Being a divorce lawyer for 20+ years, I have observed patterns in when people hire divorce lawyers. Usually less people file for divorce during the holidays, choosing to stay together “for the kids”. But, I have found that many people decide to start divorces after the New Year, making it part of their new year’s resolution. So, divorce lawyers usually see an upturn in new filings in January and February.
Apparently divorces rank up there with weight loss as one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions that people make, according to Eric Sotoloff in his blog post The New Year’s Resolution Divorce. People seem to want to start the new year with a fresh start – “new year, new life”.
Geoff Williams writes that there are sound financial reasons to wait until January to file for divorce in his article Considering a divorce? Wait until January. Besides wanting a harmonious holiday, a spouse may get a bonus at the end of the year, so waiting to file the divorce until after the bonus comes in can be beneficial in the divorce.
Another consideration in deciding when to file for divorce is the tax effect of being divorced by the end of the year. A person’s status for filing taxes is determined as of the end of the year. With the changes likely coming in tax brackets in 2013 – and whether Congress lets us all fall off the “fiscal cliff” – divorce may be more financially advantageous in 2013 than it has been before.
Another benefit to waiting until after the holidays to file for divorce is that the wait provides time to plan. A spouse can start collecting all of the year-end statements from bank accounts, retirement account, credit cards, and the like. Financial records are an essential part of a divorce, being used to determine the extent of the marital assets and debts, as well as either party’s ability to support themselves while the divorce works through the process.
People often ask me when is the best time to file for divorce. I don’t know that there is ever a “best” time, but if you have decided that your marriage cannot be saved and you need to get a divorce, there is no time better than now. The sooner you get started, the sooner you will be finished. We are here to help you when you are ready to file a divorce. Give us a call.