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January and You May Be Thinking About Divorce

January 8, 2022

In the family law world, January is a busy month. It is traditionally the month with the most divorce filings of the year.

Many people hang on through holidays, hoping for things to improve or at least not wanting to undermine the enjoyment of the time for the kids.

Then bang. Things come to a head.

I have to imagine that with this lockdown upon us, those whose lives together were difficult enough, are even more so without a break from each other.

Adding to the stress is likely needing to rely on each other for homeschooling as well as the financial insecurity the pandemic imposes.

With Omicron, there is also a greater likelihood of a family member ill and if one, then it may be all.

With all of that, January may indeed be treacherous for many.

Survive. Please survive.

Things to help survive may include the following:

1) Set out a schedule for care of kids between you.

2) If you just cannot stand each other, and money is tight, consider “nesting.” That is when the kids remain in the home and the parents cycle in and out, each staying with a friend or family when not their turn to care for the kids. While not a long term solution, it can help in a pinch.

3) As much as you may want to badmouth the other parent to the kids, resist. This only increases the likelihood of further conflict as well as emotional harm to the children.

4) Budget yourself. Take the time to figure out your personal expenses and compare to your income. Cut back wherever possible. To live separately is more expensive. Plan now.

5) If seeking a lawyer, do know their training can differ significantly. Do ask about training and experience handling matters without the threat of court. Going to court typically increases conflict, the length of time to settle matter and cost. If you can, avoid court like the plaque (no pun intended).

6) Consider counseling. If attending together, the purpose can be to help communicate more effectively and minimize conflict. If individually, the purpose can be how to manage yourself under pressure and how to bring your better self to the negotiating table.

7) If you have a particularly nasty partner, coaching on how to best approach them can be invaluable.

8) Always check out the credentials and experience of the service provider. Be sure whoever you choose has a knowledge and background working with separating couples. This is a special area.

The goal of all the above is survival. You want to get through this as unscathed as possible.

Despite those memes about good divorces, they are still messy and painful. You will need support along the way. Those who find and use some support typically do better in the long run.

Lastly, you are not alone. You are not the first. You will not be the last. People do survive and move on with their lives.

Being planful helps.

Are you following me on Facebook yet? If not, you are missing many more posts!

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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