Tips on how to get a divorce if Christmas was the final straw
In this blog, we set out how to get divorced amicably if Christmas has been the straw that’s broken the camel’s back.
My own divorce became a reality at Christmas, five years ago, so I sympathise with anyone facing the prospect of divorce for Christmas and/or the New Year. I spent the holidays googling how to get divorced. There’s never a ‘good’ time, but the contrast to other families’ togetherness at this time of year feels especially hard.
Christmas and New Year is a time when emotions are running high. Couples are potentially spending a lot more time together than usual. If you’re struggling to get on and you realise that your relationship is over, this guide will help you decide whether it’s over, what to do next and how to get divorced.
1. Before you start
Make sure it’s over
All relationships have their issues, but some behaviour is more problematic than others. Research shows there are four communication issues that make a relationship more likely to end in divorce: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. When all four are active in a relationship, it’s probably too late to save it. When defensiveness and stonewalling are present, your relationship has a chance to survive with outside help such as couples counselling.*
Listen to this episode of The Divorce Podcast to learn more about the variety of couples counselling out there:
However, to change criticism and contempt, it’s much harder and requires individual counselling for the person who engages in them. If you need help with counselling, you can find out more here.
Prepare before you tell your partner its over
This is an important conversation and may set the tone for the type of divorce you will have. Plan it and prepare for it. Make time when the kids aren’t around (create the situation if necessary) and when you won’t be interrupted or distracted. This is the conversation to tell your partner clearly you have reached the end of the line. Convey one message and one message only. ‘It’s over, I’m sorry this is so hurtful, but I’m decided, and I won’t change my mind’.
It’s best not to defend yourself against criticism levelled or rise to any bait. This is the time for maximum self-control. Make it clear you hope to discuss things and make amicable arrangements with everybody’s best interests at heart, but that now is not the time. If you need help with this conversation speak to one of our Divorce Specialists by clicking the button below:
2. Christmas & divorce – step-by-step
There are three things you need to sort out when you get divorced:
Make arrangements for your children
The first and most important thing to agree is where your children will live, how they will see both of you, who will pay for what and how you will raise them. This is called a Parenting Plan. You can download your free plan by clicking the below button.
Decide on your financial arrangements
Next, agree what will happen to your home, where you will live in the future and what money, assets and debts you have to divide. This is called a Financial Disclosure.
Submit the legal paperwork
- Submit your Divorce Application
- Next, apply for a Conditional Order
- If you want to make your agreements legally binding you will also need to apply for a consent order
- Finally, apply for a Final Order.
3. amicable recommends
Don’t call a lawyer
Lawyers operate in our adversarial judicial system, and this means they can only represent one of you. Lawyers are duty bound to promote your interests above those of your partner. This rarely ends amicably as there is only one winner. Speaking to a lawyer can, therefore, create conflict and this can be costly…
Do some basic research
There is lots of information about how to get divorced, but it can be hard to know which websites you can trust. You can find everything you need to know about separating and getting divorced on the amicable website. We write blogs in plain English, and we cover topics to help you through each part of your divorce. Start with divorce basics, our guide to how to get divorced.
Don’t let costs get out of hand
It can cost an awful lot of money to divorce, especially if you have shared finances or children. The average spend on legal fees in the UK is £8,000. Doing things acrimoniously adds huge expense. amicable offers a fixed costs which you can spread over 3-6 months. This is half the cost of a typical mediation and less than a third of the cost of going to a lawyer. We also offer emotional support and guidance around how to do the best for your kids.
Find a way to divorce that’s right for you and your family
Chances are you’ll be able to fill in and file your own divorce paperwork directly with the court if you have no shared finances and no children. Couples with finances to split or child arrangements to make can also look at alternative ways of divorcing such as mediation. However, mediation can end with no agreement. A better alternative may be arbitration.
amicable offers fixed-price arbitration for £1250 per person – ten times cheaper than going to court and months faster. You can find out more about arbitration here.
Master your emotional journey
Emotions make the complicated process of divorce and separation more difficult. Our Divorce Specialists are always on hand to guide you through the tricky decisions that may leave you feeling sad or frustrated. Mastering your emotions is a crucial skill and leaves you much better placed to co-parent successfully.
If you’re headed for separation in January, take comfort, you are not alone. Divorce Day – the first Monday after the Christmas and New Year period - is looming, and many couples submit for divorce after the festive holiday.
We are here to help and amicable offers free divorce advice. Register for free 15-minute chat with one of our friendly Divorce Specialists by clicking here.
Should I wait until after Christmas to ask for a divorce?
Deciding to get a divorce, no matter the season, is a significant decision, and the timing can be sensitive, especially around the holidays. There's not a universally right or wrong time to ask for a divorce—it depends on your circumstances and what feels right for you.
What is the divorce rate at Christmas? (UK)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the UK typically releases annual divorce statistics, but these reports might not always provide detailed information about divorce rates specifically around the Christmas period.
How do I deal with divorce at Christmas?
Dealing with divorce during the holiday season can be exceptionally challenging. But there are a few key tips which are worth remembering: acknowledge your feelings; keep up with your self-care; reach out for permission; take up healthy habits. There are many more which you can read about by clicking here.
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