Divorce Filings Spike in January – Is This Good?

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As these recent articles in Huffington Post and MarketWatch indicate, the number of divorce filings spike in January – upward of 25-30 percent higher than average. Why?

Many people who feel upset or unhappy in their marriage usually do not want to take any action during the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Years – maybe to spare the children, maybe to try and enjoy the holidays with hope of saving the marriage, and maybe just to avoid being alone during the holidays. But inevitably the holidays only bring up more of the problems that bothered the troubled spouses in September or October, leaving them fully frustrated and exasperated. So, by the beginning of the year, many of these same spouses want to make a New Year’s resolution – to get a divorce. Given all the pain and disappointment, starting the year off in this manner feels liberating.

Only one problem – it may be a terrible idea, or at least the wrong time.

Divorce is a life-altering decision with permanent consequences and should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, when we feel most emotional, we tend to make impulsive decisions and we may not have thought through all the implications. For example, will this decision hurt the children, particularly at this time in their lives? Do I have enough financial information to make an informed judgment about what I stand to lose from a divorce? Do I have a budget prepared, housing secured and other necessary contingencies? Once you file for divorce, you will not have easy access to certain documents you may have now, as well as perhaps your house. And once the ball gets rolling, you may find out you were not emotionally prepared for what happens when the process begins.

Given all of these emotion-over-reason issues, taking some time to process through the turmoil of the holidays might be a better solution. Not only do you get a chance to cool down, you get the chance to receive your tax materials for the previous year, collect all your financial documents, assess how viable financially a divorce would be at this time, and think through what type of custody arrangement you would like for the children and how you plan to tell them of your decision. The more thought you put into divorce before visiting a lawyer, the better informed you will be when you have your initial client meeting.

Your resolution to divorce may indeed be what you need for this year – but timing is everything and you want to be prepared financially and emotionally.

If you have questions about January divorce, contact us – we can help.

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