January is often the month couples choose to progress a divorce. If you feel you are in this situation it is essential, for the sake of your family, that you work out how best to get through Christmas before separating in January.
For some couples, Christmas is the reason they decide to separate. Certain arguments may have reached the surface. There may have been fallings out with relatives. Your relationship may have been impacted by increased financial pressures. For others, it may be that discussions around separation have been ongoing throughout the year and have chosen the New Year as a natural full stop for the marriage.
Regardless of the reasons for the separation, it is essential you try to get through Christmas with the minimum of upset for your children and extended family.
Tips to help you get through Christmas if you plan to separate January
If you have not yet separated formally, you will need to do everything possible to ensure your family have as close to a stress-free and enjoyable Christmas as is possible. Here are a few tips we have learned.
- Maintain communication
Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about how, where and with who you’d like to spend Christmas and share those plans with your children and extended family. Also, agree on your own personal approach to the holiday season, not only for the sake of any children but also for your own emotional well-being.
- Be sensible with money
Financial stress is a massive factor for many families. If you let spending exceed what you can afford, it can place even more pressure on your already strained relationship.
- Focus on your children
If you have children, you must prioritise their well-being. Discuss what is best for them and find the way to create the most peaceful and enjoyable holiday atmosphere ahead of what will be a disruptive and upsetting period of change in the New Year.
- Manage your own expectations
Understand that this holiday season might be different from previous ones and will almost certainly be different from future ones. This can massively help you reduce stress and potential disappointments.
- Lean on your available support
Seek support from friends and family, ask their advice and even somewhere to spend some time with them away from the family home if things are getting on top of you.
- Take care of you
Looking after yourself is crucial when you are under increased emotional stress. Don’t overindulge in food or alcohol (alcohol can often trigger or intensify arguments). Make sure you get enough rest and exercise.
- Start to get organised
If you are about to separate, you will need to divide your belongings. This is never as easy as you think so if you can start the process as early as possible, it will be one less tying to worry about when you part ways in the New Year.
- Start to collate the required information
When the divorce process starts, your lawyer will need a lot of information to ensure you get what you should from your divorce settlement. As far as you’re able try to collate or copy mortgage statements, bank statements, share certificates, pension information, property needs and records of any other assets or sources of wealth.
You will also need to choose who will legally represent you during your divorce. This could be a solicitor or a Direct Access barrister. As January is traditionally a very busy time for family lawyers, it is advisable to research possible options online or even ask trusted friends for recommendations so you can act quickly when the time comes.