During the holidays, many families struggle with these three questions:
1. Where will we be for the holidays?
2. Who will we be with?
3. How much will we spend?
If a couple is not on the same page with respect to these issues, they tend to face a perfect storm that can bring out some very deep-seeded issues about their difference in priorities, as well as their overall preferences on how to best allocate the family’s limited resources of time, money and energy. On top of all this, input from other family members during the holidays can play a huge part in fueling any fires between a couple that is experiencing marital strife.
There is also the added financial component of year-end statements, Usually around the end of December/beginning of January, individuals will receive their account summaries that show how much they earned, spent, and saved throughout the whole year. These numbers will show a picture that may make some uneasy, especially if goals were not met or agreements to save or pay down debt were not kept.
As the new year begins, a lot of families will sit down to set a budget for upcoming expenses, discuss financial goals and tax obligations, and/or plan vacations, special events, etc. However, this will be very hard to do for those that feel disappointed by the holidays or betrayed by their spouse’s year-end numbers (for example if not enough was saved, or too much was spent).
While a lot of us may feel a bit blue after the holidays simply due to the fact that the festivities are over, couples facing an existential crisis in their marriage are in for a painful day of reckoning, as they try to reconcile their expectations of the partnership with the reality, which has a tendency to feel like a smack in the face when all the factors mentioned above come together to create fertile ground for conflict.
Those that still have hope, will try to work things out. But those that believe they are better off exiting the marriage will want to cut their losses as quickly as possible so they can move on, the sooner the better. This is why we see such a spike in divorces after the holidays.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.