For some reason those two words just should not be in the same sentence, divorce and holidays. Whether they should be or not, doesn’t really matter. January is one of the busiest times of year for divorce lawyers, mediators and divorce financial analysts.
The fact is that statistically many people are preparing to get a divorce after the holidays. They stay together through the holidays for the sake of the kids or they just don’t want the memory of a painful time in their life mixed up with what should be a happy time. I am not a family counselor or therapist, but from a financial advisor’s view point here are a couple of suggestions that might help you through the holidays.
- Start making some new traditions. Even if you have not told the kids yet, do something fun without your spouse that is out of the ordinary this year. Next year when you are alone, you can keep that tradition that was started without your spouse.
- I cannot stress enough how important it is to gather all your financial and current estate planning documents. Start making copies of important financial documents while you are digging through closets looking for ornaments to decorate the Christmas tree.
- Expenses can be the most difficult thing for a spouse to figure out if they have not been handling the bills. You will need to know this information for a financial affidavit for the divorce proceedings. For example, if you don’t know who insures your automobiles, find the insurance policy and find out what the premiums are each year.
- Gather a list of current bills and investment account statements. Where are the bank statements? Who holds your investment accounts? Which benefits from your spouse affect you?
- Start preparing for the January credit card bills. If you normally put Christmas purchases on a credit card, STOP! Buy with only the amount of money that is available to you in the checking account. If you have no debt on credit cards this eliminates one more cause for arguments once divorce proceedings begin.
- If you don’t have the cash, consider telling the kids this is going to be a Christmas where you put others first such as working in a soup kitchen together.
- Or make homemade gifts for one another. This also helps to establish new traditions.
Knowing that a divorce is around the corner does make the holidays difficult. None of these suggestions will remove the simple fact that it is painful. But thinking carefully and planning now to prepare for your new future just might make next year a little easier.