1Divorce is a process of separation and transformation – a process that begins long before the dissolution decree. Its stages – cognitive, emotional, physical, legal, and spiritual – if worked through, can substantially lessen your pain. The reason for “Divorce Court” melodrama is because couples are trying to make the legal separation while they haven’t separated emotionally, though they may be physically apart. The emotional separation, discussed last, is the cornerstone for transformation.
The cognitive separation is not so much a decision to divorce, as it is a setting of intention. It usually long precedes the actual decision, as well as the emotional and physical separation. Generally, people set goals or a course of intent, before they are emotionally and physically ready to carry them out, such as a job change, a move, or even getting out of bed in the morning.
This intent sets the keel in a direction for events to follow. An example of this intent might be when a spouse is no longer interested in conjoint therapy to improve the marriage. The cognitive separation may seem relatively painless, but it usually follows a long period of frustration and unhappiness. This intent may not be expressed, or even consciously acknowledged. Some protest that they never wanted a divorce, blaming it on their spouse, all the while passively precipitating or allowing the marital break-up, and provoking or permitting their spouse to carry it out. In other cases, spouses may each silently come to their moment of resolve, only to hear the words uttered by their partner. The open acknowledgment of this intention and the individual’s and/or couple’s decision to divorce, mark the beginning of the physical and legal process of separation.