There are five recognized stages of grief in the Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Many people experience them during a divorce - maybe not in the same order and maybe not all of the emotions.

  1. Denial

    A good friend just came to me in tears. Her husband wants a divorce. I don't think it was a shock to her as much as an overwhelming feeling of sadness and denial. Maybe he will change his mind - after all, they have been talking about it for years. Her sadness was palpable.
  2. Anger

    The husband had her "served" with a divorce petition. That is the paper that is filed with the court stating "you have been sued" and asking the court to dissolve the marriage. Now her emotions became raw and she became angry. How could he do this?
  3. Bargaining

    They had just been talking and now she is holding legal documents. Why could she/he not just wait until school is out and their son finishes sixth grade? or, get through the holidays? or, graduation? or, after their vacation that has been scheduled for three months?
  4. Depression

    It happens! A lot! When you become so depressed and emotional overloaded that you want to crawl into a hole and hide from friends, family and the courthouse. It is important to secure documents.
  5. Acceptance.

    It may take years or it may be weeks before the emotional scars heal and you accept the change. Children feel the impact for years and parents must keep in mind what is in the best interest of the children. But life does get better!!


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