Navigating the 5 Stages of Grief in the Divorce Process

Along with moving house, losing a loved one and unemployment, divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional experiences a person can go through. The process of ending a marriage and the journey of starting a new life can be understood through the lens of Kubler Ross’s five stages of grief, as it often involves a similar process of loss and acceptance. It is important to have professional support from lawyers who understand these stages. Mercedes and the family team at Denney King offer strategic advice in a kind and compassionate way to make this difficult time as easy as possible.


The first stage of Kubler Ross’s model is denial, as it may be difficult to accept that the divorce is happening. This can lead to feelings of disbelief, shock, or numbness. Similarly, in the divorce process, many people may not want to face the reality of the situation, and hold onto hope that the relationship can be saved.


The second stage is anger which manifests as aggression, frustration and irritation. Very often, these emotions are directed towards a partner, friends, family or the situation. In the divorce process, this is common with people feeling as though they have been wronged or that the situation is unfair. This can lead to hostile negotiations and a difficult, combative legal process.


The third stage is bargaining, where people may try to find ways to avoid the situation or make a deal to keep the relationship intact. In the divorce process, this may involve trying to find a way to reconcile or rush into an ill-thought-out settlement to avoid court proceedings. It can result in decisions made to try to get things over and done with but, in hindsight, they result in regret.


The fourth stage is depression, marked by feelings of sadness and a sense of hopelessness. This is often a difficult time for those going through a divorce, as they may feel a sense of loss and hopelessness, not just for the marriage, but for their future as well.


The final stage is acceptance, where the individual may finally come to terms with the situation and move on with their lives. This is often a turning point in the divorce process, as people may finally be able to let go of the past, consider their options and start to look towards the future.

Having the right support

Recognising the grief can be more complex as very often the stages are not always experienced one after another. Having a lawyer who is sensitive to these stages is critical in ensuring a smooth and stress-free divorce process. A good lawyer will understand that their clients are going through a difficult time, and will be able to provide support and guidance throughout the process. They will also be able to provide advice on a negotiated settlement, taking into account the emotional and practical considerations involved.

At Denney King, our family team has a wealth of experience in helping clients through the divorce process. Our team is made up of compassionate and understanding lawyers who are dedicated to helping their clients achieve the best possible outcome. Mercedes works with her clients to find a solution that works for them in order to achieve a positive outcome and help them move forward with their lives.