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Is there a best time to divorce?

There is no easy answer to this question because every family situation is different. There may not be a specific best time, but if the situation allows for careful planning on the timing you may be able to avoid some of the more challenging times.

The timing of a divorce is usually a concern for those who have children. However, it can also come up as an issue in cases of couple who have no children together — or their children are grown and, as such, are a nonissue — but who have a complex financial situation. How long you have been married can affect whether you are eligible for spousal support or alimony and even how much the payments may be.

In the case of older couples, the timing of the divorce may be a significant factor when it comes to dividing assets such as retirement accounts. When it comes to these financial considerations, having a consultation with a family law attorney as soon as you are considering a divorce can help you decide on the best time to file.

For those with children, it may be a good idea to avoide divorcing when the children are preschool aged or in early adolescents as these two age groups tend to have the most difficulty processing the divorce and making the transition to a new normal. However, any time a marriage involves a high-conflict situations, such as constant fighting or domestic violence, or a threat to the child's well-being, such as in the case of substance abuse, it's usually best to start proceedings as soon as possible.

Source: Divorce Magazine, "What Is the Best Time to Divorce?," Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee, accessed April 20, 2016

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