There are so many questions that I am randomly asked as a divorce lawyer or family law attorney, however one question that always seems to come up around this time of year is whether there is any advantage to filing a complaint for divorce before the end of the year. The answer really depends on the person's situation as to whether they should just go ahead and file or wait until after the holidays are over and the new year has begun.
Is There Any Advantage to Filing Before the End of the Year?
Typically the answer is a straight forward no. There is really no advantage unless there are other factors that require an immediate filing like one person has gone on a mad spending spree or it is anticipated they are going to withdraw large sums of money. There may be serious concerns regarding behavior and custody or other similar issues that require immediate court intervention. There is really no tax advantage as joint taxes are typically filed until the judgment of divorce is finalized and the divorce is over, then the parties file separate returns. Until then, even if one party tries to file separately to take advantage of a potential return, most likely the court will order that the returns be equalized so that one party does not profit over the other in such a manner. Further, many judges do not hold sessions or hearings from the week before Christmas until after New Year's Day so unless there is a serious issue, there will probably be little progress on the case until after the holiday season is over.
Should I Wait Until After the Holidays?
If you have children together and are still residing together, then in most cases, you should probably wait until after the holidays. If you don't have kids it really depends on how much you do not want to have to be around your spouse and/or his or her family. If you don't have kids and you don't think you can handle another holiday together with this person, then by all means, file for divorce and take a holiday vacation out of town with friends, family or by yourself as no company is often better than being in bad company. If you have questions about divorce, alimony, custody or legal separation, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation.