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Divorce and the Stages of Grief


When actress Jennie Garth, the former star of 90210, confirmed her divorce from Twilight actor Peter Facinelli, she compared the loss to the personal trauma of losing her father after a long battle with heart disease. Garth may be a celebrity, but her experience is not uncommon. Many couples considering a Pasadena divorce feel that the grieving process when getting a divorce is much like the process one goes through after losing a loved one.

Psychologists often talk about the five stages of grief when discussing how a person copes with an emotional trauma. These stages were first written about in Elisabeth Kübler-Ross's 1969 book On Death and Dying. According to Kübler-Ross, the five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. She believes that all people experience these stages to some extent when suffering from a trauma. The stages do not necessarily happen in order, however.

People who are going through a divorce can experience the stages of grief even if they are the one who initiated the divorce. Realizing that your marriage is not going to work out is a traumatic event. It is perfectly natural to want to file for divorce, but to still have strong feelings about your relationship with your spouse. Talking to a counselor can help you better cope with the emotions surrounding your divorce, especially if your decision to file for divorce is related to your spouse's infidelity or issues caused by a substance abuse problem.

If you have children with your spouse, remember that the five stages of grief are not just for adults. To some extent, children will experience each of the five stages of grief as well. Be open with your child about what is happening and watch for any drastic changes in mood or behavior that might indicate the need for professional counseling services.

A Pasadena divorce attorney isn't going to be qualified to discuss the emotional aspects of your divorce, but having a strong legal advocate on your side can help you make sure you get a settlement that is most favorable to moving on with your life. Acceptance is the final stage in the divorce grieving process.

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