Maybe you should give it another month or two.
Following a lull in November and December, divorce filings reach a their yearly high mark in January and February. But is the divorce month phenomenon caused by holiday stress pushing relationships over the edge or is it due to couples waiting until after the holidays to initiate a divorce? The answer: it's a little bit of both.
Once mid-November hits, a collective cease fire on divorce filings takes over all across the nation. With a focus on their children's well-being, spouses that may otherwise have initiated a divorce put on a brave face in an attempt to give their family a happy holiday. However, this often only delays the inevitable.
According to Irvine divorce attorney Scott Finkbeiner, "Divorce filings always spike in January and February — the filings from people early-year are usually people that wanted to file but just waited through the holiday."
"We know this because we get lots of new client calls towards the end of the year, and then they don't contact us again to get started on the divorce until after the new year," he adds.
The holiday season is chock full of triggers that can push a strained marriage past the breaking point — more time spent together, high levels of stress, heavier than usual drinking, impossible-to-meet expectations. An outburst caused by any one or several of these triggers can be enough to sway the decision.
Divorce will change your life forever and there typically isn't any turning back after filing.
If you find yourself 'celebrating' divorce month, be sure you take some time to answer a few important questions before pulling the trigger:
1. Is your decision to file for divorce just a phase?
The holidays can be super stressful, but before you file, make sure you aren't basing your decision on an intense holiday season with overwhelming demands. It's best to settle back into life and get a feel for how you REALLY feel before you take that step.
2. Have you tried absolutely EVERYTHING to fix your marriage?
As tired and beat as you may be, be SURE that you are making the right decision, and you should do everything you can to SAVE your marriage before you give it up. Sometimes mediation, therapy, or simply talking through the issues can make a major difference. Voice your concerns, be fair, and be absolutely sure that divorce is the course of action you want to take.
3. What do you expect life to be like after you file?
Things are probably going to get worse before they get better, and filing for divorce makes a huge impact on your life. Step back and take a look at your expectations, your finances, and make sure you have a plan in order for your kids before doing anything else.
After thinking these things over and you still want to get that divorce, go for it. Alternatively, if you thought it over and feel like it's just holiday stress, you really want to rethink that divorce. No matter what you choose, your happiness is what's important in the end.