New York Times Contributing Op-Ed Writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz uncovered an interesting trend when investigating depression rates during the holidays. While, overall, Google searches for the word “divorce” showed little seasonality, they show a notable decrease in the weeks leading up to Christmas and a significant increase in the 10 days following.
Stephens-Davidowitz attributes it to holiday reflections surrounding dysfunctional families—“dysfunctional family” being another search term that peaks around Christmas each year.
It’s not surprising when you consider all the focus on family during the holidays, and the New Year for many people is a time when they’re more inclined to reexamine their lives, relationships and marital situations.
Additionally, Americans are naturally inclined to delay negative events until after the holidays—especially if it involves kids. Can you imagine spending Dec. 23 before a family court commissioner figuring out where the kids will sleep on Christmas Eve?
If you find yourself contributing to these Google search patterns, you may find the following four tips helpful:
#1 Don’t spend a lot on Christmas gifts. If you think it may be your last Christmas together as an intact family, you may be tempted to spend a bit more on gifts this year. And if you’re feeling guilty, that compulsion could be worse. Don’t do it. If you end up separating in the following month, you’re going to need the extra money to support an additional household.
#2 Imagine yourself alone during the holidays. A divorce will mean future Christmases will be very different. In some cases, a spouse will think that’s for the better. But many times, especially with parents, the notion is gut-wrenching and the partners will decide they want to try harder to put the relationship back together. If you side with the former, Christmas can also be a good time to begin imagining different child placement scenarios for future holidays.
#3 Hold onto your year-end financial statements. While you’ll need updated financial statements in order to finalize a divorce, your year-end statements can give you a clean, comprehensive picture of your assets and liabilities as well as how you’ll be dividing them.
#4 Stick around for bonuses. Speaking of financial statements, if your partner receives a year-end bonus, you may want to wait a little longer to file. That windfall would be considered marital property if it comes before you split.
Article by Maureen Kinney, La Crosse Divorce Lawyer. For a divorce lawyer in La Crosse, contact Maureen at 608-784-5678.