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A stressful holiday season can lead couples to divorce court

With Thanksgiving coming up followed swiftly by the holiday season, year-end anticipation is about to begin for most people. However, the holidays may prove to be less than exciting for shaky marriages, and January is prime time for divorce filings.

A survey of troubled marriages

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, legal firms find that more divorce filings occur in January than at any other time of the year. In 2014, the firm of Slater and Gordon in the U.K. decided to undertake a survey to learn more about the reasons behind this trend. A polling of British couples just before Christmas revealed that 40 percent of respondents indicated that they were having marital problems while 25 percent felt that the holidays would “make or break” their marriage. To put their relationship back on track, some couples planned romantic date nights without their children, some were going to give their spouses expensive gifts and others were simply opting for cozy nights together at home.

The pressure mounts

Holidays put considerable pressure on families. Often, it is a matter of wanting everything to be perfect for the sake of the children. Anticipation and excitement are common ingredients, but if expectations are not met and the holidays are more of a letdown than anything else, the outlook for a troubled marriage is not positive.

The tax picture

The new year plays a big role this year in divorce decisions because the law is changing. In any divorce that begins after December 31, 2018, the spouse who pays alimony cannot claim a deduction, while the spouse who receives the alimony will not have to pay taxes on that money.

Planning ahead

You may have concerns about your marriage, and those concerns may deepen if you have children. You could hope that the upcoming holidays hold the answers to the marital questions troubling you, but keep in mind that your expectations for a little holiday magic may fall short. If you are contemplating divorce, the best course of action as the holidays approach is to engage in an honest assessment of your situation and possible preplanning before the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

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