself, you will probably eventually hit a depression stage during or after your divorce. It is not only possible, but common, to know that divorce is the only real option but simultaneously feel sad that the marriage is ending. Be particularly careful during this stage of divorce as it can easily slide into more serious psychological issues such as major depression or substance abuse.
  • Acceptance. Unfortunately, we do not wake up one day full of acceptance. Generally, reaching the acceptance stage of divorce is a slow process that takes months, even years. When you reach acceptance, you will finally feel that there is life after the divorce. In fact, you may even be excited about your new life.

Practical Stages of Divorce

Along with preparing for the emotional stages you are likely to go through during a divorce, you should also be familiar with the practical stages you will pass through along the pathway to divorce, including:

  • Legal divorce. This is the court process wherein your marriage is legally ended, and you and your spouse become independent individuals once again.
  • Financial divorce. During the marriage you and your spouse likely functioned as one entity for financial purposes. Post-divorce, you will be solely responsible for your finances, including income and debts.
  • Parenting divorce. If you have minor children, you will need to learn to co-parent with your former spouse.
  • Family divorce. Extended family members will likely be involved in your divorce to some extent and will go through the process with you. You may also feel a sense of loss if you were/are close to your spouse’s family.
  • Community divorce. Friends and co-workers will eventually know about your divorce. Some may feel the need to “pick a side.” 
  • Psychological divorce. Ultimately, you will psychologically separate yourself from your (now) former spouse, thereby creating your new individual identity.

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer 

If you have additional questions about divorce in Tennessee, consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Dinah Michael