As Thanksgiving approaches, the question I get most often from clients is whether to split now or after the holidays? It’s a tough call to make, and very personal. In typical lawyer fashion, I tell everyone it depends on you– if you are the type of person that can keep it together and will enjoy the time with your spouse and kids, then it might be best for everyone if you could grin and bear it until Dec. 31st so that the holidays in the future will not be associated with any negative connotations. However, if you can’t stand to be in the same house a day longer and/or there is a lot of bickering going on already, then it might be a relief to everyone if the split occured prior to the holidays.

If the kids are so little that they won’t recall anything, then the timing may not matter as much, but when you have older children that are going to remember certain events like when mommy or daddy left the house, you have to be super sensitive to their emotional safety.

The other big factor to consider is money. Can you afford to move out and still help support your kids’ expenses or contribute to the mortgage? You need to run your monthly expenses and determine if you can rent another place, or else you may need to crash with your parents or friends. I cannot tell you how many people in this economy have had to move back in with their parents or another relative– a harsh reality for anyone over 25.

Keep in mind, you will also have new expenses like attorney’s fees and perhaps child support. Someone may even request temporary alimony during the split, which could really create havoc on your budget. To better understand the consequences of moving out, and review the pros and cons of a split, wise people go and get a consult before making any major decisions. It is so much easier to help someone plan properly in order to avoid a disaster versus having to clean up a mess that has already been created.

Remember, divorce is like an amputation- we are cutting out a part of your life, and you can either do it methodically with a surgeon or do it yourself with a butcher’s knife. I’d like to see people avoid a blood bath and enjoy the holidays, so make sure you weigh your options carefully with an expert.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.