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Are there times to consider postponing a divorce?

When a person makes the difficult decision to pursue a divorce after weeks or even months of thoughtful deliberation, they more than likely want to move ahead with the split as quickly as possible so as not to prolong a potentially difficult and painful process.

While this is certainly understandable, many experts actually advise people in this situation to perhaps extend their thoughtful deliberation a bit more, such that they consider whether the timing of the divorce is in their best interests.

What then are some situations in which a spouse may actually want to postpone their divorce? 

Health Insurance

While there are situations when spouses decide to stay married yet live altogether separate lives so as to continue to take advantage of joint health insurance, experts say that this is the exception.

In reality, they say that most spouses will want out of a marriage so badly that they are willing to sever ties completely, even if that means forfeiting their health insurance.

However, this can rapidly prove to be a costly proposition.        

"Health insurance is a fairly frequent reason to hold off and delay," said the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "For a healthy middle-aged person, health insurance could easily cost $1,000 a month. Add health issues and it could be a really ugly number."

Accordingly, experts encourage spouses to take the issue of health insurance into consideration when planning their divorce. For example, it may make sense to hold off on filing until such time as the necessary arrangements can be made to mitigate the potential loss of health insurance (i.e., securing a policy through an employer or finding an otherwise affordable policy after careful shopping).

Home sale

A situation in which both spouses -- not just the spouse seeking the divorce -- may want to delay the filing of divorce papers is where a home sale will more than likely prove necessary.

According to experts, that's because home prices are finally starting to rebound and the number of underwater mortgages is starting to recede. This means that couples willing to wait to divorce could stand to collect a larger share during property division proceedings.

While these are certainly very interesting and largely applicable points, the fact remains that every person's divorce case will be drastically different. As such, it is imperative to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you are interested in pursuing a divorce or have already been served with divorce papers. Together, you can discuss your unique interests and how to protect them going forward.

Source: The Wall Street Journal Money Watch, "When's the worst time to get a divorce?" Quentin Fottrell, May 24, 2014

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