Although the most divorce filings actually happen in March each year, January is known as “divorce month” because we see such a flurry of filings after the new year.
This year, it may be even busier than usual, as the courts try to get back to their normal pace post-pandemic, and people emerge from the holidays, and the chaos of the last two years, with a firm desire to change their lives in substantial ways.
Many clients have said they waited to file for divorce after a tax year ended, and after they celebrated one last holiday season together as a family. The truth is, there is never an ideal time to end your marriage. Whenever you decide to do it, you will experience emotions, anxieties, financial upheaval and all manner of shifts in your family as you get used to the new normal.
If you are deciding to file this month, I can offer a few pieces of advice.
First, be sure it’s what you both want. Relationships are not easy, and sometimes good therapy and an effort to reconnect can quell problems you’ve experienced for a while. Remember, also, that the tumult of the past two years takes its toll on all of us, including upending careers, stressing us out over our kids’ safety, and making us feel forlorn about our options.
If divorce is definitely your path, consider beginning with a resource I offer, Our Family in Two Homes. This thoughtful workbook helps you articulate your priorities and get into a solid mindset before splitting, making the actual divorce easier, more efficient and hopefully less expensive.
Because the courts are so backed up with pre-pandemic cases, and seeming to like using Zoom for much of their functions, consider going the Collaborative route. I far prefer Collaborative Divorce over Litigation because of the way that it looks at the family as a unit, guided by a team of professionals to determine the details of the divorce so you have the best outcome possible.
Avoid blaming your spouse for the dissolution of your marriage. Both of you are to blame, and neither of you are to blame. Sometimes a marriage runs its course, and comes to a natural end. Make your peace with the good times you had together and the good things that came out of your marriage (like your children!), and keep your head high. Aim to part ways with dignity and mutual respect.
Finally, know that you’re not alone. You are not the first person to break up with a spouse, nor will you be the last. There are so many people and groups to support you, and your divorce professionals are here to help you through the process so you can move on to your next stage of life with grace and enthusiasm.