The holidays are a festive time with family and a time when many reflect on the past and consider the future. That combination seems to be the perfect storm when it comes to filing for divorce, as the first Monday after Christmas is one of the busiest days of the year.
Considering that the season is affiliated with words like holly, jolly and merry, the contrasting nature of divorce stands out. While every couple is unique and the reasons for a divorce are never just a single item, there are some noteworthy factors unique to the holiday season.
Contributing factors include:
- Extra stress during the holiday season
- A New Year's emphasis on self-reflection
- The start of the new tax year
- Many couples don't want to upset tradition
With extra days off from work, families spend more time together over the holidays. Sometimes this highlights the incompatibility of partners as they spend more time together, often with the hope to rekindle the flames.
Those vacation days are busy with travel, upholding holiday traditions and a cultural emphasis on making each holiday special and unique. While everyone wants "the best Christmas ever," that is easier said than done.
If there are financial stresses in the house, gifts and travel can stretch them to breaking point.
The New Year's resolution isn't always to lose weight or get a promotion. Sometimes a partner has looked inward and determined that divorce is the best step for personal fulfillment.
While practical instead of emotional, a new calendar year also means a new tax year. Whenever a couple divorces, taxes for that year will become a contentious issue. Making a clear break at the start can ease the paperwork.
Similarly, anniversary milestones may mark a change for personal finances and contracts, including pensions, pre-nuptial agreements and more.
Getting through the holidays
In most divorces, however, there was no final straw that broke the marriage. It was already crumbling.
Couples spend more time together with the hope of rekindling a fading flame but, instead, find that it's already gone out.
For others, they stayed together to maintain familial traditions for another holiday. This strategy often backfires, creating negative eruptions instead of pristine memories.
The simple truth is that divorces, like relationships, are complex and varied. Many factors come together in the holiday season but they reflect larger themes from daily life. It may seem that the holidays push people over the edge, but they were wavering there already.
While it's important to carefully consider any family upheaval, sometimes the decision is for the best. When families can't enjoy a holly, jolly season, it often makes that point all too clear.