Having survived yet another holiday season “holding it together for the kids,” many couples reach their breaking point. The statistics overwhelmingly show that January 1 is met with a spike in divorce filings. After the tree lights come down, my phone lights up. While the holidays have a special magic that no one wants to disturb, know that those of you contemplating divorce right now are not alone. And you can make it!
Aside from being a divorce lawyer, I understand this waiting game in a personal way. I was once like you: waiting for that one last trip (because we already paid for the tickets and everyone would be disappointed if we cancelled); waiting for that year-end bonus to hit; wanting to have some holiday magic and waiting to see if things would get better.
This time of year, not only are you being confronted by the stress of the holidays – travel, party obligations, gifts and forced merriment – but you are also holding on to a divorce grenade.
So, as the holidays approach and you wait for that fight about how much to spend on gifts or whose family you should visit first, know that you aren’t alone. Know that you are like many, stuck in the holiday-induced “divorce closet,” just trying to wait for the right timing.
Some things to focus on in-between forced family gatherings and faked merriment:
- Be aware that your guilt — from knowing that you are waiting to drop the D-bomb in January — might lead you to make promises you can’t keep or buy lavish gifts that may run up credit cards and land you with more marital items to fight over.
- Avoid fights, after all, you are holding back to make this holiday special, so keep the bickering and arguments to a minimum. Otherwise, what’s the point?
- Gather your financial paperwork: tax returns, paycheck stubs, billing statements. These are documents that will help in your divorce case. Also consider how you will handle the coming year’s income taxes.
- Cut yourself some slack, the holidays are stressful and so is divorce. Don’t commit to making the school cupcakes this year and pass on a few of those parties.
Are you waiting until after the holidays to have a divorce conversation? Are you a holiday hold-out survivor? Got any tips – share them in the comments.