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Why a Divorce can be the same as a bereavement and the importance of listening to your solicitor

When you go through a divorce it is commonly acknowledged that the stages can mirror that of a bereavement. People can go through similar stages which such as:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Unsurprisingly, when a long-term relationship deteriorates and breaks down, those affected experience similar emotions. The issue which I commonly see is that unfortunately, it’s rare for both parties to reach the same stage of grief at the same time. One might be at ‘anger’, while the other has ‘accepted’ the relationship has ended. This can make it very difficult for them both to engage in constructive negotiations.

Of course I would say this but it is important to listen to your solicitor who has been through this process countless times. A good solicitor might advise the parties to wait a while, if possible, before beginning negotiations, to allow the other party to catch up and progress towards acceptance. There are many options available to people who are going through a divorce dependant on the circumstances. These can include:

  • Mediation
  • Collaborative Law
  • Negotiation and Court Proceedings

Some clients even go through the stages of grieving during their relationship, while others do not begin until after the relationship has ended. This can determine the best route for a client. Many realise things are deteriorating, but choose not to take steps to end it instead finding other ways to feel happy and fulfilled.

Some opt for cosmetic surgery, others throw themselves into competitive sport – a triathlon or a gruelling cycle ride, or perhaps a personal challenge such as a marathon. Most begin to socialise separately from their partner, and start spending weekends away with friends. Eventually, either one or both parties realise the relationship is breaking down and either rectify and repair it, or one, sometimes both, chooses to end it. Understanding which stage of grief each party has reached during a relationship breakdown enables us to better advice our clients on the best approach to progressing their divorce to put them in the best possible position.