The Emotional Impact of Divorce: What to Expect in Your Divorce

The Emotional Impact of Divorce: What to Expect in Your Divorce

By: M. Scott Gordon

Deciding to file for divorce is a difficult decision – no matter what your circumstances might be. Even when you are anticipating an uncontested divorce, where you and your spouse agree to all terms of the divorce and you are not expecting to contest any issues, there are still numerous emotional issues likely to arise.

Whether you have been married for only a short time or for many years, you may experience a grieving process that comes with your divorce, along with various other emotions. According to an article in the Huffington Post, the emotional stages of divorce can vary depending upon the person, but many people experience similar emotional stages during and after the divorce process.

Dealing with the Trauma of Divorce

An article in Psychology Today discusses the emotional effects of divorce and the assumption divorce always has a negative impact on all parties involved. To be sure, divorce often is a traumatic process for the spouses – as well as for children from the marriage. When divorce is traumatic, it can lead to some of the following emotional and physical impacts: “increased stress, lower life satisfaction, depression, increased medical visits and an overall increase in mortality risk compared to those who remain married.”

However, the article underscores that divorce does not necessarily have a negative emotional impact on everyone. For example, cultural differences can affect how a person views divorce, and affect assumptions a person makes about what it means to be divorced. Some research suggests that, even within similar cultures, “men and women experience marriage and divorce differently.” While these distinctions likely are socialized ones, it is worth noting that many couples who do experience stressful divorces in Western cultures, “the impact it has on later life satisfaction often depends on the kind of marriage people had before.” In other words, there may be an immediate negative impact of divorce, but many people thrive physically, socially and professionally once the initial sting of a divorce has passed.

Divorce and the Stages of Grief

For some, the emotional impact of divorce is not unlike going through the commonly discussed stages of grief. The Huffington Post article discusses the ways in which many people going through a divorce experience the following emotional impacts:

  • Denial, or refusing to face the reality that your marriage is ending;
  • Anger, including being angry at your spouse and others;
  • Bargaining, or the stage at which a person “attempt[s] to repair and undo the damage done” to get his/her life back on track;
  • Depression, which may be brief or long-term; and
  • Acceptance, which can still involve emotions like anger, but is accompanied by an acceptance of the situation and a desire to move forward.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Lawyer

Whether you are just beginning to consider divorce and need advice, or if you need legal assistance with your current divorce, an experienced and compassionate Chicago divorce attorney at our firm can speak with you today about your legal needs. Our firm has years of experience handling a wide variety of family law matters arising out of divorce and we can begin working on your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC to learn more about the services we provide to Chicago families.