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What are the 5 stages of a divorce settlement?

What are the 5 stages of a divorce settlement?

Filing your papers is the easy part of a divorce settlement. As simple as Split Easy can make the divorce procedure, we can’t help you work through the stages of separation. That is the real challenge: mourning the end of a long-term relationship, and the breaking of all the emotional and material bonds that go with it. Most psychologists agree that going through divorce triggers a grieving process very much like what we experience after the death of a loved one. We go through the 5 stages - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. 

The first stage of divorce: denial

Whether you or your partner initiate a divorce, you will both experience a period of denial, a temporary unwillingness to believe that your relationship is actually coming to an end. This stage culminates in cognitive separation, when you reach that point that the relationship really is over and action will have to be taken.

The second stage: anger

Once you have both accepted that you will have to part ways, the anger and accusations arise. Questions of blame and fairness will arise and arguments will ensue. The second stage can be very short, or it can drag on for years, depending on you two and your circumstances.

The third stage: bargaining

Once you each have voiced your differences, the next stage is negotiating how the split is going to work. You may still be defensive at this stage, and so you may try to bargain for maximum advantage. 

The fourth stage: depression

It really is happening: the papers are drawn up, the negotiations are at an end. Perhaps all that is left now is to sign. You are now likely to go through a period of melancholy and introspection. What went wrong? How will you adjust to life without the other person? Will you find love again? 

The fifth stage: acceptance

Finally, you reach the point where you realize that the relationship is finished - and that you can and will carry on. You start to adjust to your new life, you either reach a cordial rapport with your ex-spouse or stop communicating with them completely. Feelings of resentment, self-reproach and loss start to subside.

divorce process

Divorce is hard but the process doesn’t have to be

If you have decided to handle your divorce without the help of lawyers, then part of your five stages will involve drawing up a Separation Agreement. The specifics of each settlement will differ from case to case, but here are some general tips to help you draw up that document:

Remember that any prenuptial agreement should be taken into account

As you work out the details of your settlement, make sure you reference your prenuptial agreement if you have one. Understand how such an agreement may pre-determine your rights or obligations.  This may affect support or property division.

Be thorough and pay close attention to detail 

Your divorce documents have to be detailed and specific about every aspect of the split. If you want child support to end when your children have reached a certain age, state this in the Separation Agreement. Likewise with spousal support.  Make the agreement complete and thorough.

Don’t leave anything to be discussed later - least of all the children 

If you do have an amicable divorce, you may be tempted to think that there are some details you can leave out, talk about later, play it by ear or agree on verbally. Don’t do this. To be safe, regardless of whether you have agreed with your spouse on most matters or you are still fighting things out, include everything in the agreement, especially where your children are concerned. It is better for the children that you establish a structure from the start. 

Have all of the supporting documents needed to base the settlement

This can include your marriage certificate, birth certificates, property deeds, prenuptial agreement, salary slips, income tax returns, mortgage agreements, insurance and retirement policies. Make sure the figures are all accurate. 

Purchase tailor-made divorce forms from SplitEasy 

To make the process easier, get customized, personalized divorce forms from SplitEasy. Start the process by visiting our home page and clicking on the type of divorce forms you need (we can advise you if you’re not sure). We will guide you through the process from there - and you will have your divorce settlement paperwork within three working days. Contact us for more information.

divorce process