End of Year thoughts on Divorce
If you have not already served your spouse with divorce papers; why not wait until the holidays are over? Good divorces start with a good beginning. “Merry Christmas-get the heck out!” is not a good beginning.
If you are already in the midst of it, consider taking a hiatus, or calling a cease-fire between now and January 2nd. Promise each other that for the next 4 weeks neither one of you will bring up any hot button topics. These vary by family, but if you know that there is an open question about, say, alimony or child support, make it your business not to discuss anything related to these topics for 4 weeks.
Divorces rarely take more than a year, so this is likely the only time you will have to combine your end-of-year expectations and obligations with a divorce. This one year, you can make it as pleasant on yourself and your family as possible.
I know it is not easy. Depending on how enmeshed you are in fighting, every topic could be a potential land mine right now. But, a little bit of skill and tact (as though you were speaking to the overwhelmed clerk at a busy retail outlet) might help keep things calm when everything else in your life is at its most hectic.
When making holiday and party arrangements; consider both sides. Even if your parents are flying in for the first time in three years and you want your kids to get to have Christmas eve dinner; Christmas morning presents, and Christmas day traditions all with them. Consider this – if your children are fortunate enough to have two sets of grandparents (or even two parents) who both want to see their little faces light up each moment of the holidays, then maybe that is a greater gift than anything they will unwrap.
Be kinder than usual to each other – but don’t give in on absolutely everything – share the holidays in a way that would make sense even if you were not mad at each other. If you are probably going to be the custodial parent at the end of the divorce, then your spouse might be afraid that this is his or her last year with the kids. Be a little flexible about timing. If someone is thirty to sixty minutes late returning children, consider it “on time,” and make the best of the time you have left.
By letting go of your anger, frustration, and disappointment for this short four week period, you will be giving the best gift possible – peace of mind. And the person to whom you will be giving this gift is the one who most needs you to be your best right now: you.
What we Love: There are so many demands on you time and attention right now, give yourself the gift of letting this one thing wait until January…when everyone can think and speak a little more clearly.
- TurboTax – Video: How to File Taxes for Divorcing Couples (turbotax.intuit.com)