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Should you wait until after the holidays to file for divorce?

When it comes to ending a marriage, timing is everything. The level of stress, emotional anguish and even the financial costs can vary based upon when you file for divorce

For example, many couples who have decided to split wait to do so until after the holidays. In fact, anecdotal evidence shows that January, February and March tend to be the most popular months for divorce. Why wait?

Sure, you might want to get out of your marriage right now. And, the thought of a holiday dinner with your in-laws might be cringeworthy, but there are several reasons to grin and bear it until the new year.

4 Reasons To Wait To File

  1. Your children's happiness. While staying together indefinitely may not be best for your children, or for you, keeping your family in-tact for the holiday season may be nice. Announcing your divorce right before cherished holiday traditions could be traumatic for your children. If you can make it through the season without exposing your children to heated arguments and related drama, it may be best do so.
  2. Holiday bonuses. If you file before your spouse gets his or her holiday bonus, you may be cheating yourself out of a cut. If the bonus comes in during January, but you filed in December, it could be considered separate property.
  3. Tax clarity. Filing early in the new year will create a distinct line from year to year, providing some clarity as to how you and your spouse should file your taxes and divide assets.
  4. Time to gather records. Filing in January will give you time to collect your household's end-of-year financial statements. Obtaining records of all of your household assets and debts will help you achieve a fair property division settlement.

As you can see, there are reasons to wait until the new year to file for divorce. However, there are downsides to waiting, too. By postponing the inevitable, you may be prolonging an intolerable situation in your household. Additionally, if your spouse finds out that you are planning to file, he or she might beat you to it and take an offensive position. Your spouse may also take advantage of the opportunity to hide assets.

If you do not believe your current situation will change for the worse by waiting, consider trying to enjoy the holiday season. Your life will change dramatically when you file. Use this time to close this chapter of your life on as positive of a note as possible, and prepare yourself to start anew in 2016. 

When you are ready to discuss filing for divorce with an attorney, contact our law office in Fowlerville, Michigan, for a free legal consultation.

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