Is It Normal To Feel Stuck During Your Divorce?

Carrie Sue Doxsee, J.D.
4 min readApr 21, 2021

Your journey through divorce- emotions… friend or foe?

Emotions during a divorce can be challenging.

I see this all the time… people shut down during their divorce and can’t move forward, finish their paperwork, or simply get stuck in the sadness or anger of divorce. Divorce is just like going through a death. You probably have heard that but when you are in the middle of it, the words ring true.

First, give yourself a break — it is ok to be emotional. What you don’t want is the sadness to get ahold of you and you can’t shake it. Worse yet, you don’t want the anger to turn into bitterness. It does not matter if you didn’t see this coming or if it is your idea… it is still hard. Your dreams are dying. Things are changing. Your life will not be the same.

I have seen statistics that often people think about divorce for 18 months before they actually file. The problem is that you and your Spouse did not start this journey on the same day. You are in different places in the journey. It is hard for the Parties to find resolution when you are in different places. You can do it. Take your time. Take a deep breath. Believe that it is going to be ok in the end. No matter what happens, you are going to grow. It is up to you choose when you are going to make a turn from looking back to looking forward. There is no time limit on your healing process. You have to choose to change you to something that is joyful and you can look back and be thankful for your journey to become this future self.

Having patience in the process isn’t easy either. You have some control over your new normal, but you may not have control over the legal process. Even the best attorney can’t control your Spouse and their attorney. The legal journey is full of ups and downs… go and stop… and then move at a snail’s pace. Sometimes the end is the slowest part- attorneys going back and forth with the final paperwork. You are so ready to be done, but you want it done right! Don’t get so caught up in having it over that you are willing to give up too much just to be done. It is ok to compromise, it just should not be one-sided. Let your attorney guide you. Take their advice. Make the best decision, but in the end remember that there needs to be an end.

Part of this is about having patience in the process and in what your new normal will look like. Sometimes it is hard to get the Court to give you a date for a temporary hearing. You should anticipate that you are on your own until the final hearing,

  1. You can’t change the health insurance.
  2. You probably won’t be changing the car insurance.
  3. Your cell phone bill will be a pain to separate and there may need to be cooperation of both Parties.
  4. There may be no payment of child support or maintenance without an agreement. Often this is a huge burden on one of the Parties. There are consequences for failure to pay voluntarily, but that does not mean people always do the right thing.
  5. The only thing you might be able to walk out with at separation is your clothing, personal items, and anything that you need for work. This is why you see people choose to ambush their Spouse by taking everything at the time of separation.

Remember, you want to be able to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the case. How do you accomplish integrity during this process? Get some help from a support person or group. Don’t rely on a family member or a good friend as your one and only support person. They kind of get tired of hearing about your divorce way before your healing process ends. If you need a counselor to help you make sense of things, there is no shame in getting the help you need. Find an attorney who you like — because you could be spending a long time in the case with them.

It is ok to let go. I might be an attorney practicing family law, but I went through my own crazy divorce. Sometimes letting go of what you wanted for your life and getting stuck at looking at the failure keeps you from finding the joy and excitement that lies ahead of you. It is up to you to look for your new life. It is up to you to let go of the old one.

So the answer to the original question — “Is it ok to be emotional during your divorce?” — is “Yes”. Take your time to get through the healing process. Do the work necessary to come out a shiny new jewel. You are going to be happy again! It will get better over time. No rush… just take one step at a time.

PS… You don’t have to wait until your divorce is final to start your new and amazing life!