During the holiday season, individuals, couples, and families take this time to reflect and create personal and family resolutions for the new year. It’s a time which aims to bring married couples and families closer together while inspiring future aspirations to be achieved throughout the year to come. Unfortunately, however, the end of the year is also a time that marks the separation of many couples who have chosen to go their own separate ways. This occurs because it is easier for some to start the new year separated or as a couple who has filed a petition for divorce. In addition, couples who have children may wait until the beginning of the year to separate or file for divorce because they want to ensure that their family can enjoy the holiday season without having to immediately worry about a changing family unit.
Within the state of North Carolina, a couple must be separated and living in different primary residences for a year in order to file a petition for divorce. Once the year is completed, then a separated couple can file. If you are considering a dissolution of marriage during the holiday season, here are some things to think about:
- Course of Action: When it comes to dissolving a marriage, it is never an easy decision to make. If you have decided that separation and divorce is the right decision for you, your spouse, and your family, it is important to understand you do not need to go through the legal process on your own. This is especially true if your spouse has hired their own legal counsel or a family law attorney.
- Obtain Representation: If you are planning to legally separate and file for divorce during the holiday season and at the start of the new year, it may be in your best interest to consult with a family law office, family law specialist, or an experienced family law attorney or divorce lawyer. Family law and divorce lawyers are knowledgeable and know the ins and outs of the legal process for filing for divorce, obtaining spousal support, dealing with fair distribution of assets, and handling matters related to children such as child custody and support.
- Keep Documentation: It is important to keep all documentation relevant to your finances and assets before and during your marriage, as well as spousal and family records. By having all documentation and records on hand, it will aid your attorney in finding a more favorable outcome for you and if applicable, your children.
- Take Children into Account: The holiday season is a time children enjoy. They are usually out of school and have more time to spend with family and friends. Children also notice the changes around them. Though it can be difficult to tell children about the divorce and how a family unit will change and function, it’s important to uphold respect for your spouse in front of your children. Try to avoid arguing about private matters regarding the divorce, child custody, child support, and/or other legal matters around them. Remaining platonic in the presence of a child may help in the period of transition.
When a relationship ends and the structure of a family changes, it can be exceptionally difficult during the holiday season and into the new year. Once shared resolutions and goals change based on the best interest of the spouses who have parted. If children are involved, a new way of daily life changes. Again, you do not need to go through the legal process on your own. Seeking a family law attorney can help give comfort to you by providing assistance throughout your entire legal process, even during the holiday season.