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Divorce plans strap, stress spouses through holidays

The announcement of a breakup is often suspended during the holidays. Houston spouses spare the news to one another, children and relatives to avoid awkwardness or embarrassment. No one wants to associate a family-centered holiday season with separation or divorce.

Divorce litigation may be stalled to make room for what is expected to be a festive time. Meanwhile, spouses planning to leave a relationship worry over how the coming change will stress their children, living conditions and financial future. The holidays also provide an opportunity to reconsider the choice or prepare for separation or the end of a marriage.

The money that a family is expected to spend for gift giving complicates divorce finances. Economic uncertainty is problematic at any time of year, but especially when divorce is looming and credit cards are stretched to the limit.

Matrimonial advisors suggest using the season to sort out what to expect when a separation occurs. Stay conscious of joint purchases through the holidays. Designate which spouse will pay what gift-giving bill and stick to a pre-planned budget.

Use the time between now and a divorce announcement to assess marital assets. Along with searching for decorations in the attic, look for stored financial documents. Updates and histories of account statements, tax records, credit balances, retirement savings, stock plans and other investments are valuable files to have for divorce settlements.

Contact creditors to learn the status of accounts, especially after adding significant purchases during the holidays. Open a separate credit card account, if one does not already exist, to establish an individual credit line. Examine credit reports. Tally debts, including everyday and unusual expenses.

Investigate the availability and affordability of new housing arrangements. Seek advice counseling for emotional, legal or financial questions that cannot be answered or managed alone.

Communicate fairly with a spouse. You may not be with your partner next year at this time, but establishing solid communication before divorce will help spouses co-parent effectively.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Thinking Separation Over The Holidays," Eva Sachs and Marion Korn, Nov. 27, 2012

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Law Office of Michael D. Tracton, P.C.

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