The Stages of Divorce

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It may surprise you to learn that divorce has warning signs and that healing from one must be processed over time. The healing process is complex and research is revealing that there are many one must go through to repair from one. According to Everett & Everett, there at least 14 distinct stages one must journey through to adjust to life after divorce:

Stages of divorce HANDOUT

1. Heightened ambivalence: early warning signs in the gradual erosion of the marriage or relationship

2. Distancing: a variety of distancing behaviours caused by dissatisfaction in the marriage or couple relationship.

3. Preseperation fantasies/actions: the emotional experience of imagining living without your spouse or substituting new partners and lovers

4. Physical separation: the drama of planning to separate physically and preparing the children for the experience.

5. Pseudoreconciliation: struggles with loneliness, guilt, and the concerns for the children that lead to second thoughts about separation.

6. Predivorce fantasies: when efforts at reconciliation have failed and you begin to plan more earnestly for divorce rather than separation.

7. Decision to divorce: the final turning point, when both spouses and the children must come to grips with the ending of the marriage.

8. Recurring ambivalence: the complexity and magnitude of the actual legal process trigger more second thoughts about whether you are making the right decision.

9. The potential disputes: a.) mediation–a reasonable and peaceful method for ending a marriage without becoming enemies or dragging the children into an adversarial legal battle. or b.) adversarial–The adversarial divorce: the court battle that must occur if attempts at reasonable agreements fail.

10. Postdivorce co-parenting: developing new boundaries and roles as single yet cooperating parents and providing stability for your children.

11. Remarriage: preparing both the children and the former spouse for the entrance of a new parent into the family system.

12. Blended family formation: Forming new functions for the step and bio parents that evolve the system

13. Second marriage: pressures on the unmarried parent to create a new family system and restore the balance between the two families.

14. Dual family function: cross relational stability and satisfaction for you and your children; the final phase of the divorce process.

Sources:

http://www.collaborativedivorcecoaching.com/dynamic_desert_bluedraft6_006.htm

Craig Everett & Sandra Volgy Everett, “Healthy Divorce.”

For Therapy Services: The Key Counseling of SA

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