It is not uncommon for families to delay taking steps toward separation until after the holidays are over. For many, this can mean sadness, tension and worry that their children may be affected by the breakdown of the relationship.
It is normal to put off difficult first steps. It is also normal to be hopeful that time together with the family may provide a chance to rethink such a big decisions.
Adding to the mix is the seasonal overspending that most of us succumb to every year. Sober financial realities get pushed aside. Credit card statements that will resurface in January are part of the tensions and worry for those already confused about how they will restructure finances if they separate.
There are some concrete things you can do over the holidays to help prepare for the all aspects of your separation:
- Find activities for the family that are cost free such as skating or winter walks through festive parts of your city.
- Set some new traditions that will mark the season, ones that will be easy to carry out next year in two households instead of one.
- Take the first step and look into mediation or collaborative practice before the holidays so that you have some idea what it is all about.
- Set an example of good communications in front of your children. When you finally tell them about the separation, you will be able to point to the holidays as a time when you were already thinking about separation and help them see that you will still be able to talk to one another.
- Try having a good conversation about budgeting for the holidays. In the event that you are using joint credit cards, it is easier to agree on who will be responsible for costs when you are planning a purchase than when you are paying for it.
- You can start collecting financial documents like credit card and bank statements, investment and RRSP statements, mortgage and property tax statements, etc. Prepare a file so that you both have what you will need.
- You can check your credit rating. In that way, you will have the same information as the bank when you start to negotiate lines of credit or changes to your accounts or even your mortgage.
- Find time to research your options. Such things as the cost of alternate accommodation in your area, local mortgage brokers and local real estate agents
Remember that your involvement in your separation and divorce is the most important factor in reaching an outcome that works for everyone. There are many services for helping families have a good separation. The more you are involved in making decisions about how you will separate the better the outcome will be for the whole family. Start preparing yourselves and your family early, it will be all the more helpful in the long run.