People who decide to get divorced during the holidays may be wrestling with their decision, but they are not the only ones doing so. When your marriage is struggling, it is common to evaluate the future during the holidays. Divorce attorneys often see a rise in filings at certain times of the year like after the holidays or just before the back-to-school period.
So why do people decide to get divorced after the holidays? Everyone’s situation is different, but the following are some common reasons:
- Being hopeful — Some parents want to make the holidays positive for their kids. No one wants their kids to have a holiday season marked by the stress of an impending divorce. They want to keep up appearances for their family and friends as well. They know that all eyes will be on them during the festivities, and only one parent showing up can be viewed negatively.
- The added stress –We all know that the holidays can be a very strenuous time for families. There is the added financial pressure of having to get the perfect gift for your kids or spouse, spending time with extended family, loss, or reminder of death. For a family already on the rocks, they may be pushed over the edge by the intensity of the holidays.
- Tax reasons — If you end up divorcing prior to January 1st, say December 30th, you face a monetary penalty for filing separately.
- Pre and post nuptial reasons — Many pre or post nuptial agreements have 3-, 5-, or 10-year agreements, so many folks will make the decision to get divorced right before the new year so that their alimony does not go to the next level.
- Resolutions — People view the new year as a fresh start and a time for resolutions, so they may “hold out” until then to see if there is any chance at reviving the relationship. People tend to really take control over their lives at the beginning of the new year, and that may include dumping their spouse.
- Divorce is costly!! The holidays can already drain your wallet with gifts, travel expenses, the tree, food costs, etc. Divorce can only add to the holiday expense list; between lawyer and attorney fees, fees to file and serve the divorce proceedings, new living expenses if you move out of the family home, and therapists or mediators for you or your children, you may find yourself somewhat overwhelmed.
- You could be creating an unnecessary anniversary for your children… No one wants the Yule times to be associated with the stress and pain of a divorce. You run the risk of doing that if you get divorced around this time.
- Who wants to deal with all the questions you might get about a divorce while around the family table? No one wants to deal with Uncle Glenn or Aunt Shirley asking invasive questions about your divorce while opening presents or while sharing food around the family table. Getting divorced post holidays can help avoid a very awkward time.
- Alcohol. Sometimes alcoholism can pop up during the holidays as it is a stressful time and people may lean toward the bottle for some liquid relief. Those with an alcohol problem may end up getting rowdy or embarrass their spouse during festivities. No one likes to deal with a spouse who is making a scene after too many White Russians and being inappropriate with guests or colleagues at a holiday party.
- Fear of Change / The Unknown – Divorce means change, family routines, friendships and more. It is difficult to face the unknowns that come with divorce around the holidays and some people just want to wait till January.
Long story short, life is too short for many people not to get a divorce – despite the holidays. Meeting with a lawyer right before the Holidays for some divorce planning is always a good idea, but holding out until the New Year allows the divorce process to happen more privately, away from the prying eyes of family and friends. It can also bring tax benefits and be a way of relieving stress on the kids. There is no wrong time to decide to divorce, but for the reasons listed above (and more), the attorneys at Amaral & Associates P.C. can assist you with the process and can help you figure out the best path forward. Please contact us today for a consultation.