Divorce and holidays don’t usually mix well

People in Massachusetts may have seen a recent article about divorce during holidays, and how even stressed out couples who can’t wait to get a divorce may have some incentives to hold off on filing for divorce until after ringing in the New Year.

The holidays are a stressful enough time as it is, which is why adding a divorce to the list of unpleasantness is often an unpopular thing to do. There is also the possibility that a spouse will view filing for divorce during the holidays as a vindictive move, and may be more inclined to drag out a divorce out of spite. Also, a spurned spouse is more likely to do something financially destructive, like run up a major credit card bill, when the timing of divorce and holidays collide.

There may also be financial advantages to waiting until January to file for divorce. For example, an end-of-the-year bonus for either spouse is generally deemed marital property, but if your spouse receives it after the divorce is filed, it has a better chance of being recorded as separate property. In addition, 2013 will likely bring new tax laws, which may help or hurt a person, depending on whether they will be the party paying alimony or receiving alimony.

The end of the year also means end-of-year financial statements, which make it a marginally more convenient time to begin planning and collecting the necessary financial documents needed to head into a divorce proceeding on solid ground. While it probably won’t affect anything tax-wise before filing in April, it will make it easier to take account of household finances and total marital assets.

Source: NBC News “Considering a divorce? Wait until January,” by Geoff Williams, Dec. 27, 2012

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