This is the time of year when we join together and say, “where did the year go?” It’s also a time when we take inventory of the past year, think about what worked and what didn’t, and make resolutions to correct habits while we seize opportunities in the new year. For many couples, this may mean deciding to get a divorce. Statistics have shown that January is the most popular month for people to file for divorce, especially for married couples with children. Research shows that married couples do not want to deprive their children of a happy holiday season, so they wait until January to start this process. 

Divorce is a life-altering decision, and knowing when to end a marriage is deeply personal. As difficult as the separation process is, look at the next 12 months as a new opportunity. It is the perfect time to create resolutions that will get you through a divorce and help move you on to a new life. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you write your new year plans.

First, keep your kids out of the middle of your divorce or post-divorce relationship issues. As you enjoy the holidays together, work on a plan to protect your children during the divorce. Your children shouldn’t hear about your financial settlement, your ex’s affairs, or any other problems between you and your ex. Learning to be a good co-parent means regularly communicating how to make the separation of the family as seamless as possible. Being on the same page regarding school, health, and vacations will ease the stress of the kids playing the go-between in the divorce.

Make a resolution to take a deep dive into your finances. In some marriages, the day-to-day fiscal responsibility falls on one partner. If that was not you, now is the time to start. The first step is to list all the debts you and your spouse have. Spend time on your credit reports to ensure they align with your list. It is good to know if you find fraudulent or questionable charges at the onset of the process. You should also take an inventory of individual and marital property, from jewelry to rental properties, and know precisely what you owe on all items. This will be critical for the division of assets, whether you hire a legal professional or a mediator to handle your divorce.

As part of your resolution, you should also create a financial plan outlining your first 12 months of expenses as a newly single person, which should begin now, during the holiday season. It is a time, to be honest with yourself about what you can afford during this transition period. This is not the best time to overextend yourself to have the best holiday ever before the divorce because the debt that will follow you into the new year will create added tension. Unlike a “save more money” resolution, include a detailed budget that lists your monthly responsibilities, from food to utilities. This will provide a complete overview of your financial situation and help you plan to maintain your lifestyle or something remarkably close. 

Finally, take some time to look at last year and think about the challenges you faced, how you handled them, and what you want to change. Be honest about your anger, grief, and guilt, but don’t dwell on it. Forgive your ex and yourself, and visualize your life living happily and healthy in a year. That is a great reason to pop some bubbly and raise a glass to the new year and your new resolve!

Rebecca L. Palmer, Esq. is a Family & Marital Law attorney practicing in Florida. She is the Managing Partner of the Rebecca L. Palmer Law Group, and she can be reached at