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Emotions challenge sense during New York divorce

While U.S. divorces are common, feelings associated with them can seem unique and isolating. People who have been through marital dissolution in the past also experience a mixed bag of emotions during divorce.

New York residents might have expected stress levels to drop after the adoption of no-fault divorce laws in 2010. Accusations of cruelty, abandonment or adultery were replaced by irretrievable marital breakdowns. Blame became unnecessary. Fault divorces remain available for spouses who wish to pursue them.

Many divorcing spouses noticed that fault-free divorce streamlined the legal process but could not erase difficult emotions. Sorrow, hurt and anger are frequent accompaniments to divorce for one or both spouses.

As most matrimonial attorneys suggest, unchecked emotions are a spouse's worst enemy during divorce negotiations. Therapists and lawyers don't want spouses to deny what they feel, but they do want clients to realize the potential consequences of choices made solely based on short-term feelings.

Spouses can engage in foolish, harmful, self-destructive and sometimes illegal behaviors while wrapped up in emotions.

An ex-spouse who believes the marriage can be resurrected - even after every effort to save it failed - may try to drag out a divorce in hopes of reconciliation. Some spouses over-communicate with an ex through a non-stop flow of messages or phone calls that can evolve into a harassment charge.

Ex-spouses sometimes take out frustrations by trying to manipulate child custody arrangements. Other parents unfairly leak spousal jabs into conversations with children, who already may feel obligated to take sides.

Substance abuse and entering new relationships during, or immediately after, divorce are ill advised. Acting out through wild behavior numbs pain but the effect is temporary. Damage can be long-term.

Emotional support during divorce can be found through friends or family members. Therapists help ex-spouses process feelings and move forward. Attorneys offer guidance for spouse's whose emotions may adversely affect critical divorce decisions, like asset division.

Source:, "The 5 Worst Mistakes We Make During A Divorce," Dr. Jeff Gardere, Feb. 18, 2013

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