Divorce is typically an emotionally difficult time for the entire family. When spouses are facing divorce and the holidays are approaching, they can find themselves dealing with twice the amount of stress. So, people planning for divorce during holidays, especially those with children, sometimes decide to wait to start divorce proceedings until after the season ends. That choice to delay can bring significant benefits to families. But, delaying may not be the best option for some people, depending on the circumstances. Here are things to consider before filing for divorce during the holidays:
Helpful or Unhelpful Relatives
The advice to just keep smiling through the holidays and get a divorce afterward might not be best for some people, depending on the circumstances. Of course, your mental and physical health must be the priorities, whether it’s the holiday season or any other time. If family members are reliable for helpful emotional support, it might be the best option to file for divorce during the holidays.
However, think about whether the relatives are likely to ask too many awkward questions, make too many negative comments, or add stress in other ways. If so, it may be advisable to avoid filing for divorce until the normal routines resume after the holidays.
Compounding Holiday Stressors
Being in a marriage that is headed for divorce is a stressful way to live, for both spouses. Entering into the process of divorce during the hectic holidays multiplies the psychological and emotional triggers. Frustrations can escalate the already-rising stress levels. Adding divorce to holidays can make coping with the combined challenges considerably more difficult.
Waiting for some weeks after the holidays to file the divorce petition may make the best sense. Having the family together through the holidays gives everyone a final opportunity to enjoy that special time of the year together.
Prioritizing Children’s Interests During Holidays
Parents planning for divorce may choose to postpone starting the divorce process until after the holidays for their children’s benefit. They may recognize the season as a special opportunity for their kids to participate fully in the joy and wonder and generosity that people around them share at this time.
So, rather than have their kids miss the full experience of this time, the adults may decide to delay divorcing for another month. That can give the children one final holiday with the whole family together, making memories the kids will treasure throughout their lifetimes.
Compassion During the Holidays
It’s not uncommon for couples nearing divorce to be briefly drawn closer in the holiday season. All the happy family festivities and sharing the celebratory mood of the culture with everyone everywhere you go have a way of making people feel more loving and nostalgic for the better times of the past. It may even inspire some on the brink of divorce to hope for reconciliation.
So, even if there’s no interest in canceling divorce plans, a more compassionate approach than filing during the holidays is usually to wait until the period of family celebrations has passed.
Adding a Big Expense During the Holidays
The financial strain from holiday gift shopping, traveling, family celebrations, etc. can be extreme. Adding the major expense of divorce during the holidays can be extremely challenging for many families. Divorce expenses include attorney fees, mediators, filing and service fees, co-parenting classes, sometimes even psychiatric evaluations for the entire family, relocation, and other costs. Finances during divorce can become strained at a time of year that is already hard on the budget.
Note that working successfully to complete negotiations smoothly is the key to keeping divorce costs much lower.
Legal Processing Impacted by Holidays
Keep in mind that when divorce petitions are filed during the holiday weeks, many of the professionals throughout the legal system may have limited availability. That can cause the process of obtaining a divorce decree to be slowed or delayed entirely until after the holidays. However, if both spouses are committed to a smooth and amicable divorce and want to settle the matter before the holidays, it’s recommended to move forward with submitting a final agreement to the court before the start of the holiday season.
Even though the holiday season may bring a lot of joy and cheer to others around them, people facing divorce may be in an untenable situation. Waiting weeks or more to start divorce proceedings may not seem practical. Filing for divorce sooner may make more sense than waiting until a later date. Getting your divorce lawyer, a Utah court judge, and law enforcement, if needed, involved as soon as possible, perhaps for a protective order, may be the best course of action.
For couples nearing divorce, especially those in relationships with a lot of heated conflicts, adding the stress of typical holiday responsibilities increases the potential for serious problems. It may lead to even more serious confrontations than before the hectic holiday season. To avoid more extreme tensions, postponing filing the divorce petition until after the holidays are behind them may be a wise decision.
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Divorce during the holidays can be especially rough on everyone in the family. The David Pedrazas team helps people through the stressful period of divorce to outcomes that help them move beyond divorce to happier years ahead. David Pedrazas provides caring guidance through the legal process and outstanding representation in family court.