Three Phases of Divorce

        Psychological divorce is a multi-year process which begins when one or both mates pick the wrong person to wed, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time. The impacts of divorce on kids and adults occur during three phases:

     1) Cohabiting and years of increasing disillusionments, frustration, dis-trust, disrespect, and ineffective communication between mates. They may try books, classes, retreats, and/or marital therapy to reduce their stresses. This phase ends with one mate moving out and/or calling a lawyer. 

     2) The second divorce phase may include several years of separation, re-conciliation tries, mediations, and legal battles. These battles often amplify spouses' stressors and may add new ones - like major legal expenses.

     3) The last phase of a divorce starts with a legal decree, and may last for many years - until all adults and children affected by the family reorganiza-tion have (a) grieved and reached full mental, psychological, and spiritual acceptance of their many losses; (b) dispelled all significant blame, shame, and guilt associated with "failing;" and (c) genuinely forgiven themselves and each other. Devoted Catholics must also endure a long, stressful annulment process by a church tribunal.

     Partners and supporters who don't understand this multi-year, 3--phase process can greatly underestimate the psychological causes and impacts of divorce, and make unwise new-partner decisions.                 detail