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Dealing with Divorce

2/3 to 3/4 of divorces are initiated by women

Divorce Information Center

The law offices of Virginia M. Stephens, P.C.

The law offices of Virginia M. Stephens, P.C. represents families and individuals from throughout Prince William County and its surrounding areas in all divorce and divorce-related concerns including child custody, property settlements, and spousal and child support.

As your attorney, Virginia M. Stephens brings over 15 years of experience and a strong background and ability as a litigator to her clients' concerns. She also provides the perspective, insight, and presence on your behalf that only a female lawyer can.

The following information is intended to provide you with a broad overview of divorce and its related concerns. For further information or to speak directly with an attorney about a situation that concerns you, contact the law offices of Virginia M. Stephens, P.C. right now.

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Dealing with Divorce

For some, divorce may be liberating and the start of a new beginning. For most, however, it is not so straightforward. The end of a relationship as important as a marriage can be, at times, bittersweet, frightening, exciting and anxiety-provoking. Indeed, recovering from a divorce is similar to the grieving process one experiences when a loved one dies. There are five stages of grief: shock/denial, anger, ambivalence, depression and acceptance/recovery. Not everyone experiences these emotions in the same way or in the same order. You may move in and out of a phase more than once, even experiencing more than one phase at a time. It is a difficult and time-consuming process. Family counselors advise that it may take as long as one or two years to fully recover from the end of a marriage, particularly a long-term one.

Understanding the process and the feelings you may experience as you go through it will help you to fully grieve the loss of your relationship. It is important to allow yourself the time you need to recover from the traumatic experience of ending a marriage so that you can then move on to the next phase of your life. An experienced family law attorney from Virginia M. Stephens in Woodbridge, VA, can provide invaluable advice and support throughout the divorce process.

Shock and denial

When it finally becomes clear — through legal action or other confirmation — that your marriage is ending, you may experience shock and denial. The enormity of what is happening may create feelings of anxiety and panic. A typical way to deal with the extreme emotions is to deny the reality of what is happening. There is comfort in the familiar and a sense of security. Denial allows you to protect yourself from the knowledge that life will change dramatically and the feelings of fear associated with that knowledge. Denial can be an effective coping mechanism for a short time, so long as it does not create other problems in your life. That being said, you must eventually come to terms with the truth.

Anger

Feelings of anger characterize the next stage. You may be angry with yourself, your spouse, your parents, your job and everyone else around you. It is a necessary part of the process that can be a useful motivating tool provided it is not acted out in a destructive way. Making the divorce process more adversarial than necessary or fighting about unimportant issues for the sake of "winning" are definitely not useful, however. You should allow yourself the time you need to move through your anger. This will help you begin to let go and put emotional distance between you and your spouse; taking a step back can be extremely beneficial. Eventually, you will begin to think of yourself as one person, rather than one half of a couple. Until you are able to do this, it will be difficult to focus on your own needs and begin to build a new life for yourself.

Ambivalence

The third stage, ambivalence, is what can make couples break up and get back together. Ambivalence tends to be present during most of the grieving process for people who are suffering the end of a marriage. The divorce process takes people on an emotional roller-coaster ride: they can be, at various points, depressed, excited for a new life, angry, disappointed, fearful and wishing things didn't need to change. It is normal to feel out of control and uncertain about the future. You just need to keep moving forward.

Depression

Depression is difficult to experience, but it can help you move beyond the past into your new life. If you allow yourself to experience loneliness and confront your role in the end of the relationship, you may then be ready to let go and move on. Once you have done this, you may be able to stop placing blame on yourself or your spouse for the failure of the marriage and get rid of the feelings of anger or ambivalence you are dealing with. Your self-esteem will begin to grow, and you will be ready for the final stage: acceptance and recovery. It is important to try to maintain your focus, particularly if you have children. Seeing a counselor or therapist is extremely helpful to many at this point in the process.

Recovery and acceptance

Once you reach the recovery stage, you are feeling better about yourself and more hopeful about the future. Your self-esteem may still be shaky, but you are ready to build your new life. The first step is to reestablish your social network. You may maintain the friends you enjoyed with your spouse, but often those relationships are based on the shared interests of the married couples, so you may need to branch out. It could be time to find new people whose company you enjoy and who have similar needs and interests in terms of time and chosen activities or preferences.

Eventually, you will begin to feel like a single person and actually be comfortable as one. This is a time when you can get to know yourself and build a new identity that will guide you in making positive choices for yourself in the future.

Speak to a divorce lawyer

No matter where you are in the divorce process, the less you have to worry about, the better. Leave the legal maneuvering to an experienced family law attorney from Virginia M. Stephens in Woodbridge, VA, who can support you as you navigate the divorce process.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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Office Location

Virginia M. Stephens, P.C.
- Law Offices -
14017 Telegraph Road
Woodbridge, VA 22192
Telephone: (703) 680-9494
Facsimile: (703) 680-9595