Divorce: #2 Most Stressful Life Event

Some researchers suggest that the loss of a spouse is the most stressful life event. Next on the list – divorce.

Other stressors are: moving, major illness and job loss. Unfortunately, divorce is often accompanied by other stressors:  

1.Moving –    For many couples, the family home is the most significant ‘family asset’ and upon a division of assets, one spouse may choose to ‘buyout’ the other spouse, leaving the latter to seek accommodation elsewhere.  

For some families, the expense of the mortgage and other household-related costs is not manageable by one spouse alone, and neither spouse is able to stay in the family home, resulting in a double-relocation.  

In some scenarios, one spouse may decide that a good place for a fresh-start is in a new home.  

It is very rare to find couples who, despite separation and even a divorce, remain under one roof, and neither has to endure the trouble of a move.  

2.Major Illness –   While the process of separation and divorce may not actually cause illness, many people find themselves under so much stress during this time of transition, that they may become depressed, increase their chance for heart disease, suffer from anxiety disorders, and so on.  

Some medical experts have even suggested that because stress decreases the body’s ability to fight disease, an individual dealing with enormous stress may lose his or her ability to kill cancer cells. (  

It is not uncommon to find spouses who already suffer from poor health become even more disabled by their illness, as a result of the legal proceeding.    

3.Job Loss –   Some parties become so fixated on the process of separation and / or divorce, that they are unable to focus on much else. With some much attention aimed on the restructuring of their lives, they are no longer able to focus on their job.

For some, the high level of conflict may necessitate many missed days of work due to meetings with lawyers, financial advisors, court dates and so on.  

As a single parent, the parenting time schedule may necessitate a change in work hours, and not all employers are willing to accommodate such changes resulting in dismissal or a mutual decision to change employment.   Although it is advisable to maintain as much stability in life, sometimes such matters are beyond our control.

Perhaps the most important lesson is in learning how deal with the stressor so that its affect on our physical and mental wellbeing is minimized.