‘Divorce Month’ – Considerations around the holidays

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January is often referred to in legal circles as ‘divorce-month’, as overall, it’s the most common month for people to initiate divorce proceedings. Often, this is a purposefully planned time, in order to ‘get through the holidays’, usually so you aren’t disrupting family, kids, and loved ones with your marriage decision. Sometimes, the stresses of the holiday season can even be the tipping point for your choice.

If you and your spouse have chosen to wait through the holidays before filing for divorce, it can make the upcoming season even more stressful than before. Make sure to take steps to make the best of the season.

Have an Agreement: If you have already talked about putting off filing until January, make sure to lay some ground rules for the upcoming holidays. Don’t argue in front of your kids or family, no verbal jabs, make sure you aren’t hinting at the upcoming divorce, and don’t avoid the very traditions that you are both trying to defend.

One option is to take the opportunity to begin a new tradition with your kids or other family members. This way, there can be a continuity between holiday seasons, even if other aspects will change. Step outside your ‘routine’ and make something memorable for your children, one they can fondly associate with just one parent.

Don’t Forget Yourself: If the decision has been made, it can be a perfect time to start taking care of your own mental state. Be sure to set aside some alone time for your own well-being. Taking some personal time, even a few hours at a time, can reduce your stress, and make the upcoming holidays less tense. Putting yourself in a positive mood can even benefit the household at large, ensuring a smoother holiday season.

Don’t Put Everything on Hold: There are lots of behind the scenes activities that need to occur before you choose to file for divorce. January may be the time to officially start the process, but you can use the time before to begin the preparations. Start gathering the records you’ll need; financial papers and lists of expenses, and start planing living arrangements if your residence will be changing. Be thinking about how you want to handle asset division, and custody arrangements, etc. Having these things at least ‘in-progress’ will make the start of the new year a much more productive and positive time.