January has the distinction of being the month when courts receive the highest number of divorce filings across the country and in Missouri. The holidays are over and many couples decide they just cannot spend another year together.
Going through a divorce during the holidays also puts a strain on a family and children that most couples seek to avoid. There are several benefits to waiting to file for a St. Louis divorce in the New Year after the rush of the holidays is over, such as buying more time to cool emotions and put together a plan.
Over the holidays, emotions run high as everyone strives for the perfect Christmas. Making changes at the last minute to an in-law visit or planned holiday vacation are often difficult. Holding up appearances may also ease the impact on children.
When the topic of divorce comes up during the holidays, one spouse may argue that it ruined the holidays and be less amenable to settle. This may mean a longer, drawn out process as even small issues blow up. This can lead to fights over a golf club or china set that your ex- knows means something to you.
Another risk of addressing divorce over the holidays is that an angry ex-spouse may use retail therapy and charge up credit cards during the shopping season. Often after the holidays, expensive items have already been purchased as gifts and the motivation to go out and buy big items is lower.
At the beginning of a new year, many begin the process of collecting documents for taxes. W-2s, 1099s, and investment account updates all come in preparation of tax time. It can be a good time to start putting together a picture of household income and expenses. Make copies of documentation, so that you have adequate records for negotiations related to the division of marital property and debt.
While there may not be immediate tax benefits, because a separating couple will likely file joint taxes until the divorce is finalized, a filing does get the process moving. The start of the year is also a time to put away some extra funds or a portion of a bonus to use in retaining an attorney.
If one of your New Year's resolutions involves separating from a spouse, contact a local divorce attorney to discuss the details. When a relationship breaks down, the dissolution process can easily include emotion that clouds judgment. A lawyer can assist with negotiations and prepare you for trial, if necessary.