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Timing of divorce filing can make a difference, P.1

In any profession, there are things you don’t learn until you get on the job. Once you’ve been practicing family law for a number of years, one of the patterns you start to see is that the number of divorce filings starts to increase and the number of people beginning to think seriously about divorce picks up. The number of divorce filings actually peaks in March.

There are a variety of possible reasons for the pattern, some of them financial in nature. For instance, some wait for divorce until the beginning of the year in order to make sure they can claim a portion of their spouse’s annual bonus. Filing in the first several months of the year also allows couples to have a cleaner cut-off point for tax purposes. There are also social and psychological reasons why more divorce cases are filed in January and March.

The issue of timing is not an unimportant one in divorce. Children can be a factor. Certain ages may be better than others for divorce in terms of the impact on children. Some couple choose to wait until children leave home to minimize the impact of divorce, but many couples choose not to wait that long.

Finances can be a factor as well. For many couples, divorce is put on the back burner while waiting for greater financial security. Various other financial issues can come into play as well. It may be wise to wait, if possible, until one spouse is set to receive large inheritance, if a spouse’s company is about to receive a windfall or to go public, or if the financially weaker spouse has not yet reached the age at which he or she is eligible to receive Social Security retirement benefits based on the other spouse’s record. For a financially weaker spouse, this could make a difference in the timing of a divorce filing.

We’ll continue looking at this topic in our next post, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney when planning for divorce.

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Timing of divorce filing can make a difference, P.1 | Peter A D'Angelo, Attorney at Law, PLC