It’s the Holiday season and the end to a year like no other. While some people are working to salvage any semblance of normalcy using their cherished holiday traditions, some people are just trying to make it through this time of year knowing that a divorce and a profound family transition are on the horizon in the New Year.
2020 has been a revealing year. Without the normal distractions that keep families preoccupied, many spouses have realized that they are in a broken relationship that is beyond repair. Many are questioning whether divorce is the next step for them and are enduring the holidays one more year with the resolve that they will begin the divorce process in the new year.
If you recognize yourself in that situation, we encourage you to be both proactive and pragmatic as this year comes to a close. There are many important things you can do now to prepare yourself and your family for an easier divorce process in the New Year. Below are some actions you can take now to help prepare for a divorce that may be on your horizon:
ORGANIZE YOUR FINANCIAL INFORMATION.
Many people already use the end of the year as a time to take a deeper look at their personal finances, so we believe this is a great time of year to begin organizing all of your records without sparking and suspicion. Also, with our enforced downtime at home, now is a great time to gather and preserve bank statements, credit card statements, past tax returns, and other financial information that will be helpful for you in the divorce process. This is a key step in educating yourself as to the current state of your finances and to planning for your financial stability during and after a divorce.
START WORKING WITH A THERAPIST FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR CHILDREN.
If you are contemplating divorce, your life likely involves unresolved conflict, increased stress, and unsettling uncertainty. This can unconsciously be passed down to your children as well. Seeing a reputable therapist can help you gain clarity on your own unhappiness, the state of your marriage, your expectations, and what you truly want for your future.
Likewise, if you have young children and you’ve been living in a relationship with conflict, now is a good time to research a therapist who can help them navigate the changes that will be forthcoming. Even if you don’t end up getting a divorce, a great therapist is a resource that can be beneficial for other issues your children may be facing.
In addition to engaging a therapist, make sure you read our post called 10 Tips for Helping Children Through Divorce.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD.
Even if your home is full of conflict, you can turn your focus to the traditions within your power to celebrate that can provide moments of joy (even if only for a moment). That can be as simple as a quiet moment with a steaming mug of warm apple cider, or a drive to look at holiday lights (boisterous singing optional). Looking for opportunities to be of service to others, and involving your children in those opportunities, can be another alternative to redirect your focus. It is important to maintain other possible traditions that you cherish, even if that means in an updated, minimized, or reinvented way. The point is to look for opportunities to invite the joy of the season into your home. Who knows, perhaps that will result in a brief period of peace during the holidays.
MEET WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY.
If you are wondering whether divorce is right for you, now is a great time to educate yourself about the divorce process. An attorney can help you focus on and identify what your true goals are, inform you about your options, and help you start to build a plan to get you to your next chapter. There is important homework you can do now before filing for a divorce, and meeting with an attorney can help you prepare for information you need to gather.
But know that who you hire will be the most important factor in the kind of divorce you have.
There are different kinds of divorces and different kinds of divorce attorneys. You may envision a stereotypical bulldog divorce attorney like in movies, and think you need one of those. Or you may be frightened by the horror stories you’ve heard from friends and families about their “war of the roses” style divorce. In our experience though, these types of adversarial and high conflict attorneys and divorce proceedings don’t yield the best results for either our clients or their families. So we utilize non-adversarial techniques that minimize destruction to the co-parenting relationship and preserve the dignity of the parties. We’ve also put together this blog that may help you prepare to meet with an attorney.
LEARN ABOUT YOUR OPTIONS.
It is possible to get a divorce without unnecessary discord and destruction. There are many types of divorce beyond the Traditional Divorce scenario. Agreed Divorce, Mediated Divorce, and Collaborative Divorce are processes designed to help you and your spouse resolve your disputes without going to court, and they give you more control over crafting creative solutions that work for your family’s unique needs..
Our firm can walk you through the differences in each of these approaches, and help you decide on the best path for you. The end goal is to set you up with the best process for you and your family, one that will help you focus on building a new future.
TAKING THE NEXT STEP.
As much as we can cherish the holidays, we know that they can be a difficult time for couples in a broken relationship. We hope that in the midst of this season, during the end to one of the craziest years in recent memory, you can still find time to cherish the gifts in your life, and find some joy this season. When you’re ready, we are here to help. If you would like to set up a consultation with our firm to hear about our unique approach to helping our clients find resolution and hope, please fill out the Contact Form and we’ll be in touch.