Many people will agree that the holidays have a certain energy and momentum to them that carry people from one emotionally charged holiday to the next. It seems like Halloween begins a feeling of festivity, especially for children. Thanksgiving has the power to bring people together emotionally or not.
Hanukkah and Christmas are laden with emotion, expectation, and vibes that reach back to our earliest years. Then comes New Year’s Eve which can be magnificent or crushingly painful for people who feel their personal life is out of alignment with their hopes and dreams for themselves.
Many spouses begin filing for divorce after the holidays. It may come as no surprise to you that divorce filings increase after January 1. For many people, the cycle of holidays is just too much, and they emerge from them wishing for a divorce. When prospective clients call my office after New Year’s Day we talk about several elements as preliminary to the work of a divorce filing.
What You Should Know About Filing For Divorce After the Holidays
Though I am an attorney, I do like to ask if the couple has tried marital counseling or discernment counseling. If we can save a marriage, I am always willing to offer referrals to help my clients save their marriage. In some instances, couples greatly benefit from the impact and value of substantial, good couples counseling. But, if my client believes the marriage is broken then it is important to move on and work through the dissolution, in the most amicable way possible under the circumstances.
Accounts and Files
Assuming the divorce filing is imminent I always ask my clients to ensure they have the most basic access to all accounts and files. This includes knowing what accounts there are in joint possession, what passwords are required to access these accounts, and if possible, have copies of the most recent statements as hard-copy reference items.
Use care with what you tell minor children. You want to be honest with your children, but you should ensure that you offer them a way to understand the coming divorce that’s not emotionally injurious to them. If you are not sure how to speak to your kids consult with your attorney or mental health specialist to devise a communication strategy that will work best for your family.
Consider Your Options
Have you considered the divorce options that exist before you?
Everyone is painfully knowledgeable about litigated divorces full of fighting and acrimony. If litigation is the only option, we can select this approach. In circumstances where a spouse has been emotionally or physically abusive, or where alcohol or drug addiction is an issue in the marriage, litigation may be the right path to take.
But, if you and your soon-to-be former spouse are able to communicate well, mediation or collaborative divorce approaches may make good sense for you.
Both mediation and collaborative divorce primarily take place outside of public courtrooms, giving a family privacy and the ability to set the pace of the divorce instead of a judge. In Collaborative divorce and mediation, the highest priority is set on communication and the well-being of minor children, and the spouses during and post-divorce.
If this new year is beginning and you feel a divorce is a right approach for you, please know you are not alone. Make sure you develop a support team that works well for you and make sure you select legal counsel that feels right for you.
These are big decisions and ones that will ideally help you navigate through the phases of divorce until you begin the next chapter of your life. Though divorce can feel long, perhaps even interminable, know that the experience will conclude. My goal with my clients is to help them reach the most peaceful, least injurious divorce possible.
Anna Krolikowska is an attorney in private practice serving clients in Chicago and the suburbs. She is a collaboratively trained attorney and a Fellow of Collaborative Divorce Illinois. Within her law practice Anna works with clients using mediation, collaborative divorce process, or the litigated approach. To learn more about which strategy might be best for you contact Anna at [email protected], or (847) 715-9328 to schedule a consultation. Follow Anna on Facebook.com/AttyKrolikowska, on Instagram: @annaklawchicago, or on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/annaklaw