Waiting Out the Holiday Season Before Filing for Divorce: How to Prepare

If you are looking to wait out the holiday season before sharing with your spouse that you intend to file for divorce – you are not alone. January has been coined “divorce month” and no doubt for this very reason. Many couples choose to wait until January to start the divorce process because they do not want to disrupt the holiday season and family traditions. If this delay is orchestrated mindfully and planned well, this timing can have important advantages for everyone involved.

Here is how to make the most of the holiday season while planning for a divorce in the New Year:

  1. Be Authentic. While you aim to create a happy holiday season for everyone involved, do not let the guilt or fear of divorce cause you to overcompensate. Be genuine in your interactions, while of course seeking to keep the peace with your spouse and in-laws. Do not fake, overdo, or over plan things that will later be viewed as disingenuous.

  2. Savor the moments. Do not experience the holidays solely through the lens of divorce. Even though divorce is imminent, that does not mean you do not have genuine feelings for your spouse or their extended family members. The holidays are still a time to celebrate life, so allow yourself the space to relish the moment and experience the holiday joy. You have shared history and children with your spouse, and all need not be lost in a divorce. Your generosity of spirit will set a positive foundation for achieving this with your spouse, and your children will benefit as well.

  3. Do not use gifts to earn your family’s goodwill. If, like most people, your finances will be impacted negatively by the upcoming changes, begin slowly curtailing expenditures. Do get creative with incisive yet meaningful gift choices—you might surprise yourself as to how much less you can spend for an even greater impact.

  4. Process your finances. What better time than the holiday season to notice your spending strengths and weaknesses. Take advantage of the delay by starting a spreadsheet of your budgetary wants versus needs. Also, since any year-end bonuses owed will likely be paid out in January, you will have the opportunity to include this in the settlement. Snagging some private time amidst the chaos to get your statements organized before beginning the divorce process in January will make you more confident and prepared for the negotiations ahead. Having the facts clearly documented will also lead to a more economical and enjoyable holiday season.

  5. Make appointments with the experts after the holidays. Setting up January meetings with your lawyer, accountant, broker, therapist, children’s therapist, etc. will allow you the confidence to feel certain that the process will be moving forward ultimately, and in an organized manner. This in turn will allow you to relax during the holiday season. Without a plan in place, you are likely to spend key family time trying to do haphazard calculations, ruminating over awards and custody, and focusing on your portfolio. Knowing that experts will be there to help in each department will remove this pressure that would take away from quality time and joy with your children and family.

The decision to hold off on divorce until after the holiday season can reinforce the glue of your familial bond with your spouse despite a failed romantic union. This can set the tone for an amicable separation process if you are able to make the season authentic and joyful. You will also be afforded lead time to process finances and line up your team of experts for post-holiday meetings in January. Contact the experienced lawyers at TNS to make the process as stress-free as possible.


If you have questions about preparing for divorce in the New Year, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.


Related Posts: 
Co-Parenting During the Holiday Season
Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement?
Maryland Child Custody Laws
5 Post-Divorce Actions to Take

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