By Pamela Edwards-Swift, CFLS

Christmas! It comes too soon every year. As I write this article, it is still November, and we’ve just gone through a heat wave. It’s late fall and we had to turn on the air conditioner to sleep! Nevertheless, Christmas is upon us and so are the stress factors which go along with the holiday season. The same is true whether you are Christian or non-Christian. The stress has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. It has all to do with the non-secular side of the holiday season. Whether that stress is brought on by shopping, social commitments or family commitments, it can still difficult to endure.

I don’t know if it is the stress brought on by the holidays, or the desire to wait until after the holidays to make changes, but just after Christmas, the phones of divorce attorneys get busier than ever. Quite often I hear from new clients that they wanted to wait until after the holidays to “make their move.” I also tend to see an increase in domestic violence during the holidays. Not surprisingly, domestic violence this time of year seems to be brought on by stress and increased alcohol consumption.

This year, given the continued economic crisis we are in, the stress factor seems to be higher. Although the retailers are seeing a slight increase in spending so far, I am still hearing people talking about how tough it is for them. The future is no longer certain. A lot of people are frightened for themselves and their children. Adding divorce into the mix compounds everything.

If you are going through a divorce you need to know that you may not be able to control the ultimate outcome (divorce), but you can change the approach to getting there. The right approach can make the journey a lot easier. Traditional litigation tends to be the most expensive and most stressful way to divorce. Sometimes litigation is the only option given the situation. However, you need to know that you do have choices. You just need to determine what the right choice is for you and your family.

If you are faced with a divorce this holiday season, hang in there. Choose the right avenue for yoursituation. If you choose an attorney who only litigates, or one that only mediates, you have limited your options. My office provides all options for divorcing couples. At the very least, learn all of the options and then decide what is right for you, not the attorney.

December 2010

Pamela Edwards-Swift, Certified Family Law Specialist, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014; Southern California Super Lawyer