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What are the Stages of Divorce?

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You might not know it at first, but something as life-changing as divorce has stages that couples go through. Similar to the stages of grief, couples going through divorce will also experience five stages of varying degrees. And although both parties undergo these stages, not all of them experience both at the same time and in the same way. To help you through the process, make sure to hire a competent divorce lawyer in Baltimore, MD so that you can make rational decisions in the midst of your problems.

The first stage is denial, where it becomes hard to fully grasp the situation. This is followed by anger once the numbness of denial wears off. Once anger has set in, you will start bargaining to salvage what can be saved. The weight of going through those stages is a heavy burden to bear, and it is at this point when most would fall to the stage of depression. The last stage is acceptance, which can take a long time to reach. Throughout all these stages, you will need an excellent support system to get you through the process. Most of all, you will need a good family lawyer in Baltimore, MD, so that you can feel grounded throughout the whole process.

Let’s dive into the five stages:


Being in denial does not necessarily mean you refuse to accept the truth. It’s just that you may have a little trouble processing what’s happening because there is too much to take in at once. “He didn’t mean that. He’ll apologize, and we’ll get back to normal” or “She’ll get over it. She’s always fine with it”. These are just some of the thoughts you may be thinking about right now. But underneath all that, you may be ignoring that there are very real problems that won’t go away.


Once reality begins to sink in, you will start feeling a variety of emotions, and the biggest one will be anger. This emotion will often be directed to the spouse, and the list of the faults you find in that spouse will seem endless in the midst of anger. Being angry is normal and, sometimes, even needed to help you move through the process of divorce. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t vent your anger on your children or any children involved.


This happens when one spouse attempts to salvage the relationship or to pinpoint where everything went wrong. One may offer to change, make promises, or even agree to certain requests just to stop the divorce. If there is still a chance of saving the marriage, then this stage can be helpful. But in most cases, this isn’t guaranteed and the divorce still proceeds.


When the sobering reality that your marriage is over finally dawns on you and there is nothing you can do about it, most people tend to fall into depression. This stage typically lasts longer and is harder to overcome, but it is entirely normal.


This stage brings a sense of relief, but it doesn’t completely end your grief. At this stage, you find the strength to move on without letting divorce define you.

It’s important to remember that each person reacts differently to the loss of their marriage and that each person doesn’t just move from stage to stage that easily. It’s also common to go through more than one stage at once or even to regress back to a certain stage any time. Regardless, most divorcees will find that cycling through the stages will get easier, as they get closer to acceptance and healing. If you are thinking of pushing through with your divorce, hire Attorney Richard J. Hackerman as your divorce lawyer in Baltimore, MD, and he will help you every step of the way.

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