It’s a question that’s all too common. The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time. Then why do you feel so bad this holiday season?
If you’re like many other married people in Oregon, the answer is that your marriage is no longer working. The holidays often highlight how much has gone wrong in your relationship over the past year, making it hard to experience the joy of your favorite winter holidays.
If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Here’s why the holidays can cause divorces and what you can do to prepare if you decide to give yourself the gift of independence in the new year.
Why Do People Get Divorced After the Holidays?
Many factors contribute to making the holidays a prime time for divorce, including:
- General stress: The holidays can place a lot of pressure on a relationship. The need to travel, the financial strain of buying gifts and paying for outings, and end-of-year deadlines at work can all exacerbate the problems already present in a marriage and make them impossible to ignore.
- Family conflict: Trying to decide where to spend the holidays can force you to confront the fact that your spouse doesn’t like your family. Furthermore, spending time with your in-laws may remind you that they don’t accept you. This family conflict can be the final straw for many couples.
- Pressure to minimize drama: Many couples approaching divorce in the fall may delay filing the paperwork until January. This allows them to avoid the drama of announcing a divorce during annual family gatherings and may let them give their children a final holiday season before their lives change.
- Desire for a new start: On a positive note, many people divorce in January because the new year is associated with the opportunity for a fresh start. The start of the year may feel thematically appropriate if you’re looking to begin anew.
So, how common are these post-holiday divorces? The trend is so pronounced that the first Monday of January is known as “Divorce Day” because it is the day with the highest number of divorce filings annually. January overall sees more people filing for divorce than any other month.
Best Practices for Divorcing After the Holidays
If you’re one of the thousands of people filing for divorces in January, you can start preparing now. Consider using the following tips as your divorce New Year’s resolutions to help the process go smoothly.
Prepare for the Longer Process
While serving your spouse with divorce paperwork may feel final, it’s the first step in a longer process. After you file, you’ll need to go through the process of dividing your assets as well as determining custody if you have children. While Oregon doesn’t have a waiting period like other states like California, high-asset divorces or those with significant disputes still take time to resolve.
Now is the time to start preparing for that process. For example, engaging expert legal representation can keep the process from dragging out. Consulting with an attorney now makes it easier to file as soon as you’re ready.
After you file for divorce, your lifestyle will change. For example, you may need to find a new place to live, and you may need to alter your budget to account for changes in expenses and resources. The sooner you plan for these changes, the easier they will be to make.
One way you can do this is by building a budget for your new life. Consider what you will likely need after your split, whether that’s a new car, a different apartment, or your own streaming subscriptions. Once you know how much you’ll be spending, you can look for ways to cut costs or relax, knowing that your finances are handled.
Build Your Support Network
During the holidays, spend time with the people you love and who support you. These family and friends will be your support network during and after your divorce. Take the time to appreciate them now while everyone is in the same place, and don’t be afraid to ask for help from the people you trust most.
Start Collecting Important Documents
To end a marriage, you need a lot of documentation. Use this time to collect paperwork such as:
- Your marriage license
- Paystubs for the past year
- Tax returns for the past two years
- Statements for your credit cards, bank and investment accounts, and any loans
- Copies of the deeds for property such as real estate and vehicles
These documents will be invaluable for accomplishing your divorce in a timely fashion.
Take Time for Yourself
Getting divorced over the holidays isn’t easy. If you don’t give yourself time to relax, it can be challenging to give your split the attention necessary to keep it on track. Carve out time to do things just for yourself, and you’ll be surprised at how much less stressful the rest of your life feels.
Make the Most of Expert Legal Counsel
While you may have hit your breaking point this holiday season, don’t try to manage your divorce alone. The best gift you can give yourself is the peace of mind offered by expert legal representation during your split.
At Regele Law, LLC, our skilled divorce attorney Stacey Regele has the knowledge and experience to help you move through the process efficiently and effectively. She prides herself on offering compassionate and comprehensive services for divorcing couples like you that are focused on your family. Learn more about how we can help you move forward with your holiday divorce by calling 503-594-7027 or emailing us to schedule your consultation today.