Six Stages of Divorce Make Recovery Tough

Divorce recovery seems long climb up a steep hill because divorce itself dislocates so many fundaments of life. Anthropologist Paul Bohannan describes the divorce as “an intense journey that includes six different experiences with various different phases.”  They are:

  1. the emotional divorce, which happens privately when the marriage deteriorates and loses shared thoughts and feelings;
  2. the legal divorce, which happens in public when the parties separate and agree to end it;
  3. the economic divorce, which divides the money and property;
  4. the co-parental divorce, which deals with custody and visitation rights;
  5. the community divorce, which happens when the outside world accepts the change in social groups, friendships, and community relationships as a result of the breakup, and
  6. the psychological divorce, where the two former spouses become individuals working towards being single again and regaining individual autonomy.

A divorcing couple normally moves from the emotional divorce and then the other steps – the legal divorce, then the economic and co-parental divorces, followed by the community and psychological divorces. However, it is easy to seek that problems in one divorce – for example (and commonly), the economic divorce – spill out in the other divorces. In many marital breakups, each of these divorces is in motion, to one degree or another, during the divorce process, and each has an impact on the so-called divorce recovery.

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