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What are the six emotional stages of divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 27, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce is akin to death for many Californians. It’s normal to experience conflicting emotions; these are the six stages of divorce.


Denial is normal during a divorce. It’s usually a stronger emotion when your spouse tells you they want a divorce. You may even have in mind that there’s a way to get your spouse back or to make them reconsider.


Once you get past the denial stage, you may feel a sense of shock. This leads to your mind racing as you wonder how your family will get through the divorce. You may also reflect on how much time you have put into your marriage and family.

Conflicting emotions

The third stage of divorce involves conflicting emotions. You may feel hopeful one moment but then depressed the next. Angry outbursts and blame also occur. As you go through a whirlwind of shifting emotions during this point, it’s common to reflect on your marriage and how it ended up failing.


Bargaining is a common stage during a divorce. It means that you are willing to do anything or change anything about yourself in order to keep your marriage intact. You might even do something drastic to show your spouse that you are serious in hopes of changing their mind about getting divorced.

Letting go

Once you realize that your bargaining tactics won’t work, you start to realize that you might actually be to blame for the marriage ending. As the divorce progresses, you might even begin to gain some hope for the future, which allows you to have some freedom and the ability to move on. This is known as the letting go stage of divorce.


The final stage of divorce is acceptance. At this point, you are fully able to face the reality of your situation and the future with a healthy outlook. You are able to see that there’s a lot more in store for your life after divorce and that positive things are there for you to experience.

Even with an uncontested divorce, you can go through ups and downs and different emotions. This is normal and helps you get through it.