What to Watch Out for and How to Cope with Divorce Over the New Year

It’s a shocking fact that family law firms, along with child custody and adoption attorneys always see a sharp rise in divorce clients in the New Year. In fact, the first working day back in January is known as Divorce Day as they receive so many enquiries about getting a divorce. So what is behind this peak so soon after Christmas? Why are there so many people wanting to start divorce proceedings as soon as the festive period comes to an end, a time traditionally known for being together with family?

It’s a sad fact that as many as 42% of couples find themselves heading for divorce in the UK. This figure is as high as 50% in the USA. An experienced family law lawyer in Jacksonville says that divorce is not an easy process, in fact it’s known as the second most traumatic life experience after death of a loved one. It involves a rollercoaster of emotions and many new practical challenges so we need to give it careful consideration when we decide to leave a marriage. With the help of adoption legal service, it is made sure that the children of the divorced parents receive equal love, support and care throughout their growing phase, so that they don’t feel like orphans.

The New Year peak in starting divorce proceedings is the same every year. As noted by expert wills attorneys based in New York, there are several factors that cause this and things to look out for:

1) Spending quality time with the family in the Christmas holidays if you have a solid relationship can make it even stronger. However, if the foundations of the relationship are rocky spending increased amounts of time together can increase the pressure and the cracks will start to show. 

2) Over Xmas the usual routine of work and school runs is disrupted. We are no longer distracted by them and so we have more time to focus on the relationship and how it is going. It is under more scrutiny as couples are spending more time together.

3) Many people that have actually decided to break up well before Christmas will have made the decision to get through the festive period as not to upset the family, especially if there are children involved, and then leave in the new year.

4) Spending time with extended family often puts a lot of pressure on a couple. Tensions can mount if they don’t get along well or have to walk on egg shells around each other’s family.

5) Couples often have different expectations of the Christmas holidays. If one sees it as a chance to put their feet up as they are not at work and the other is left to entertain the kids or cook for everyone it can cause arguments.

6) Financial pressures can mount over Christmas as pressure to provide the latest gift for the children and feed the extended family for days on end can be extremely high. This can inevitably cause arguments and tension for couples.

7) It’s the season for parties and drinking and if your relationship is already on the rocks it can sadly be a trigger for infidelity. 

All these festive period pressures can reach a crescendo, what I call a switch flicking moment, when something tips the balance and you decide you just can’t do this anymore. Enough is enough and you want out. Unfortunately this is the case for many couples and why the divorce rate peaks in the new year. 

However, if you are aware of this there are things you can do to help your relationship survive Christmas. Here are my 7 top tips to avoiding breaking up over Christmas:

1. Don’t let problems fester. If there are any issues raise them with your partner and work together to sort them out before any irreparable damage is done.

2. Set aside some time to discuss what you want from the holidays and how you see it working. Make a plan that you both agree to and are happy with.

3. Agree a financial budget. Set one up for the Christmas period in advance and stick to it.

4. Make a conscious decision to stay calm and to keep spirits up over Christmas. Don’t be the person who brings the mood down.

5. Do your best to get along with the in laws and extended family. Agree to keep visits to a minimum if you know they always cause unnecessary stress.

6. Keep the love alive. Be affectionate and playful with your partner. Arrange quality alone time over the holidays where you spend time together doing the things you love.

7. Don’t take things too seriously. Keep perspective on the magnitude and significance of things that might trigger an argument. Remember you can diffuse an argument before it happens by choosing to react with love. For example, giving them a hug or telling them you love them can diffuse the tension in a heartbeat if you do it sincerely. 

The key to any successful relationship is good communication. Find a way that works for you both and remember that you will both have different methods of communicating how you feel. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t a great way to deal with issues and it’s always best to nip them in the bud right away. However it’s never too late to start communicating better with your partner. Be kind, respectful and empathetic towards each other and you will find that your relationship can overcome many obstacles.

However, for some it will be true that you cannot find a way forward with your relationship or that sadly that decision has been made for you by your ex. In this case you will find yourself part of the statistics for the New Year and joining the surge of other people who are starting the divorce process. Emotional stress from the rollercoaster of negative emotions combined with the new practical challenges that come with being newly single can be overwhelming. A breakup will cause a ripple effect across the whole of your life and effect all areas including your friends, family, home life, career and future. 

The good news is that if you do find yourself divorcing in the New Year then there are lots of things you can do to help make that process a little easier for you. The New Year is traditionally a time for making resolutions about your future, making a commitment to enforce changes and to wipe the slate clean. It gives you the chance for a fresh start and a new you. 

Here are my 10 top tips to thriving in the New Year after your breakup:

1. Spend time with good people: We are all influenced by the quality of the people we surround ourselves with as other attitudes and behaviours will rub off on us after a while. Make sure you create a positive and supportive team of friends, family and advisors around you. 

2. Healthy body means a healthy mind: Keep a balanced diet and make sure you feed your body enough healthy fuel so that it can give you the energy you need. If you feel in good form your mind will be stronger to deal with challenges as they come up.

3. Be kind to yourself: Don’t beat yourself up for feeling low or crying. It is a natural part of the grieving process after your breakup. Remember that it is not a permanent state of mind and its part of the healing process as you let go.

4. It’s time to let go of your ex: Write a list of all the things that didn’t like about your ex and your relationship. Keep these to hand so you can read them if you start to feel sad. We tend to focus on all the good things we no longer have in our life which stops us from moving forward. It helps to take off those rose-tinted glasses and take a long hard look at what the things that mad you sad that you no longer have to tolerate.

5. Get active: Plan your weeks ahead to keep you busy. Start saying “yes” to invitations and get out of the house more. Staying home alone all the time will amplify feelings of loneliness so make arrangements and stick to them.

6. Do things you love: It’s time to put yourself first now and look after yourself. Schedule in your diary to do things that make you enjoy and that make you laugh. We all need some fun in our lives to add some sparkle so make a list of things such as coffee with friends, trampolining, a day trip, a massage, buying some new clothes.

7. Make small changes: It’s time to take back control of your life so to do that its key to make some changes. These can be small changes such as moving the furniture around in your home to make it feel different, cooking new meals, using a different supermarket or wearing a new colour that you love. If you continue to do the things you used to do with your ex it will be harder to move on. 

8. Time to revamp your life: Start thinking about where you want to be in 1 years’ time. This will help you to keep moving forward with life and avoid getting stuck thinking about the past. Look to make some larger changes such as revamping your career or health by setting some goals. Let your close friends know about what you have decided to do so they can help you stick to your new goals.

9. Create your bucket list: Write a list of things that you are really excited to do in your life. Activities that you can do now that maybe you never could have done if you were still in your relationship. These could include learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby, travelling somewhere you always dreamed to visit or even climbing Everest!

10. Change your focus: Practice finding the good in every situation and focusing on that. What if you believed that this breakup was actually a great opportunity and you now have the chance to redesign your life just the way you want it? That would make a huge difference to your life and it is possible. 

My 10 top tips will help you to cope better with your break-up as you start to navigate your way through the process. It’s important to decide that you want to make some changes to get your life back on track and commit to taking some actions to make it your new reality. It is possible. I have done it and my clients are doing it right now. Remember that it’s not what happens to you in life that counts, it’s what you do about it that defines you as a person.

So grab back control of your life and get ready for the new year and a new you!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sara Davison, www.saradavison.com, The Divorce Coach’s new book, “The Split – 30 days from Breakup to Breakthrough” is available on Amazon from 7th January 2019.