Should You File for Divorce Before the Holidays?

The holidays may be the happiest time of year for some, but for those in a bad marriage, the festivities and gatherings can feel like torture. If you fall into the latter category and feel like you can’t muster a game face for family dinners or New Year’s celebrations, the idea of filing for divorce now, before the season begins, may be appealing. The decision about when to file is entirely personal and is always driven by circumstances — if your health or personal safety are at risk then the time to leave is as soon as possible. But if your situation isn’t emergent, it’s a good idea to weigh the pluses and minuses of filing now or waiting until the new year.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is whether you are truly ready to leave your marriage? This is always the most important question that anybody considering divorce must answer. Once you begin a divorce proceeding, it’s hard to go back and change your mind, so think about whether your thoughts are reactive to a specific argument or situation, or whether they’re the result of unhappiness that’s been growing for a long time — or a wrong that you consider unforgivable. Once you’ve answered that question and know that you want to end your marriage, here are factors to consider surrounding timing:

  • Do you have children? The holidays are a fun-filled time for children. Think about the impact that filing for divorce before the holidays will have on them and their celebration. It might be better for them – and for your long-term relationship with them – for you to grin and bear your unhappiness for a few more weeks.
  • Think about your own mental health. The holidays are an emotional time. Are your expectations about how you should feel or your own childhood memories playing a role in your desire to get out of the marriage? If you file for divorce, there’s a good chance that you will be alone or apart from the extended family that you and your spouse have created during the holidays, and your support system will be busy with their own families.
  • What are the financial implications? Not only should you think about the expense involved with filing for a divorce – in many cases, a divorce attorney will require that you pay them a retainer right at the same time that you’re purchasing presents – but there may also be tax considerations for you to consider.
  • Availability of legal resources – The holidays are a difficult time to schedule meetings or court dates.

Every individual has to make up their own mind about the right time to file for divorce. For assistance in understanding the repercussions and the best way to move forward, contact us today to set up a time to meet.