The Benefits of Filing for Divorce in January

We are now a few days into January. And if you’re like most Minnesotans, you finally have time to reflect back on the hectic holiday season that just passed. While the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s trifecta is often considered a joyful time, it can feel like just the opposite if you are going through marital troubles.

If you have been contemplating divorce but decided to wait until the start of 2014, you are not alone. Because of the high number of filings that happen during the first month each year, January has been unofficially dubbed as “Divorce Month.” While the symbolism of getting a fresh start or fulfilling a New Year’s resolution is one reason to file for divorce in January, there are other, more practical benefits as well.

When you file for divorce in January (as opposed to November or December), you may find it easier to work through tax-related issues. Federal taxes are due in just a few months, and it is usually easier to prepare a tax return for the previous year if you know that you were married as of December 31.

Depending on your situation, waiting until after the holidays can also affect some aspects of asset division. If your spouse earned a large Christmas bonus at work, for instance, it may be easier to claim a portion of that bonus for yourself if you wait until January to file.

Finally, filing in January gives you the best shot at finalizing the divorce before the next holiday season. You may have waited to file, in part, because you didn’t want to ruin the holidays for your children or other family members. If you file this month, your divorce could be finalized (or nearly so) by the end of 2014.

While there are several practical reasons to file for divorce in January, it may not be right for everyone. Only you and your spouse can determine if divorce is necessary and go at your own pace accordingly.