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Why Is January Divorce Month?

January is the month when most divorces are filed.

According to the courts, January is the month when most divorces are filed. It may be because the holidays are over or because people want a fresh start at the New Year.

Some couples who've been planning to break up choose to avoid disrupting their families during the holidays. Others may be hoping that their situation or their partner's behaviors will change, and when nothing shifts, they opt for dissolution, which at best is a sad thing.

Trying to find the right time for such a monumental move is always a difficult challenge, and there may not be a perfect moment. If you have tried counseling, communicating, and compromising, you may believe that divorce is your only option.

Break it to the kids gently and slowly

Of course, a break-up is less traumatic if the chicks are out of the nest and it's just the two of you. If you do have kids, and especially if they are young, a divorce can shatter their worlds and make them feel very insecure.

If you have children, you need to break the news to them gently and slowly. A good place to start is to tell them that it is not their fault and that Dad and Mom will always be there and will always, and in all ways, love them. Some additional reassurance as to how their lives will not change is also highly recommended. Do your best to keep things as normal as possible.

If your child begins to act out by not doing well in school or by being more difficult than usual, I would advise that you at least get him or her to one counseling session for an evaluation. Some kids don't show any signs of their inner struggles, and in all cases, you must talk with them about how they are feeling and dealing with the changes.

Make a plan to take care of yourself

For the adults involved, divorce will change your life forever. You will get over it, but studies show that overall satisfaction with life may diminish significantly, so it's important that you make a plan to take care of yourself. Isolation is not your friend, and neither is going out and trying to party away your pain. If you do decide to date, go slowly. Also remember that if you bring someone home and your kids are there, you are condoning premarital sex and it's bound to make your children feel uncomfortable.

Don't beat yourself up

Whether you've chosen or perhaps feel forced to make this huge change in your life, the process is never easy. To make it a little less hurtful, avoid beating yourself up. Going through the would-a, should-a, could-a's is natural, but it's not very healing. Be aware that bargaining with yourself is part of the grieving process, along with sadness, anger, denial, and finally, acceptance.

Getting back into the swing of things may take longer than you'd like it to, but if you take small steps and trust that life will go on, you will heal and find love again.

More from Barton Goldsmith Ph.D.
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