The grief felt during and after divorce is often compared to that of bereavement and is said to follow the same pattern, known as the seven stages of separation. We have helped many, many people through this transition. They found it helpful to understand what can happen at each stage and that what they are experiencing is normal.


Denial is a natural and understandable first reaction when you are facing the end of your relationship. Particularly if it is not your decision to separate. It is a defence mechanism that many people use to hide feelings of separation anxiety. No matter how much advice and encouragement you receive from friends and family, you may need some time to be able to acknowledge the reality of your situation. But be mindful that you do not get stuck in this stage for too long.

Not all our clients feel like this and for some people, the decision to go your separate ways will have been a long time coming.

Pain and Fear

When reality does start to sink in, the fear of what lies ahead can be overwhelming. You may have connected a lot of your identity with your partner and this can cause an identity crisis. We are particularly mindful of this stage when supporting clients because the emotions felt now can easily throw you off course. We will help you regain control.


Relationships end for a multitude of reasons and rarely because of one thing. You may wish you had said or done things differently although it is unlikely to have made a difference. We will help you focus on planning for the future you deserve.


No matter how much you try not to point the finger at any one incident or behaviour, most people go through a period of needing to find something or someone to blame.  We’ll encourage you to prevent these feelings of anger from affecting your relationships with those around you. You may also find it helpful to speak to a counsellor or coach and we can put you in touch with local professionals who can help.


At this stage many people we help want to give in and agree to anything to get it over. This could result in you agreeing to something you may later wish you hadn’t. As the point of no return draws ever closer, you will wish you could turn back the clocks to happier times. Be careful what you promise, in the hope of changing your spouse’s mind. If you feel vulnerable, we are on hand to take the lead in negotiations to ensure you can financially provide for your future and that you get what is fair.


The stress you are under during the divorce process will make you feel very low at times. Difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, fatigue and anxiety are all common symptoms of the toll a separation takes on your body and mind. Be aware of this and seek help from your GP if the feelings persist. Many people need support from their GP at some point in the process.


Our clients are always surprised to find that the emotional turmoil eventually settles down. At times as they navigate the huge changes and strong feelings of loss and rejection it can seem never ending. Throughout your divorce we will have been helping you focus on your future and this is the moment when you can look forward with confidence and hope again.

At Harrogate Family Law we help with technicalities of divorce and so much more. We’ll be with you through every stage to support, encourage and provide expert advice to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. To make sure you have Harrogate Family Law on your side call 01423 594 680.  

Carol Jessop is an experienced family lawyer specialising in finding practical solutions to resolve complex financial arrangements, protecting assets and obtaining emergency orders to provide personal protection or prevent the removal of children.

Carol has over 30 years’ experience in family law and is recognised by her clients and peers as highly knowledgeable and compassionate.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon.  If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing