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What are the Stages of Divorce Grief?

Divorce affects many Americans, but some people may not be prepared for the emotional impact of the process. Going through a divorce is a form of loss, and it is normal to grieve. The decision to seek a divorce is often mutual, and even when it is not, the spouse who chooses the divorce does not typically make the decision lightly. It is not an easy decision and generally comes after much reflection and thought.

In most cases, couples will spend a lot of time, even years, trying to solve issues in their relationship to avoid separation. Eventually, they may come to the conclusion that ending the marriage is the only way of making a better life for themselves. Reasons for divorce may include parenting disagreements, career issues, and marital infidelity. Regardless of the cause, divorce is still a significant loss, and those experiencing it will likely experience stages of grief.  

Emotional Impact of Divorce

Divorce is often difficult for everyone involved. It has a significant impact on the separating couple, but it can also reach beyond the two spouses and affect children and other family members. The dramatic change in lifestyle and day-to-day life can be hard to deal with for many people going through a separation. This life-change paired with the loss of a partner can create a great deal of emotional turmoil. 

Divorce can cause a variety of real-world complications as well, such as financial issues and child custody problems. It is important to remember that each of these issues plays a role in the emotional aspect of divorce as well.

Understanding Grief

Grief is a significant and unavoidable part of the human experience. Psychologists have studied the impact of loss and the grief process for many years. This research has provided a greater understanding of the way humans process a significant loss. The findings of these mental health experts show that in most cases, people experience the same seven stages of grief. When it comes to divorce, the process and the stages are very similar. The stages of divorce grief include the following.


It is very difficult for some people to process major life changes. It can be hard to accept that a divorce is happening. This is especially true when the decision is not a mutual one, and one spouse has trouble believing that the other wants to end the relationship. It is common for people to deny that it is really happening.

Pain and Fear

Fear is directly tied to denial. Both are based on the difficulty in processing the change and entering a new stage in life. Pain comes along with this because the affected individuals experience emotional distress at the loss of their marriage.


Anger is a normal reaction to stress. In cases of divorce, anger may erupt because of the situation itself. Additionally, the nature of divorce often leads to anger and hard feelings toward the other spouse. Anger is a normal response to pain and fear. What is important is to not let emotions get out of hand and cause more harm.


As people progress through the stages of divorce grief, they grow closer to accepting the reality of the situation. Bargaining is the point where they understand that they can no longer live in denial, but they cannot accept the pain and fear of an uncertain future. A persona may believe that they can make deals or change something that will prevent the inevitable.


In the later stages of divorce grief, people tend to look inward and reassess the history of their relationship. It is understandable that at this time, they may realize that they should have handled some matters differently. Typically, people will look back and feel guilty, blaming themselves for the divorce.


Depression is often the result of everything discussed above. When anger and guilt mix together, and it becomes clear that no bargaining or denial of issues will change the circumstances. People may even feel hopeless in this situation.


The final stage of divorce grief is acceptance. No matter how bad the situation seems or how much disbelief there was at the beginning of divorce discussions, there comes a point when there is nothing left to do but to accept that it is going to happen.

How Do I Seek Help During and After a Divorce?

Help is available for people going through a divorce. Emotional support during this time is crucial. It is imperative to have a solid support system and to be willing and able to ask for professional help when it is needed. In addition to emotional support, having the help of a qualified legal professional can make the process go more smoothly.

Bel Air Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Clients Navigate the Complex Issues of Divorce

If you are considering a divorce, a dedicated Bel Air divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC can help you with your case. Our legal team is ready to assist you throughout the entire divorce process. Call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County.

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