For many couples, whether married or de facto, relationship issues are heightened in January. The ‘divorce month’ phenomenon is well-known to family lawyers. Regrettably, but typically, January really does see a lot of separation enquiries after the emotional stress of Christmas and other factors, personal and financial, hit home. Many families who have been struggling with the marriage before the holiday season, commit to having one last magical Christmas holiday season with the family intact. To separate before Christmas and so ruin that time for the children or indeed the other spouse, sees many couples implement a separation in January.
Many spouses also view the New Year as a new beginning and a time to make change. If they’re unhappy, they look to January as the month to make that change. If divorce or separation from your spouse is, or becomes, a reality for you in the New Year, or at any time, here are our tips to help ease the pain:
Know your limitations
Understand that when you are going through separation and divorce, you are not mentally, emotionally and psychologically well-equipped to make good decisions. Most men and women in that position are feeling any or often many of the following emotions – anger, sadness, fear, shock, guilt and confusion. A high level of emotion means that while you are beautifully equipped for conflict, you are poorly equipped to make good decisions to get a problem solved. Give your ‘head’ time to work through the emotions before attempting any significant decision making.
Identify your ‘game plan’ right from the start
Always remember that you are going to run your own race. You are not going to be drawn into the other party’s game plan. Forget about the ‘principle’ of the thing. Identify the things that are important to you, and focus on them Don’t have an argument just because it’s there. Pick your battles. Only engage if it achieves something to do so. Otherwise remain entirely focused achieving your objectives as quickly, effectively, privately, fairly, inexpensively and as respectfully, as possible.
Do not use social media
This includes Facebook and Twitter, and particularly do not use email and text messages. In our experience, most people regret doing so. Welcome all that your ex has to throw at you or to the public at large, because they will likely regret it. There are very few cases these days where people’s vitriolic vents don’t have some direct or indirect effect, or even cause damage to the other party’s case. Do not let that happen to you.
Do not listen to the ‘grapevine’
No case is like yours. As much as other people want to tell you about what happened to their children or their property when they were going through their separation and divorce. Take advice from those ‘experts’ with a grain of salt. The fact is these are your children not theirs, and it’s your property not theirs. The relevant facts, circumstances, parties and dynamics are different in every case.
Keep your divorce private
Finally, your separation and divorce is and should remain a very private matter. It’s not up for public review. Many people view separation and divorce like a car crash. People like to slow down and gawk. People talk about other people’s divorces and misfortune. Don’t let that happen to you. There is dignity in silence.