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Should you wait until the new year to ask for a divorce?

January is a big month for divorces. Attorneys and other divorce experts say that this because many couples decide to stick it out through the holidays to preserve family harmony. No one wants to explain why their marriage is breaking up to assorted friends and relatives over holiday gatherings. They also want their children to enjoy a happy family Christmas. In some cases, it’s all of that end-of-year holiday togetherness that marks the last straw for a marriage.

There are also some financial advantages to waiting until the beginning of the year or even a few months later to file for divorce. You may want to consider if these are worth waiting until after the holidays for.

An angry spouse and constant advertisements for year-end sales can be a dangerous combination. Of course, spouses can always retaliate by running up credit card debt or draining bank accounts. That’s why you want to work with your family law attorney to take steps to prevent that before you ask for a divorce. However, pre-Christmas sales of 72-inch TVs and other large ticket items can be can be particularly tempting to a spurned husband or wife.

Many people get year-end bonuses and stock options, and some of them can be significant. If the bonus hits a joint account before you file for divorce, that’s marital property. You may want to consider if that’s worth waiting for.

You’ll be getting year-end statements for your accounts and investments. Be sure to keep copies of these. As noted, your family law attorney can advise you about what kind of documentation you need to have at the ready regarding assets and debts.

If you wait until after the craziness of the holiday season is over, you’ll have more time to do the planning that you should do before asking for a divorce. In some cases, it’s best to wait until April. If you have your tax returns prepared before you seek a divorce, that’s more documentation of income that you have to back up what you are seeking in a settlement and support.

Your Louisiana family law attorney can offer advice based on your particular situation whether it’s best to go ahead with the divorce or wait until the new year. Sometimes no amount of money is worth waiting to get out of a marriage. In other cases, some strategic planning can make that wait worthwhile.

Source: Reuters, “Considering divorce? Good reasons to wait for January,” Geoff Williams, accessed Dec. 04, 2015

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