Initiating or filing for divorce in San Diego County during the holiday season can be difficult. It is why many do so in January, known as the peak season for divorces. Divorce filings are reported to spike by nearly one-third following the holidays.
Already a stressful time of the year, a divorce can add even more tension within the family – especially if children are involved and expect Mom and Dad to be together for certain traditions.
How are gift budgets handled now, for instance? How is time split with the kids or family gatherings in general on Christmas morning? Which church is attended for Christmas Eve service? And how does everyone cope with these changes?
In addition to the emotional and mental impact of divorce over the holidays, there are several other factors to consider before pulling the plug.
Keeping practicality in mind, the date of a couple’s separation can have a significant impact on their division of property. For instance, if one spouse usually receives a hefty year-end bonus, it may be a good idea to wait and file for divorce after the new year. This is because each spouse’s earnings will remain their property once both parties separate. A delay in filing for divorce may also avoid more unnecessary litigation in the case.
The default rule is the opposite, when all earnings and accumulations earned during marriage are considered community property and divided equally.
Your first priority when moving forward with the decision to divorce during the holiday season is to make your children a priority by keeping the process away from them. They have been anxiously waiting for this most wonderful time of the year, so it is best for everyone to:
Along with these tips, be flexible if children are involved. They want to spend time with both parents over the holidays, so if both spouses are not with them on Christmas Day, one spouse can plan to get together with them on another special day.
Be prepared by deciding together how to discuss the divorce before the topic comes up among friends. Also, be mindful about how much detail to go into around friends because it is safe to say that it will get back to the ex-spouse, which may damage the case.
Once the divorce has been initiated, no matter the time of year, it is critical to gather all essential information and documents so that the divorce attorney can get started on the process faster and without any hiccups.
Once each spouse has gathered all of the essential documents to propel the divorce forward, they should seek counsel with a divorce attorney experienced in evaluating all of the complexities of the case, including financial assets, child custody, and more.
Take the higher road by keeping long-time family traditions, but also keep an open mind by starting new traditions as well. This may mean evolving into making a new traditional holiday meal or baking goodies, or visiting a new holiday attraction without the other spouse. New traditions may also involve spending time separately with the friends both spouses share.
Days during the divorce process may be up and down – especially over the holidays when fond family traditions have morphed into a new future. Embrace those moments of joy, whether that is hearing a beloved Christmas carol or watching a holiday movie, or opening up gifts with friends or family. Do not spend the holidays alone. Support during these times is imperative.
At the same time, understand that it is OK to be sad. It is a natural step in the divorce process. Let young children know that feeling sadness is also a normal part of this transition and that they can talk about it together at any time as everyone adjusts to the new family circumstances.
Even though parents who are divorcing may want to show their love by buying their kids everything on their Christmas wish list (including those expensive items), they need to consider watching their budget since a divorce will affect their future financial picture. Each spouse should only spend what they can afford.
The holidays are stressful enough without adding in a divorce. Spouses should take time for themselves for better physical, mental, and spiritual health by:
Those initiating a divorce during the holiday season should remember that a divorce can represent a fresh start and a new chapter in your life.
There are a few options ex-spouses can coordinate and cooperate on spending the holidays:
If you are going through a divorce during the holiday season, contact an experienced attorney today. Call The Law Offices of Steven M. Bishop at 619-299-9780 or contact us through our online system for a free consultation.
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