Getting a Divorce

Getting a Divorce

Getting a divorce is one of the hardest things most people ever have to do. There’s a reason why it takes some people so long to make the decision to go through with it. Often, either party has spent months or even years painstakingly considering all of the ways divorce would affect their family and eventually mourning the loss of the marriage. In the end however, it is usually the best decision for everyone involved.

Article Written By Jessica H. Ressler. All Rights Reserved

The first step to undergo after making the decision to divorce is to organize your financials. Put together a list of your current assets and liabilities; take stock of those items you simply can’t live without and those you can; review what luxuries you can’t afford anymore and what debt you want to clear. Compile everything, down to the Amazon Prime orders and streaming subscriptions you forgot about and keep records of all of your statements. Statements of Net Worth are put together and exchanged by both sides and the earlier you start putting your details together the less overwhelming it’ll feel. Also, coming to terms with your economic situation will inevitably put you on a better path towards peace of mind throughout the divorce process and more importantly, when it is over.

Another item that should be top priority is the terms of your divorce. Have you discussed it with your spouse? Are you in agreement? Will it be contentious? Are there joint assets to divide? Who will keep the Netflix account? If you have children, have you broached the subject of custody? Is your spouse flexible when it comes to visitation? Can your spouse afford child support? Can you? All of these questions are considered as part of the terms of your divorce. While not all may apply, some will and you should be prepared to answer them; or at the very least, be able to discuss them with your spouse.

While you are gathering your financial information and trying to answer as many questions as possible, the most important thing to remember throughout this process is to breathe. That’s easier said than done, but you have to try and remember that getting a divorce is never an easy thing. No matter how ready you feel or how determined you are to move on, there are feelings that will inevitably find their way to the surface sometimes. Feeling guilty is more common than you may think, whether or not there are children involved. Oftentimes, your brain may understand that getting a divorce is what’s best, but your heart may feel differently.

Feeling like you are abandoning your spouse or are being abandoned by them is also normal, as is a sense of loss. Allowing yourself the space to accept your emotions and really feel them is the healthiest way to process them. A divorce is the ending of something, and it is perfectly normal to grieve that ending. But it can also be the beginning of something. So, while you should give yourself the opportunity to be sad that it’s over, you should also remember that this will be a new chapter in your life.

Because no two marriages or families are alike, there is no set standard for divorcing. Yes, there are certain forms and legal rules that apply to every New York divorce, of course. However, just because your neighbor’s divorce was amicable and simple does not mean yours will be; and just because someone else’s divorce was a long, dragged out battle doesn’t mean yours has to be, too. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to this process, and that’s okay. Your unique circumstances are your own.

As any attorney can tell you, an acrimonious divorce can be expensive and lengthy. And while you can’t control your spouse’s actions or reactions, you can control yours. Keeping your cool and remaining civil is the best way to make sure that the process is as productive as possible. Ignore the temptation to tumble down the “what-if” rabbit hole. Instead of dwelling on what could be or what might happen, focus on what is happening. And above all else, remember to embrace your feelings without letting them overwhelm you. Give yourself the freedom to live with the emotions you’re feeling right now; but just make sure you don’t let them move in permanently.

About The Author


Jessica H Ressler

Jessica H. Ressler has been practicing exclusively matrimonial and family law for the past seventeen years in New York. She is a member in good standing of the Westchester County Bar Association, the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, the New York Women’s Bar Association, the New York City Bar, the New York County Lawyer’s Association, the New York State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, and the Justice Brandeis Westchester Law Society.

She is also a Certified Financial Litigator with the AACFL and is featured in Super Lawyers in 2018-2020. She is a partner in the firm of Ressler & Associates in Westchester County. She is a member of the panel of attorneys for children in Westchester and Putnam Counties.