It is not uncommon for families to delay taking steps toward separation until after the holidays are over.  For many, this can mean sadness, tension and worry that their children may be affected by the breakdown of the relationship.

It is normal to put off difficult first steps.  It is also normal to be hopeful that time together with the family may provide a chance to rethink such a big decisions.

Adding to the mix is the seasonal overspending that most of us succumb to every year.  Sober financial realities get pushed aside.  Credit card statements that will resurface in January are part of the tensions and worry for those already confused about how they will restructure finances if they separate.

Here are a few tips that may help:

*   Find activities for the family that are cost free such as skating, a winter walk around Toronto Islands,  a stroll on the boardwalk in the Beaches, etc.

*   Take the first step and look into mediation or Collaborative Practice before the holidays so that you have some idea what it is all about.

*   Set an example of good communications in front of your children. When you finally tell them about the separation, you will be able to point to the holidays as a time when you were already thinking about separation and help them see that you will still be able to talk to one another.

*   Try having a good conversation about budgeting for the holidays.

*   Set some new traditions that will mark the season.

Remember that there are many services for helping families have a good separation.  The more you are involved in making decisions about how you will separate the better the outcome will be for the whole family.

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