When the Holiday Party Is Over

When the Holiday Party Is Over by Joshua Katz

{2:55 minutes to read} Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, festive trees with glowing lights and stockings hung by the chimney…

In contrast to all of these wonderful traditions, the holidays can greatly increase the stress on a troubled marriage. When there are incompatibility issues and you are spending more time in close quarters with your spouse and extended family, tempers often flare.

Everyone tries not to make a scene in front of the children, but when the party’s over and the in-laws retire to the guest room, it all comes out. Terrible fights ensue. Immediately following the holidays, in early January, begins my busiest season as a divorce attorney. That is when I get the phone calls.

According to national statistics, the three leading causes of divorce are:

  1. Basic incompatibility;
  2. Infidelity; and
  3. Money issues. 

Emotional or physical abuse and parenting issues are the 4th and 5th leading factors, at much lower rates; and less than 1% of divorces are caused by addiction and alcoholism. In my experience, “basic incompatibility” includes (indeed is frequently caused by) issues with in-laws and extended family members.

Not that I keep statistics on my clients, but in my personal experience, it seems that in-law problems and money are the two leading causes I encounter, followed distantly by infidelity.

Should I file for divorce?

When asked this question, I tell clients that I do not give marital advice. I am only here for them if/when they make the decision to divorce.

I will say, however, that I do not believe couples should stay together “for the sake of the children.” Children sense unhappiness in the relationship. By staying together, you provide children with a poor sense of the meaning of marriage, and they will grow up thinking that love and closeness are not necessary pieces of the equation.

If you and your spouse are not happy together, your children sense it. You are not doing them a favor by “sticking it out.” The time to get divorced is when you are no longer happy in your marriage.

As an attorney for children, I see this from the viewpoint of the child whose parents stay together for him, and I see how unhappy and confused that child is.  

People often come in for a consultation and have difficulty deciding whether they should file for divorce. An extremely high percentage of them come back, usually, right after the holidays. We are here to help when and if you decide.

What issues are holiday stressors illuminating in your marriage?

Happy holidays from Plaine & Katz!


Plaine & Katz, LLP
80-02 Kew Gardens Rd.
Suite # 1050
Kew Gardens, NY 11415
Website: PlaineKatz.com
Email: josh@plainekatz.com, mark@plainekatz.com

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