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What are the six stages of divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Divorce

Marital separation and divorce produce many life changes, usually accompanied by some level of grief. Just as people go through stages of grief when encountering death, Virginia residents commonly experience six stages of grief as they navigate the divorce process.

The divorce transition and grief process

Divorce is all about transitioning from one stage of your life to another. While some people may experience a sense of relief when they have decided to split with their partner, most also encounter grief as the divorce process represents dreams that ultimately become unattainable. Your experience will most likely differ from your partner’s and how long you remain in each stage. The following are the most common stages of grief in a divorce:

  • Shock
  • Three-week blur
  • Three months in
  • Six months to one year
  • One year out
  • Two years out

Whether you are the person doing the leaving or the one left behind, the first step is a gut punch when reality sets in. Once the shock subsides slightly, the blur sets in as you begin navigating all the tasks involved in the divorce process. Depression and loneliness can occur several months into the process, as both souses begin navigating their new reality. Six months to a year out, depression can worsen, or you may resolve to start taking steps forward. Usually, the dust begins to settle sometime after the first year as you start to move on. By year two, healing has begun.

Navigating through major divorce issues

The divorce process can take as little as six months in Virginia or up to a year if you have children. However, if you are experiencing grief issues that may cloud your thinking, taking your time to think through your needs may be a better option. Attempting a friendly divorce may also be in your best interests, as staying out of court reduces overall costs.

Always remember that you are transitioning to a new phase of life. There is no right or wrong timeline. Find one that works for you as you deal with your stages of divorce grief.


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