With the holidays coming up, you’re likely seeing images of happy families and couples enjoying family time together. But what if your own reality isn’t quite as happy?
Julie Brines, an associate sociology professor at the University of Washington, analyzed divorce filings in the state of Washington between 2001 and 2015 with the help of doctoral candidate Brian Serafini. The results, presented this year at the American Sociological Association, showed divorce filings actually peak consistently in both March and August.
The reason may actually be tied to the holidays, which can “represent an opportunity to test things out one last time,” Brines told TODAY, as couples look forward to a key moment of reconciliation as their families come together.
But, when their efforts don’t live up to expectations, couples may take a couple of months to organize their finances and prepare their families before officially filing. Brines calls this the “broken promise” explanation of her findings. (TODAY)
So, how can you get through the holiday season knowing that a divorce might be on the horizon in the New Year?
Come up with a game plan
If you and your spouse are on the same page about splitting, it might be worth having a conversation about holiday expectations before extended family arrives. Create some boundaries that allow you both to spend the season with minimal discomfort.
If divorce is something that is on your mind and you’re feeling like it’s not currently something your spouse is considering, your game plan might be to start the process of finding a CDFA® and divorce attorney or mediator. This will likely make you feel like you’re making progress while you get through the holiday season.
Consider Finding a Mental Health Outlet
Divorce is hard for everyone – even if what you envision on the other side is a happier life. Holiday stress can compound the problem. Working with a mental health professional will allow you to have an outlet as you process what’s happening.
HuffPost also adds, “Get beyond the guilt. For most people, coming to grips with their desire to move on from their marriage is guilt-inducing, whether deserved or not. Work to understand the reasons for your guilt. If it's born out of your behaviors, then take the time to make amends and modify those behaviors. But if it's simply tied to the time of year, move on. You don't owe the calendar anything. You have the right to feel the way you feel, no matter the time of year.”
Work with a Financial Professional
I’m just going to say the ugly truth: the holidays are expensive. Add to that an impending divorce and things can get stressful quickly.
Beyond talking to a CDFA®, working with a financial planner can also help you know where you are. They might be able to help you work through a doable budget for the holidays knowing that divorce expenses could be around the corner. There is power in knowledge; knowing where you are financially can help you plan for upcoming changes and a solid future.
If divorce is something you’re considering as we enter the holiday season, my heart goes out to you. I know that this is not how you want to spend the most magical time of the year. I hope you are able to implement some self-care practices and that you remember there are many professionals and resources out there who will work with you to create the best outcome.