Accepting your divorce, the settlement and your new life 

It's common for one spouse to rebound quicker with significantly less emotional tie-downs following divorce.  Often this may be the spouse who was awarded a better settlement/judgement and/or was the one who initiated the divorce.

This can provoke a great sense of blame and anger towards that spouse.  These feelings have a cyclical pattern that are like emotional quicksand.  The more anger and blame, the more you grow attached to this stage of your emotional trek. 

It makes it more difficult to "start over" as your negative feelings become a part of your everyday life.  Most times, the negativity is less noticeable to you as it is to those around you.  They may distance themselves or avoid you based on your present state-of-mind and attitude. 

Accept the divorce

To let go and accept your new life, you must first accept your divorce.  Generally, there are seven emotional stages you will experience during a divorce.  They begin with shock, denial, anger and blame.  Feelings of resentment may continue through the end of your marriage.  Many also experience depression and grief.  Your ability to cope with these emotions will vary based on your own personal situation and support system.  Many people do not get through all of the stages of divorce at their marriage's conclusion.  It usually takes many months or years following divorce to reach the most liberating stages, letting go and acceptance in order to move forward.

These final stages are very difficult to reach without some emotional bruising and self-esteem damage.  Since everyone experiences divorce in his/her own way, it isn't uncommon for friends and loved ones to expect you to just "get-it together". 

While it's important not to get stuck too long in one particular stage, it doesn't help to feel the pressure from friends and family to let go before you're capable of doing so.  It's a personal and complicated journey and in some cases, you may need to distance yourself from those who do not support you during this difficult stage following your divorce. 

However, don't push people away who are genuinely concerned for you.  Rather take an active role in improving your life, letting go and moving forward while surrounding yourself with those who can provide patience, support and positive reinforcement.   

Work through your feelings

Some individuals fail to recognize or process their emotions following divorce.  They may not realize how it has affected them or their family.  The added pressure they put on themselves to ignore their feelings can lead to more denial, erratic behavior or mood swings.  All can lead to bad or dangerous habits and/or poor lifestyle changes. 

Simply put, don't let your feelings control your life.  Deal with them constructively so that you can let go of the pain from your failed marriage, achieve personal happiness and accept your new life without your spouse.  It's important to keep positive activities in your life in order to fight the difficult issues that spur negative emotions.  

Accept your settlement/judgement

If you can't, here are a couple options...

Posttrial Motions

There may be an opportunity to file a posttrial motion within a certain period of time after the judgement has been entered to request things like an amendment to the judgement or a new trial.  Based on the laws of your state, it's important to discuss doing so immediately after the judgement has been entered since there is a limited window of time during which the trial court retains control of the judgement.


In most states there is a limited time period after the judgement becomes final (anywhere between 10-90 days - state specific) to appeal.  Seek the advice of a local attorney regarding the reason for your appeal (e.g., the court made an error when applying the law to your case or there's new evidence).

It’s extremely difficult to win an appeal of a divorce judgement that’s been fully executed by you and your former spouse and approved by the court.  This is especially true if the terms were established in a settlement agreement between you and your spouse.


An appeal is not the same as a modification.   A modification may be necessary, based on material changes following your divorce and/or in the best interest of the child(ren) (e.g., loss of a job, moving for employment, health problems).  To initiate the process, usually a petition for modification is filed in the same court where your decree was established. You should speak with a legal professional for guidance.

When both spouses agree on the changes and reasonable time has passed, the modification can usually be established.  However, a judge must still approve it. Generally, the only things that are modified are child or spousal support and/or child custody/visitation, not division of marital property/debts.   Some exceptions may be made (e.g., both parties are in agreement to modify those terms, the decree includes the possibility of modification of those terms), but a judge must still approve the request.

If you and your former spouse are not in agreement, then the process is far more costly and complicated.   In some cases, the costs to pursue a modification exceed the benefit (based on probability of success) that would negate the potential support increase and/or other changes sought.  

Let go

If too much time has passed to file a posttrial motion and/or appeal, there has been no wrongdoing to justify such an appeal and no changes have taken place that would warrant a modification, accepting the judgement as it is, in order to decrease its negative affect on your life, is essential. 

There are many ways to do so.  They all start with letting go.   Whatever it is that you feel you have lost, it’s gone.  Set it free and you'll be free.  It’s one of the most emotionally rewarding moments in your life when you demonstrate the strength and desire to free yourself from such a negative, emotional burden.

If you can’t do this, it may help to speak with a legal professional who can quickly determine if your on-going concerns are worth the frustration.  Sometimes, it helps to have a professional actually tell you the potential reward is not worth the agony and/or you have no case to pursue.  

Many attorneys offer a low cost or free consultation.  It may be the finality you have lacked since your divorce finalized.  If you don’t take the legal steps to satisfy your concerns of injustice, then all you’re doing is using your divorce as an excuse for bitterness, knowing you don’t really believe such injustice even warrants your time or money to pursue.

Accept your new life

This is the acceptance of something unknown.  Your future.  It is filled with good times, a few wrong turns and many new opportunities.  The downside is that it doesn't really start until you free yourself of the emotional baggage you have been carrying around.  You can pretend you're okay while still harboring all the pain, hurt, anger and blame.  But this baggage will just pull you down and in the wrong direction for a new start.   Any losses you have incurred will be worsened by additional loss of time, money and happiness.

Accept life as it is now and try not to compare it to what it was when you were married with more family time or assets.  Divorce is a loss that provides the opportunity to gain a better life for you and each member of your family.  It isn't easy.  It doesn't happen overnight and it leaves some emotional scars that may never completely heal.  But don't let that hold you back.  You will acquire many scars in your lifetime that provide you emotional maturity, empathy and strength.  How you overcome such setbacks is what makes the difference.