The holidays are a stressful time that can put a lot of strain on marital relationships. Combine that with the desire for a fresh start in the new year, and you have a plausible explanation for why divorce filings tend to increase dramatically in January every year.
Whether you were waiting to put the holidays behind you to ensure your children wouldn’t associate Christmas with the end of their parents’ marriage or you just want a fresh start in the new year, you won’t be alone if you take action to end your marriage this year.
Planning for a fresh start is always easiest when you do so with realistic expectations and information about the consequences of your decision. Learning a little about how divorce can impact your year can help you ready yourself to make big changes in the new decade.
Expect to spend several months in divorce limbo
One of the more difficult aspects of divorce is how just making the decision doesn’t change anything. You have to file with the courts, serve your spouse with paperwork and present your case to the courts.
For couples without children, legal separation for at least six months is usually necessary before finalizing a divorce. For those with children, that separation period increases to a full year before you can file.
Take stock of your financial circumstances so that you can rebuild
Divorce means accepting a financial setback. You will likely have to split your assets with your ex, which means diminishing your savings accounts and your retirement fund. Beyond that, the process of divorce is quite expensive, which means a substantial amount of your income this year could go toward court costs and other expenses associated with the divorce.
That being said, you can’t possibly put a price on the freedom and happiness that comes with ending an unhealthy or unsatisfying marriage. Knowing that you will have costs can help you plan more responsibly to rebuild after the divorce.
Plan now to invest in your health and well-being
No matter how certain you are about your decision to divorce, the process itself brings with it substantial stress. From needing to explain your decision to your co-workers, friends and family members to cope with the grief and other emotions that come with most divorces, you should anticipate going through some difficult days.
Make an effort to reach out to friends, research local support groups for those going through divorces and even choose a therapist to help you process the emotions associated with the divorce. Additionally, really commit yourself to take good care of your body and your career. Depression stemming from a divorce can often spiral out into other areas of someone’s life if they aren’t careful about managing their emotional responses.