In Kentucky, people going through the divorce process embark on a journey that involves several stages, resembling the grief process after a loss. Each step presents new emotions and challenges, which fall into six basic categories. Understanding these stages can help people understand what to expect and navigate divorce’s emotional stages and complexities more successfully.
1) Feeling the shock
The first stage of divorce typically involves a state of disbelief and shock as reality sinks in. The emotional upheaval and pending life changes take time to grasp, and both partners may find themselves going through various emotions as they contemplate the reality of a separation or complete split as a married couple.
2) The initial adjustment
After the first shock, the next few weeks involve an adjustment period where the one who initiated the divorce may feel excited at the prospect of moving on, mixed with the uncertainty about their new life. The other partner may find themselves in a fog of various emotions such as anger, confusion and sadness as they grapple with their partner’s desire to end the marriage.
3) Regaining your footing
After approximately three months of separation, the partner left behind emerges from their emotional fog. This individual may have moments of clarity and feel more functional in daily life. While they regain their footing, they may begin worrying about legal action, child custody, finances and their future.
4) Potential conflicts or reconciliation
This time can become challenging after the previous divorce stages if disagreements arise over child custody and other issues. One or both partners may have legal representation and make attempts at reconciling or resolving issues regarding asset division and other matters. Friends, family and additional support may align with one side or the other or remain neutral.
5) The one-year mark
While reconciliation may still be an option for some, most couples have established their own lives, adjusting to their new normal. Children may adapt reasonably well to the changes, although co-parenting issues may require some navigation and improved communication.
6) Two years out
Divorce has mostly become a thing of the past after two years, and each person may feel the sense of a new life chapter starting. Settling more comfortably into single life or remarrying may happen, and both individuals have developed some perspective on divorce based on how they have fared in life post-breakup, whether of regret or contentment.
Knowing and respecting the six stages of divorce can help people prepare and adjust. In addition, making it through each stage and knowing what to look forward to can help people navigate their future lives more effectively and successfully.