3 Phases Of Every Divorce: An Empowered Perspective

Any life change, including divorce, can be incredibly difficult even under the best of circumstances. Because divorce tends to be full of conflict and challenging choices, it is a journey that many people get lost in. They can’t see the forest for the trees; they can’t look past the short-term problems that are making their lives so hard in order to lay a stronger, long-term foundation for their future, so they focus on those short-term problems. The issue with that is that it leaves those people to the mercy of their circumstances. 

There’s a better way! It involves taking control of your circumstances, rather than letting them control you - both during your divorce and for the rest of your life. When you look at divorce through this lens, it’s empowering. 

Being empowered in divorce starts with knowing what to expect. Here are three phases of every divorce that you can approach differently if you have an empowered perspective! 


During the Decision phase, you need to decide what you want the outcome of your divorce to look like (or even if you want to get divorced at all). This is the phase where you make the best possible decisions for yourself and your family based on your desires and what you want their future to be!

You will decide:

  • If the status quo of your marriage is tolerable, or if something needs to change
  • If the benefits of splitting from your spouse outweigh the risks
  • If you can put the divorce off, or if it needs to happen quickly
  • How you want your possessions to be divided
  • How you want to spend your days, and who you want to spend them with
  • What will your children’s lives look like during and after the divorce
  • And more. 

Sometimes, these choices are easy to make or have already been made for you (like if you’ve been served with divorce papers). However, many times in divorce, you may feel paralyzed by decisions in front of you because you don’t know what the consequences of those decisions will be. Working with professionals (counselors, attorneys, divorce coaches, etc.) who can help you feel “unstuck” may be a productive way to make more confident decisions during this stage of divorce! You should always make any decision in divorce with your end goal in mind. 


After you’ve made decisions, it’s time to implement them - this is the Transition phase. You are moving from where you are to where you want to be, and making change happen! 

Most of the time with divorce, this will involve the legal process in some capacity, but it won’t look like going to court and engaging with the system without a well-thought plan in place (which can be expensive and time-consuming); and sometimes, it won’t look like going to court at all. It doesn’t have to be a battle! Essentially, this phase should be reverse engineering a path to the decisions you already made about what you want your life to be like, or working backwards. This can involve mediation. It can involve the help of experienced attorneys. It will involve adjusting your steps towards your vision, as divorce is never entirely predictable, but taking those steps anyway and celebrating your progress along the way! 


When most aspects of your divorce have been resolved, you move into a state of Equilibrium, at least for the time being. This is the stage of divorce where you are not in a state of active conflict, and matters have at least reached a point where you’re not waiting for the next thing. You can “breathe” and focus on something other than the end of your marriage. You can work on yourself, on your relationship with your kids, on your career. 

Now, decisions related to your divorce may pop back up again. For example, you may get promoted, and the amount of alimony or child support that you pay or that your ex-spouse pays may change; you or your ex-spouse may move, and spending time with your children will look different. But when changes happen, that will in a sense take you right back to the Decision phase, it will be okay because you will know how to handle choices better now that you’ve been through all of the phrases of divorce! 

Traditional Divorce Vs. Empowered Divorce

Sometimes, a person’s view of divorce starts and ends with the legal system. However, that perspective is not only limiting, but can actually be damaging to your well-being and your family’s peace. Many people have found that when they start with lawyers in court as a first resort, there is less open communication, more fighting, and more legal fees. When all is said and done, instead of feeling satisfied, nobody feels like they “won” and people aren’t sure what to do next. 

That’s why, if you are contemplating or facing divorce and you are searching for attorneys to represent you, you need to know what you want before you wade into legal waters; start divorce with the Decision phase! The right law firm may be able to help you with this. 

Call New Leaf Family 

At New Leaf Family, we do one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops to help our clients navigate each of the phases of divorce and empower them along the way. Our goal is to lead you each step of the way from the journey of where you are to the destination of where you want to be! We are trained as attorneys, coaches, and counselors, and have connections to a large network of realtors, auto mechanics, financial advisors, and others who may be helpful to you during this hard time. We have resources and plans to help you during the Decision, Transition, and Equilibrium phases of divorce!

We get that any life change, especially divorce, can be scary and overwhelming. We’ll help you to see this as a beginning - the turning over of your New Leaf!