Filing for Divorce around the Holidays: Cruel or Honest?

November is the time of year when people start to ask me "Should I wait until after the holidays to file for divorce or tell my spouse that I want one?" Legally, it doesn't matter and is really a personal choice. For those who question it, they are generally worried that if they bring up divorce right before the holidays, they will be acting cruel and the holidays will be ruined, all thanks to them. On the other hand, some people feel that if they wait they aren't doing anybody any favors by pretending. Personally, I don't think that Christmas Day itself is the right time to spring the news on your spouse that you've been thinking about pulling the plug on your marriage, but that doesn't mean that it is wrong to mention divorce as the end of year holidays are upon us. There is no perfect time to file for divorce. There will always be some holiday, birthday or event that could be used as a reason to wait.  The best time to file is when it feels right for you and when you are sure that your marriage is over. If that happens to coincide with the holidays, before you decide if you will do it now or wait, ask yourself these questions: 

  • Are you just using the holidays as an excuse to delay the inevitable because you are scared or not ready to move on? 
  • Are you worried about what other people will think, at the expense of your own peace of mind? 
  • Do you have young children at home and if so, can you make it through the holidays in a way that they will not sense tension or fighting, and keep it a happy holiday for them?
  • If you know that you have to spend one more holiday with your spouse, does it make you want to run under the bed and hide until its all over?
  • Will the holidays be ruined (for you, spouse, or everyone) if you don't do something and pretend that everything is OK? 
  • Do you prefer to grin and bear it for the sake of just making it through just a little while longer, or do you think it would be hypocritical to pretend that you are a happy family when you aren't?

Again, there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone is different but by asking yourself these difficult questions it should bring clarity to what you want to do. Either way, if you are considering a divorce you should start to prepare for it, both psychologically, financially and legally. Most divorces are extremely expensive. If you believe that there are complex issues involving children, money, assets or a business, you may want to also start thinking about and educating yourself on divorce mediation as an alternative to very costly litigation. 

Carol O'Connor Cadiz
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Attorney & Owner at O'Connor Cadiz Law: Injury & Accidents, Disability Insurance.
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