Written by: Lenorae Atter, Attorney at Law
Being married for years and then deciding to go your separate ways can be a challenge for any Florida couple. As a divorce lawyer in Jacksonville, I meet with clients that are in different stages of the grief process over their marriage. Normally, the spouse that leads the conversation to divorce is generally the one that has processed the situation surrounding the marriage and ultimately already grieved over the loss of the relationship. Understanding where you may in the grieving process versus where your spouse may be is helpful to dealing with the dramas that may plague your divorce process.
We have all heard of the stages of grief when dealing with loss and divorce grief is no different. The loss, however, generally occurs at different times for spouses because one may be unhappy or not content for a longer time before the other spouse knows of the unhappiness. When couples get to this stage, normally communication has already broken down, so the conversations of what a spouse may need are over and the acceptance of not having those needs met may have already set in. Complacency of one spouse can be part of the process for that spouse to go through the stages of grief, all the way from denial to acceptance. Once a spouse has accepted the possible fate of the marriage she or he may have a conversation with his or her spouse about the next step, possibly divorce.
The spouse that is confronted with the possibility of divorce may or may not have realized how much the relationship had previously suffered. As such, upon learning of the news, then that spouse may begin the grief process from step one, denial. The denial stage is difficult for both parties because each require their own processing. For the one in denial, there may be a number of questions as to how; why and what could be done to save the marriage. For the spouse that broke the news, she or he is now required to answer those questions for the other and help his or her spouse better process that this is not a horrible joke, but in fact their present reality.
If you are the one that breaks the news, then anger towards the other for not understanding is normal. However, if you can try to view the situation from his or her perspective, then it may make the process easier for both of you. The easier you make the conversation the less you may actually have to fight about in the divorce, which could potentially save you time and money. If you can’t work through it, which is normal as well, then it is important to understand that at times one party may be thinking more rationally and business-like than the other due to emotions. Often, emotions cannot be removed 100 percent from a divorce, for even those that believe they have process the entire process. At the end of the day, divorce ultimately signals loss and while it may seem freeing at times, there are normally good times that are remembered along the way that will make you question yourself and your spouse.
To better keep emotion out of the process, it is a good idea to speak with a divorce lawyer that is experienced in handling such matters. A family law or divorce attorney can help you to keep things in perspective and not necessarily get carried away in the emotional minutia that can plague the divorce process.