The Emotional Stages of Divorce: What to Expect

Navigating the Emotional Stages of Divorce: A Guide for Parents

Hey there! Going through a divorce can feel like riding the world’s craziest roller coaster.

One minute, you’re up, and the next, you’re down. It’s like your feelings are doing somersaults inside you.

We get it – it’s tough.

But guess what? You’re not alone, and it’s important to know what these loop-de-loops are all about.

This chat is like a map to help you find your way through the maze of feelings that come with saying “goodbye” to your marriage.

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Recognizing the Emotional Stages

Imagine you’re on a journey, but instead of packing bags, you’re packing feelings. Some are heavy, some light, and some plain confusing. That’s what going through a divorce is like. It’s okay to feel all sorts of things, and everyone’s journey is different. 

Let’s peek at what kind of stops you might find.

A solitary figure stands at the precipice of a fractured cliff, surrounded by floating debris, under a turbulent sky, embodying the turmoil of shock and denial.

Shock and Denial

This Can't Be Happening!

When you first hear the “D” word (divorce), your brain might say, “Nope, not me!” This is like hitting the pause button because you can’t believe it’s happening.

  • Feeling frozen? That’s shock.
  • Thinking it’s all a bad dream? That’s denial.

How to Make It a Little Easier:

  • Talk to a buddy or someone in your family.
  • Write down your thoughts in a journal.
  • Take deep breaths – in and out, nice and slow.

Pain and Uncertainty

Ouch, This Hurts!

After the shock wears off, it can feel like you stubbed your toe, but in your heart. It’s okay to say, “Ouch, that hurts,” and to know you’re not alone.

  • Feeling sad? That’s the pain talking.
  • What’s going to happen next? That’s uncertainty knocking on the door.

Ways to Feel a Little Better:

  • Hug a pillow, pet, or person.
  • Do something you love, like drawing or playing ball.
  • Remember, it’s okay to cry or feel down. It’s like letting the air out of a balloon that’s too full.

Please stick with us as we keep exploring this journey together. We’ll look at the other stops on this emotional road trip and find ways to deal with all those wild feelings. Hang in there – you’ve got this!

Anger and Bargaining

Why Is This Happening?

After the hurt starts to settle a bit, you might feel your inner lion roar. This is when you might think things like, “It’s not fair!” or get super annoyed over small stuff.

  • Want to scream into a pillow? That’s anger letting loose.
  • Should you make a deal to stop this? That’s bargaining trying to sneak in.

Tips for Taming the Roar:

  • Scribble your mad feelings out on paper.
  • Run around the block or dance to your favorite song.
  • Talk about your angry feelings with someone who understands.


A solitary figure sits in contemplation on a bench under a barren tree, facing a reflective lake in the quiet twilight, encapsulating a moment of deep reflection and the solitude of loneliness.

Reflection and Loneliness

Me, Myself, and I

This part of the trip can be super quiet. It’s when you spend a lot of time thinking and feeling lonely, like you’re the only one in the world.

  • Doing a lot of thinking about the past? That’s reflection at work.
  • Feeling like you’re by yourself in a crowd? That’s loneliness waving hello.

Here’s How to Shine Light in the Quiet Corners:

  • Join a club or group to meet new friends.
  • Try a new hobby that keeps your hands and mind busy.
  • Remember, it’s okay to be alone sometimes. It can be a peaceful break.
A figure walks on a winding path through a rejuvenating forest at sunrise, with light beams indicating an upward turn towards hope and recovery.

The Upward Turn

Things Are Looking Up!

Guess what? After all those stormy feelings, you’ll start to see some sunshine. Things won’t feel as heavy, and you might begin to find reasons to smile or even laugh.

  • Noticing that things aren’t so bad today? That’s the upward turn.
  • Can you breathe a little easier? You’re starting to climb out of the tough times.

How to Enjoy the Sunshine:

  • Notice one good thing each day, even if it’s tiny.
  • Start a “good stuff” jar and fill it with happy notes.
  • Pat yourself on the back. You’re doing great!


Construction figures are methodically building a bridge over a turbulent river against a dawn-lit sky, symbolizing the process of reconstruction and the effort of working through difficulties.

Reconstruction and Working Through

Building a New Fort

Now you’re becoming the boss of your life again. You’re figuring out new ways to solve problems and making plans for the future. Think of it like building a cool new fort, one that’s just for you.

  • Making lists or plans? That’s reconstruction.
  • Solving little problems and feeling proud? You’re working through it!

Tools for Building Your Best Fort:

  • Make a list of fun things you want to do.
  • Set small goals, like reading a new book or making friends.
  • Celebrate every victory, no matter how small.

Every step you take, even the teeny-tiny ones, is a significant win on this journey. You’re learning and growing, and that’s pretty awesome. Keep going, and you’ll see – there’s a lot of good stuff waiting for you.

A silhouetted woman stands with arms outstretched towards a brilliant sunrise or sunset, with sunbeams radiating across a cloudy sky above a misty landscape.

Acceptance and Hope

Embracing Change and New Beginnings

As the days rolled on, you will notice the clouds parting. It’s like watching the dawn break after a long, stormy night. This is the stage where you’re learning to accept that your life is changing, and you know what? It’s not all bad. There’s a freshness to it, like opening a brand new book with crisp, blank pages ready to be filled.

  • Are you starting to feel okay with the new normal? That’s acceptance.
  • Seeing a future that’s ripe with new opportunities? That’s hope, my friends.

How to Welcoming the Future:

  • Take up painting and splash your hopes onto the canvas.
  • Build a vision board filled with your dreams and aspirations.
  • Share your goals with friends who have your back.
Diverse individuals form a supportive circle around a glowing globe, interconnected by lines of light, with an arch of resources above them, showcasing the power of support systems and resources.

Support Systems and Resources

Building My Team

Even superheroes have sidekicks and allies. Realize that you don’t have to face this alone. There are people and resources out there ready to be your support squad.

  • Need someone to talk to? You’ve got family and friends who’ve been your rock.
  • Looking for guidance? Find a local support group where you can share your journey with others on the same path.

Your Personal Cheer Squad Includes:

  • Family members who offer a shoulder to lean on
  • Friends who have stuck by you, making you laugh and giving you a boost
  • Counselors who lend an ear and offer wise words
  • Support groups full of people who genuinely understand
  • Helpful books and websites that provide guidance when you need it
Two separate trees with branches intertwined stand over a child playing in the sun, depicting the solidarity of co-parenting through emotional ups and downs.

Co-Parenting Through the Emotional Stages

Collaborating for Our Kids

If there’s one thing that’s become crystal clear, your ex and you are still a team regarding your kids. Despite the emotional turbulence, you’ve got to navigate these waters together for their sake.

  • Having calm discussions? That’s you both trying to co-parent effectively.
  • Keeping the kids’ well-being at the forefront? That’s your top priority.

Your Co-Parenting Game Plan:

  • Speak respectfully about each other in front of the kids.
  • Create a routine that minimizes disruption for your little ones.
  • When emotions run high, step back, breathe, and remind yourselves it’s about the kids.
Runner crossing finish line with arms raised.

Breaking It All Down for You

Celebrating Your Strength

Looking back at where you started and where you are now, you can’t help but feel a sense of pride. This journey has been one of the toughest, but you are still moving forward.

What You’ve Learned:

  • It’s okay to take this journey one step at a time.
  • Your feelings are valid, even when they change from one moment to the next.
  • You have a network of support that’s invaluable.
The letters "FAQ" in large bold text to represent the start of a Frequently Asked Questions section.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I cope with overwhelming emotions during a divorce?

Feeling overwhelmed is normal. Engage in physical activity, practice deep breathing, and focus on hobbies. Establish a daily routine that includes self-care, and consider seeking professional help if needed.

How can I support my children through the changes of divorce?

Maintain open communication, reassure them of your love, and emphasize that the divorce is not their fault. Keep their routine as normal as possible and consider counseling to help them process their feelings.

Is it common to regress emotionally after feeling better for a while?

Yes, healing isn’t always linear. Acknowledge these feelings without judgment, and remind yourself that they will pass.

How can I rebuild my sense of self after divorce?

Rediscover old interests or explore new activities. Set personal goals and prioritize your growth and development. Building a new routine focused on your well-being can help rediscover your sense of self.

What are effective ways to communicate with my ex-spouse about co-parenting?

Strive for clear, respectful communication. Use written forms for complex issues to reduce misunderstandings and keep the focus on your children’s best interests.

How should I handle shared events with my ex-spouse, like birthdays or school functions?

Plan and agree on expectations in advance. Be civil, keep interactions brief if necessary, and focus on the event rather than your relationship with your ex-spouse.

Can I co-parent effectively if my ex-spouse and I have different parenting styles?

Yes, establish consistent core rules and values across both households. Agree on significant points like education and health, and be willing to compromise on minor issues.

What if I feel I lack a support system after my divorce?

Explore community resources such as support groups or online forums. Connecting with others who understand can provide valuable support.

How can I maintain a positive outlook when struggling with divorce reality?

Focus on small, daily positives and practice gratitude. Set achievable goals and remind yourself of your resilience and progress.

What if my ex-spouse isn’t willing to co-parent positively?

Focus on what you can control – your actions and responses. Set boundaries, communicate through writing to keep a record, and prioritize your children’s well-being. Seek legal advice if necessary.

How do I know if I need professional help to cope with my divorce?

If emotions interfere with daily functioning or if you experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, consider seeking professional help. Prioritize your mental health during this challenging time.

Is it okay to start dating while still dealing with the emotional stages of divorce?

Everyone’s readiness varies. Ensure you’re emotionally ready and not using dating as an escape. Reflect on your motives and consider discussing them with a therapist to ensure healthy choices.

"Glossary" in large, bold text, marking the beginning of a section defining key terms.


  • Acceptance: The process of understanding and coming to terms with a new situation, acknowledging that things have changed, and learning to live with those changes.
  • Hope: A feeling of expectation and desire for certain things to happen. In the context of divorce, it often refers to looking forward to positive experiences and opportunities in the future.
  • Support Systems: Networks of people, such as family, friends, and professionals, provide emotional, informational, and practical help during challenging times.
  • Resources: Tools and services available to help manage and cope with divorce. These can include books, websites, support groups, and counseling services.
  • Co-Parenting: Shared parenting is parenting by two people who are not in a marriage or similar relationship with each other, focusing on the well-being of their children.
  • Emotional Stages: The range of feelings one might experience during a significant life change, such as anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
  • Collaborating: Working jointly with someone else to achieve a common goal, which usually involves co-parenting in divorce.
  • Communication: The exchange of information or news between people. In the context of divorce and co-parenting, it often involves discussing child-related matters.
  • Routine: A set of customary or fixed habits, practices, or regular activities typically followed by an individual or family.
  • Well-being: The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. After a divorce, individuals often focus on their well-being.
  • Counseling: Professional guidance to resolve personal or psychological problems. This can be a valuable resource for individuals going through a divorce.
  • Support Group: A group of people with shared experiences or concerns who provide each other with encouragement, comfort, and advice.
  • Healing: The process of making or becoming sound or healthy again. After divorce, this refers to emotional and psychological recovery.
  • Resilience: The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. It’s an important trait when dealing with the stress of a divorce.
  • Professional Help: Assistance from individuals trained to provide psychological support, such as therapists or counselors.
  • Self-Care: Taking action to preserve or improve one’s health, especially during periods of stress, like during and after a divorce.
  • Boundaries: Limits that a person establishes to protect their well-being in relationships. Setting boundaries with an ex-spouse can be crucial in co-parenting.
  • Depression: A common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. It’s a condition that some people may experience during or after a divorce.
  • Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome, which can be a part of the emotional stages of a divorce.
  • Coping Mechanisms: Strategies or behaviors used to manage the stress and emotional impact of difficult situations like a divorce.


Additional Resources for You

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For our valued readers who are navigating the complexities of divorce in Nevada, our lead attorney Molly Rosenblum, Esq. has thoughtfully prepared a suite of resources to guide you through these challenging times. These resources provide vital information and answer common questions you may have. Here’s a reminder of the valuable resources available to you:

Molly Rosenblum, Esq. is committed to providing you with the resources you need to feel empowered during your divorce. These guides are designed to be a starting point for your journey to a new chapter in your life.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are some offsite resources that provide valuable information related to divorce and family law. These websites are authoritative sources and can offer guidance and support for readers seeking additional help:

  • American Bar Association – Family Law Section: An extensive resource for legal professionals but also helpful for individuals looking for information on family law and divorce procedures.

  • Psychology Today – Divorce: Offers articles and resources on the psychological aspects of divorce, helping individuals and families cope with the emotional challenges.
  • Provides information on mediation, a valuable process for resolving disputes in divorce without going to court.

  • National Parents Organization: Focuses on promoting shared parenting and family law reform to ensure the best outcomes for children involved in divorce.

  • A comprehensive resource offering legal information and support specifically for women, including those facing divorce and custody issues.

  • LegalZoom – Divorce: Offers guidance on legal procedures and DIY divorce documentation for those considering handling their divorce without an attorney.

These resources can provide you with a wealth of information and support services to assist you through various aspects of a divorce, from legal and financial to emotional and practical considerations.

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A Special Message From Our Lead Attorney

Why You Might Need a Lawyer

Molly Rosenblum, Esq

Headshot of attorney Molly Rosenblum Allen with long blond hair, wearing a black blazer.

Dear Reader,

Thank you for taking the time to engage with our divorce resources. I hope the information provided has been informative and valuable during what I understand can be challenging and complex.

Please reach out if you feel ready to take the next step and would like personalized advice tailored to your unique circumstances.

My team and I are committed to providing compassionate and skilled legal representation to protect your interests and guide you through divorce.

You can get the ball rolling by calling us at (702) 433-2889. We are here to listen and help you navigate the path ahead with confidence and clarity.

Warm regards,
Molly Rosenblum, Esq.

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