Family Law specialists and therapists will often see a surge in separation and divorce consultations in January.

There are probably two common reasons for this: First, many couples decide to “tough it out” through the holidays, even if the decision to separate has already been made by one or both people.  In my practice, I have heard from adult children of divorce about the holidays being emotionally associated with family crisis because their parents chose to separate during the holiday season.  Year after year, the holidays bring back the memories of the pain of their parents’ divorce.  So I often advise clients to wait until well after the holidays if they plan to separate or divorce.

Second, the stress and strain of the holidays can be the final straw for couples whose relationship is already fragile.  The financial strain or the pressures of family get-togethers in a troubled marriage might cause one or both people to reach their limit and decide to separate. 

Whether you or your spouse made the decision to separate or divorce, in January you may find yourselves facing a decision about how your marriage will end.  You may talk to friends and family, and hear unsolicited advice or horror stories from well-intentioned people who have been divorced.  You may talk to your therapist, clergy, or doctor.  You may be angry, sad, and anxious, in pain, and worried about your children.  You know that making a quick decision in a crisis is generally not a good approach.  Choosing the right process for you and your family is one of the most important decisions you and your spouse can make.  Here are some questions to consider when you think about choosing the Collaborative process:

  1. Do you want to end your marriage with respect and integrity?
  2. Is taking a rational and fair approach to dividing your assets more important than seeing yourself as a winner and your spouse as the loser in this process?
  3. Are your children the most important aspect in this process?
  4. Is saving money, which could go to you or your children more important than spending it on protracted litigation?
  5. Do you want to model for yourself, your spouse and your children how mature adults handle significant challenges?

If your answer is “yes” to these questions, consider having a consultation with a Collaboratively trained professional to see if the Collaborative process is right for you.  A Collaborative Divorce can help you restructure your family in a way that allows you and your family to recover and heal.

–Ann Buscho, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and Collaborative Coach in Marin County.

photo credit: Ann Buscho, Ph.D.