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The holidays are over. Now, I want a divorce!

It can be especially difficult to say the words "I want a divorce" over the holidays. If you did, more power to you. If you didn't, now may be the time to put an end to your misery.

In either case, there are benefits and disadvantages to asking for divorce over the holiday season. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of seeking a divorce around the holiday season.

Benefits of divorcing over the holiday season

  • It might be best for the children. Divorce can leave children feeling especially vulnerable, confused and emotional, but the toxic relationship of arguing parents could be worse. Consider whether the children would have a better holiday if you and your spouse were apart, as well as whether you're ready to be away from them for part of the holiday season. Children typically divide holiday time between their parents.
  • There are year-end financial considerations. It might be advantageous to begin the divorce and have temporary orders issued before the holidays depending on your financial situation. If you expect to receive a holiday bonus or your raise is given at the end of the year, you might want to keep that financial benefit to yourself.
  • Your own well-being. Your own physical, mental and emotional health may depend on getting out of the relationship as soon as possible regardless of the fallout. If your spouse is impossible to live with or making you crazy, you'll be doing yourself-and your children-a favor by divorcing immediately. If you are more relaxed and happy, everyone around you will be too. Do you really want to spend another Christmas dinner with your spouse's family?

Disadvantages to a holiday season divorce

  • It might be horrible for the children. If you can stand it, you might choose to give your family one last holiday together. Are you ready to have them start splitting time between you and your spouse? Think about how filing for divorce will affect your children.
  • You could short-change yourself regarding marital assets. If your spouse gets that big holiday bonus, you'll have no claim to it if you've already filed for divorce. There may also be tax consequences to a year-end divorce. You should tally the financial implications of divorcing before year's end.
  • The stress could be unbearable. Divorce is stressful and so are the holidays. Consider the shopping, cleaning, decorating, entertaining, gift-wrapping and everything else that can make the holidays stressful. It is usually the busiest time of year; do you really want to add the stress of a divorce on top of all that?

Deciding when to divorce is a personal decision that may come with either benefits or consequences. Before you take action, consider your welfare-and your children's welfare-as well as the financial implications involved in both pre- and post-holiday divorce.

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