There’s a big difference between personal shame and social stigma, both of which can be concerns in a divorce. In the United States, though, it is common to be divorced. Divorce can be discussed openly -- there is virtually no social stigma – and there are support groups, books and more.

That said, many divorced people experience intense personal shame about a divorce. Often this comes as a sense of failure — many people are divorced, but each individual feels as if it wasn’t supposed to happen to him or her. People who are divorcing have put a lot of effort into saving the marriage, and they may feel that that effort has not come to fruition. It may also come in the form of guilt, on behalf of the children, ex-in-laws or even pets. Divorce is unlike any other personal milestone in the sense of shame that it can attach.  I have found, however, that the sense of shame and embarrassment will lessen and people come to the point of looking forward to beginning a new chapter in their lives.

One great way to lessen the emotional pressures of divorce is to keep it out of court. Collaborative divorce, mediation and no-court divorce are all options to help stop a drawn-out legal proceeding. Divorce with respect, through a collaborative process, almost always benefits both parties in assets and emotionally.