TAMPA (BLOOM) – Family lawyers are once again preparing for what they predict will be a ‘spike’ in divorce filings as more relationships are expected to hit the rocks in January 2024. January is well established as the landmark month for divorce filings to spike, with the first full working day now coined as ‘D Day’.

The Divorce Coach, Sara Davison who is a multi-award-winning coach, podcaster, and twice best-selling author, joined Gayle Guyardo the host of the global health and wellness show Bloom to share how to holiday proofing your relationship.

“Divorce tends to spike at pivotal points in the family calendar, such as Christmas, which can be the inevitable melting pot for the increase in tensions and the magnifier of disputes.”, said Davison.

She went on to say, “Families face a lot of pressure at Christmas time, often, in part by placing high expectations on ourselves and other family members to create the ‘perfect Christmas’. This, coupled with financial pressures, mean that some families can reach a tipping point.”

Davison offers support to couples who are currently in relationships and for those who are dealing with the heartbreak of a breakup.

“It’s a sad fact that, when we do spend quality time with our partners, any cracks will start to show up. We don’t have the common distractions of daily routine, so we have more time to focus on the relationship. If the foundations are already rocky then holidays have a way of holding a mirror up to the relationship and it could well mean make or break time.” said Davison.

Davison said the good news is that, if you are aware of these pitfalls, there are things you can do to help your relationship survive Christmas holidays:

  1. Don’t let problems fester: I’ve yet to meet a spouse who can read minds, but I’ve met so many people who expect their partner to just know what they need. I’ve also seen many people push away their own needs as a way to feel invulnerable. If there are issues or needs you have that aren’t being met, then raise these in advance with your partner and work together to try and sort them out before it gets to boiling point and irreparable damage is done.
  2. Manage expectations: Set aside some time to discuss what you want from the holidays and how you see it working. Try and pinpoint any difficult demands and points of strain in advance and make compromises where needed that you are both comfortable with. Make a plan that you both agree to and are happy with. Some people want time off to relax over work and chill out while the other parent may want help with the kids. This can lead to arguments if expectations and a plan are not created before.
  3. Agree a financial budget for the Christmas period in advance and stick to it:
    Financial pressure is one of the biggest causes of tension at Christmas as families feel under enormous pressure to buy the latest toys for their children and have a lavish Christmas. If you’re worried about the cost of Christmas, you could try setting some spending limits for gifts or come up with ideas for presents that don’t need to be bought. Gifting some time to each other, where you agree to take care of the kids for an afternoon or even a romantic breakfast in bed can make wonderfully thoughtful gift.
  4. Make a conscious decision to stay calm and to keep spirits up over the holidays:
    Making a conscious effort to stay positive and calm is a simple but incredibly effective way to avoid tension building up. Good vibes are contagious. If you do find yourself simmering, take some deep breaths or try and get out for a walk to clear your head. Above all, recognize that people are stressed and don’t take the bait.