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How to Navigate the Stages of Divorce in NY

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Divorce Lawyer Divorce Attorney, NY

For most people, getting a divorce doesn’t just happen all at once. It’s a process. There are different phases of divorce, from realizing your marriage is ending and going through the legal process, to grieving during and afterwards. Each of these phases can be overwhelming in their own ways but when combined, they create an intimidating big picture. But with the right support and advocacy, you can face the challenges ahead and pursue the best possible outcome for you and your family.

Here are the main stages of dissolving your marriage, what you can expect during each, and how to get qualified legal assistance you can trust during your Long Island, NY divorce.

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The Mental Aspect of Divorce

The very first stage of getting a divorce is the mental one. You may not even know that you’re going through it or be able to pinpoint it. And your spouse might not even notice that anything has changed. This is the point at which you realize that you’re done with your relationship and it’s no longer worth salvaging or putting any effort into saving.

This realization can happen after a significant specific event, or it can arise gradually over time. Sometimes, a strained spouse will come to this realization after they have been working with a therapist, either alone or in marriage counseling, and comes to realize that divorce is their only option. Or, a spouse simply realizes that the end of their relationship is imminent and no amount of counseling is going to change the end result.

In any case, while all divorces are emotional at some point, the Mental Aspect of Divorce is simply an intellectual decision that a relationship between spouses cannot be saved and you will both eventually be happier apart.

Announcing Your Intent to Divorce

The next stage of divorcing is letting your spouse know that you want to end your marriage. If your relationship has been on the rocks for some time, they may be expecting the announcement. But if they’ve been happy in the marriage and think everything is fine, it may come entirely out of the blue for them. If you’re not the one who initiated the divorce, you may feel blindsided by your spouse’s announcement that they want to end the marriage.

This won’t be easy for anyone involved, so take your time and ensure you are making the right decision and you have a good emotional support system to help you in the coming divorce process.

The Separation Phase of Divorce

Once divorce is out in the open and on the table, the process of physically separating begins. This can be a very tricky period, especially if you own a home and have children together. Often, it is assumed that the husband will vacate the premises and leave the wife and children to reside in the home until the divorce is final. This is not always the best solution for the person moving out. While it may be difficult emotionally, it is often critical to protecting your rights and assets that you do not move out until your divorce is final.

The Legal Matters Phase of Divorce

When you and/or your spouse hire an attorney, the legal process of dissolving your marriage starts. You may decide to consult with a lawyer before announcing the divorce to your spouse, or you may want to break the news first and then worry about getting legal advocacy later. No matter what your reasons for divorce, it’s rarely a bad idea to consult an attorney prior to discussing divorce with your spouse.

There are several steps to getting a divorce, and the more assets you own and children you have together, the longer this stage will take. It also takes longer if you and your spouse disagree on how to divide property or who will have custody and visitation of the kids.

The Resolution Phase of Divorce

Finally, once the judge issues a court order or approves your divorce agreement, the resolution stage of your divorce begins. This marks the end of legal and logistical issues between you and your now ex-spouse over your divorce. However, if you have children, it may take a while before everything is fully resolved. You’ll likely have to go through multiple hearings in this case, especially if your spouse is contentious and wants to continue litigation.

The Emotional Divorce Phase

The final stage of your divorce is the emotional one, when you at last put the failed relationship behind you. This can happen early on before, during and/or after the legal process, especially if you’re anxious for the marriage to end. In any event, this is usually the longest stage of the divorce process.

It may be years after your divorce before you reach this point. It generally takes longer to process the grief, frustration, and sadness that comes along with getting a divorce if you weren’t the one to initiate the separation, but even if you were, it’s still an emotional roller coaster. If this is the case for you and you don’t already have a therapist who you can talk to about how you’re feeling, now is the time to consider making an appointment.

You can also look for support groups in your area that are free to attend. Check with local churches, the court, or your divorce lawyer to find meetings on Long Island near you.

Hornberger Verbisky, P.C. is a veteran Long Island divorce law firm that can help you navigate the different stages of ending your marriage. Call today for your free initial consultation at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form on this page to sch

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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