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Your Guide to an Emotionally Intelligent Divorce in NY

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Divorce Lawyer Divorce Attorney, NY

There’s no doubt that divorce is an emotionally charged event, no matter what side of the fence you’re on. Whether you’re the one initiating the divorce, or you were caught blindsided by your spouse’s divorce request, or even if you mutually agree that the divorce is the best course forward, it’s always an emotional event to recognize that what you once thought would be forever is going to end. No matter how long you have been together it can be difficult to imagine the rest of your life without the other person in it, even if you want it that way. For all the practical matters of divorce that have to be resolved, it is extremely difficult to take the emotions out of the equation.

But the fact of the matter is, there are some very important practical matters that have to be dealt with and the more emotional you or your spouse are, the less rational you become and this can definitely hurt you in the long run as you deal with the practical matters of divorce. It is seriously in your best interests to aim for an “emotionally intelligent” Long Island, NY divorce. Here’s what that means and how you can get there.

What Is an Emotionally Intelligent Divorce?

Emotional intelligence is a term that refers to a person’s ability to recognize their own emotions and express them in healthy ways. People who are emotionally intelligent have an abundance of empathy and are able to navigate relationships with other people more easily.

Instead of an angry, contentious, or jealous divorce, an emotionally intelligent one aims to resolve the dissolution of marriage with rational, well-thought out actions. Negative emotions are well-regulated in this type of divorce and both spouses are usually committed to processing their feelings with a therapist instead of taking it out on each other throughout the divorce process.

Components Of an Emotionally Intelligent Divorce

When your divorce goes smoothly, everyone benefits – especially your kids, if you have them. An emotionally intelligent separation allows you to work toward solutions that are in everyone’s best interests and helps keep exhausting fighting and expensive litigation to a minimum. Here are some of the main components of an emotionally intelligent divorce:

Emotional Awareness

Emotional awareness is the ability to understand and name your own emotions. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a skill people are born with – it has to be learned. If you struggle to describe how you feel or to put words to what you’re experiencing emotionally, you may need more help developing this awareness. An experienced therapist can help you process and express your feelings during this traumatic time


Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions of other people and appreciate the position they’re in or what they might be going through. For some people, their sense of empathy is innately very strong. For others, it too is a skill that needs to be developed.

In an emotionally intelligent divorce, both spouses are able to go beyond their own feelings about the separation and empathize with the other. This allows them to better explore resolutions that benefit everyone and to release feelings of vindictiveness and revenge. If you can understand and express what your partner may be feeling, you are in a better position to work with them to resolve your differences in a mutually beneficial way.

Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation is a core aspect of emotional intelligence in every context, especially when it comes to divorce. Even though child custody, property division or alimony disagreements may make you feel enraged or distraught, good emotional intelligence allows you to better process and regulate those emotions without lashing out at your spouse in an effort to hurt them. Lashing out will likely only put your spouse on the defensive, make them dig in their heels and escalate your disagreements.

For example, if you’re angry at your ex for having a new partner, you could go to the gym or out for a run to give you some physical relief from the adrenaline. What you shouldn’t do is try to get back at them by using mechanisms of your divorce, like being late to pick up your kids for visitation to inconvenience your ex.

Rational Actions

When a divorce is emotionally intelligent, the actions of both spouses are rational and well thought out. Neither is out to cause damage to the other and both are comfortable taking enough time to work through whatever feelings they have about a situation before making a decision.

Dissolving a marriage is a difficult process and the choices you make now can impact you and your family members for many years after the divorce agreement is signed. It’s imperative that your decisions are logical and aren’t made from a place of hurt, jealousy, or anger.

While considering and processing those feelings is important, you don’t want to act on them when you’re in an emotional state. Instead, choices are made based on observable fact and what’s best for all the people involved.

How To Get an Emotionally Intelligent Long Island, NY Divorce

The first step to creating an environment where you can have an emotionally intelligent divorce is contacting a qualified and experienced Long Island, NY divorce attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the complexities of New York family law and will guide you through the process step by step, so you can reach the most beneficial resolution for the least amount of time, expense and hassle.

Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today to learn how to protect your family’s best interests throughout the divorce process by calling 631-923-1910 or filling out the short form on this page. Our team will schedule your free initial consultation and case evaluation where you can get answers to your important legal questions to help you move forward.

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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
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
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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