How to Prepare for Divorce While You Wait out the Holidays

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on December 19, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The impermanence of seasons can often remind us of the impermanence of relationships. Whether it's the heightened stress of the holidays straining a marriage or the optimism of a new year that shows unhappy spouses a way out, online searches for divorce attorneys and in-court filings of divorce papers spike following the holiday season.

Divorce is not something to take lightly, however, and even if you've already decided to get a divorce, there may be good reasons to delay that decision and better ways to prepare for a divorce once it comes time to file.

Divorce Season's Greetings

Researchers recently found two seasonal spikes in divorce rates: spring and summer. Peaking divorce filings in the spring can indicate that many people made the decision right before or during the holidays, then took some time to get their ducks in a row before the divorce.

"People tend to face the holidays with rising expectations, despite what disappointments they might have had in years past," claimed associate sociology professor Julie Brines. "They represent periods in the year when there's the anticipation or the opportunity for a new beginning, a new start, something different, a transition into a new period of life. It's like an optimism cycle, in a sense." Even if the decision to divorce may seem impulsive, it could be the result of shifting perspectives around the holiday season.

The Waiting Game

While some relationships, especially those involving domestic violence, need to end immediately, with others there may be good reasons to delay a divorce until after the holidays. Beyond the social pressure of not creating extra drama around family events, you might have some financial reasons -- from holiday or year-end bonuses to tax implications -- to hold off on filing for divorce.

"People don't want to upset the apple cart over the holidays," Alton Abramowitz, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, told Reuters. "And then, because they don't want to spend another damned year with that spouse of theirs, as soon as the holidays are over they pull the plug and file."

Getting Your Divorce Ducks in a Row

If you've already decided to get a divorce, and also decided to hold off until after the holidays, there are still things you can do to prepare for the impending split. Taking care of your kids, your business, and your taxes are just a few -- make sure you take care of yourself as well.

And the best way to get ready for a divorce? Get an experienced divorce attorney.

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