Christmas tree

Should You File For Divorce Before or After the Holidays?

The holidays are just over a month away and we often see many clients wrestling with whether or not to file for divorce before or after the holiday season. In our professional opinion, there are good and bad points to both choices. There are several reasons to grin and bear it until after the holiday season practically, financially and emotionally. Yet, filing for divorce before the end of year can give you the peace of mind to start the New Year fresh and avoid any chance that something could derail your divorce plans like an illness or loss of a job.

Reasons to Delay Divorce until After the Holidays

  • If you and your spouse can maintain civility and amicability through the holidays, it may be a good idea to get through them if you have kids at home. This will help keep your children from associating the holidays with the divorce. It is hard for children to adapt to a new home and the idea of spending the holidays separately with each parent. No, we’re not saying to “stay together for the kids”, but it is an unintentional consequence that you must consider.
  • This may seem superficial and materialistic, but things like this are what you pay your attorney to think about for you—year-end bonuses. If your spouse received a year-end bonus, you may be hurting your chances of receiving half of it. Of course, even if you wait until January to file, you may encounter backlash from your spouse’s attorney. If the payment is considered to be for services from the past year, you have a good chance of receiving half since you lived with your spouse for the entire year.
  • Taxes are not always at the forefront of your mind when you are wrestling with the idea of filing for divorce, but waiting until the first of the year will make filing the previous year much easier. Beginning the New Year with a clean slate so to speak, will make tax preparation much simpler in the future.
  • You will have the opportunity to gather information for your attorney such as all marital assets and debts. You will also have the opportunity to get personal things such as finances and a place to live if you will be moving out of the family home.

Reasons to File for Divorce before the Holidays

  • If you and your spouse are continuously fighting, delaying the divorce may do more harm than good. Delaying the inevitable only places all parties, including your children, under stress.
  • Many life factors beyond your control can happen in a split second causing you to delay your divorce plans. Significant events such as the loss of job or an illness can negate your feelings of wanting a divorce. After all, you have history with this person and you can’t help but feel drawn to want to help them through such a difficult time.
  • If it’s time, it’s time. Delaying a divorce to avoid short-term pain is still going to hurt in the end. It is going to hurt the people that it will hurt regardless of when you do it.
  • Knowing the decision you will ultimately make could make the holidays harder on everyone by stewing on it.
  • If your spouse is abusive, it is imperative that you leave him or her immediately for your safety as well as your children’s safety.

Whether you decide to file for divorce before the end of the year or after is a personal decision that must have all outcomes weighed for your best interest as well as your children’s best interests. Remember, what matters the most is how you deliver the news to those immediately affected by the decision. Of course, you need to be sensitive of the timing. For example, it is not advisable to do it on Christmas morning or any significant day for that matter.

We at Kevin Hickey Law Partners encourage you to schedule a consultation with us to help you determine the best timing. Even if you decide to wait until after the first of the year, it is a good idea to make your appointment today to begin preparations for the filing. Our experience will help you make the best decisions for your circumstance to help you get through the holiday season.