There are many stages of divorcing. Divorce is a process regardless of the type of approach to your divorce that you choose. At Weber Dispute Resolution, we want to give you some help in understanding what to expect in the stages of divorcing because we know that the future can seem uncertain and even a little scary. At Weber Dispute Resolution, we believe there are many valid viewpoints, so we particularly encourage you to read up on the various sources on this topic.
The Stages of Divorcing
There is a lot of research out there from many different psychological experts on the stages of divorce. Here is one example about The Stages of Divorce co-authored by Dr. Tom Merrill, ABPP and Geoff Hamilton, Esq. in Hawaii.
- Deliberation Phase
This is the period of time between when the thought of divorce bubbles to the surface and the time when divorce is finally carried out. Often, the genesis of this stage is some stressful circumstance for one or both parties, such as a loss of a good employment, health issues or money problems. The more stressful things are, the more likely the marriage will suffer. People who are in the midst of the deliberation phaserarely understand what is happening to them.
- Decision Phase
Communicating the intent to divorce ends the deliberation phase. Often, there is a brief, but intense decision-making phase where the intent to divorce has been seriously communicated but the outcome remains in doubt. Such communication frequently opens Pandora’s Box. Family members and friends get involved and offer unsolicited advice, opinions and their own “spin” on what could or should have been done (the classic “I told you so!”) and what could or should happen now.
- Transition Phase (“Crazy Time”)
This is a period fraught with the potential for a wide range of “crazy” behavior. It most likely will be a time of nuttiness as one or both partners are faced, head-on, with the need to let go. While the partners may have physically separated at the end of the previous stage, this is a period requiring emotional or psychological separation.
- Legal Process Phase
Although litigation is not an emotional stage, it is superimposed on the emotional process of divorce and is primarily defined in terms of duration as a function of the legal process in your state. Generally, the process takes about one year if the divorce is fully contested in court and is considerably shorter if the parties reach an amicable agreement. Once the legal process earnestly begins, this period is characterized by the redefinition of the roles of each partner. As such, it can be either a period of tremendous growth or stagnation and despair, or, it can be both, to varying degrees.
- Healing Phase
As ex-partners, this period is marked by healing, a commitment to the future, and the promise of a new life. It is a period characterized by individual development of the Self in the absence of the other partner. In other words, a period of where you “move” on. Those hot spots that previously were stimuli for irrational and destructive behavior are dealt with and handled. A new scope of stability is often achieved, and it often continues indefinitely.
It’s important to remain flexible and adaptable during any type of family law matter, because there are many variables (e.g., court schedules, legal process timelines, human emotions, etc.) that will undoubtedly through a monkey wrench in your idea of how a divorce should go.
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