What Emotional Stage of Divorce Are You Currently Experiencing?

Almost 35 years ago, M. Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist would become a bestselling author by publishing The Road Less Traveled. As a pioneer in helping to develop the self-help concept, Peck is indirectly responsible for the type of attorney that I chose to become. Before I spent three years pursuing a legal education, I decided to pursue a degree in psychology. Today, although I did not pursue that field of study, I am fascinated by learning as much as I can about people.

This fascination drove me to devote part of my practice to family law. The process of divorce is ugly. Faced with conflicting emotions, racing thoughts and immense sadness, clients typically first come into my office in deep shock. Afraid and alone, many divorcing spouses are uncertain as to what they may expect over the next several months. They often mistakenly believe that by doing nothing, they can do no further legal or emotional damage.

Although the emotional process of divorce may be confusing, it always has a beginning and an end. The same is true for the legal process of divorce, although the final dissolution or decree does not always signal the end for many divorcing spouses. Unfortunately, it may take several more years and more courtroom time for post-divorce issues, including custody, spousal support and visitation agreements to work. If you are going through a divorce, finding a good attorney to help you with your legal problems in a compassionate manner is truly important. Your emotions are raw, and you may not be in the best emotional state to make serious decisions. Allow your attorney to help you.

Read books — lots of self-help books. Start with M. Scott Peck. Know that you are not alone, and the process of falling in love, falling out of love and divorce are all unfortunately too common. I also recommend reading books by Daphne Rose Kingma, a seasoned relationship psychotherapist. Join divorce support groups. As there are legal stages of divorcing, there are also emotional stages of divorcing, which include shock, denial, bargaining, grief and depression, and finally, acceptance. What stage are you experiencing?

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