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Should I File for Divorce Before or After the Holidays?

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Making the decision to file for divorce is a difficult one but it can seem especially difficult during the holidays. If you are one of the many people who will be filing for divorce from your spouse, you may be tempted to wait until after the holidays. Many of us see this as "keeping the peace" during the holiday season. There is no easy answer but here are some factors you may want to take into consideration.

Understand the Impact of the Virus on your Divorce Timeline.

During COVID the courts are proceeding slowly. It may be wise to begin the process now because no matter how carefully your projected deadline is planned, something may still go wrong with it. Due to the delays, expect that home appraisals and business valuations will likely need to be revalued. The value you have arrived at today will likely change by the time your case is called. If you have already spoken with a real estate professional, understand that your timeline for selling your home will be effected by when you file. You financial documents will need to be updated. Job loss, drops in stocks and housing changes are all factors that are likely to change. Delays in filing will likely require significant updates to your financial documents. While you may be able to predict and prepare for your immediate financial needs, these can change quickly, and delaying your divorce may derail your current plans.

Excessive Spending

When a divorce is looming, some people change their spending habits. Whether it is a reaction to stress or due to more nefarious reasons, some spouses start excessively spending money. No matter what the reasons are you shouldn't be spending any differently during a divorce than you would typically. Especially during our current financial climate excessive spending is unwise. Marriages require some trust, so it is hard when your spouse ruins the trust you placed in them. However, it is your duty to pay attention to finances.

If you believe that the the excessive spending of your spouse is not beneficial to your marriage, you might have a claim for dissipation. When the court divides the marital property in your divorce case, dissipation is something that is considered by the court. It may be wise to consult with an attorney now, rather than wait until after the holidays, if this is a concern.

Unrealistic Expectations

Perhaps you have been lying in bed at night thinking about the things you used to do as a family: hanging the stockings, decorating the tree and engaging in other happy family traditions. However, this may be good time to look at expectations versus reality as the holidays approach. Financial pressures and the increased consumption of alcohol can raise stress levels in an already stressful household. For many people, the reality of spending another holiday with a spouse you no longer want to be in a marriage with can lead to persistent stress, worry, anxiety, depression, and overall negativity during the holidays. This may be a good time to create new holiday traditions with your children, friends and family.

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