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Celebrating New Years and the Start of Divorce Month

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The month of January typically sees the most new divorce filings of the calendar year, earning it the nickname, ‘Divorce Month.’ This week, the Huffington Post featured several articles about the overabundance of divorce actions being commenced at the start of a new year.


In his article, When Divorce is a New Year’s Resolution, Alton Abramowitz, a former President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, explains: “For most spouses, this time of year has been filled with celebrations and special family moments, but for some others, this December 31st has marked their last New Year’s Eve as a married couple… After the champagne has flowed on New Year’s Eve, divorce filings and the number of new cases inevitably begin to spike.”


For many people, the New Year brings new beginnings and a chance to start over. Likewise, divorce can bring with it new opportunity, a happier life, and a more peaceful existence. In her article, Three Reasons Why January May Be the Best Time to File for Divorce, attorney Bari Zell Weinberger, explains, “When the New Year rolls around, many people commit to turning over a new leaf and making resolutions, and this often means taking action on matters they have been pushed to the sidelines”—including the difficult decision to file for divorce.


Ms. Winberger lists several reasons why so many spouses choose to wait till the New Year to file for divorce. First, some spouses wish to spend one last holiday season as an intact family unit. “Most people want to enjoy the holidays without too much upheaval, so waiting until after the decorations are put away and the guests have gone home can provide a measure of peace.” Waiting to file until after the holidays may be best for spouses who have young children, who don’t want to create negative associations with what is supposed to be a happy time of year.


Filing after New Year’s Day also makes more sense financially. If one spouse is expecting a big year-end bonus, waiting until after the end of the year to file for divorce can help clarify that the bonus is marital property, meaning that both spouses would be entitled to a share of it when property is being divided.


Additionally, in terms of the tax implications involved in divorce, closing out the year before rearranging finances is often a sound practical decision. You will have more time to attend to tax planning for the next year, figuring out things like who will get the mortgage interest deduction and who will take exemptions for children.


Getting divorced can be difficult, which is why so many couples put it off for months or even years. “However, the sense of closure that comes along with finally having the courage to take that big step can be not only gratifying, but also life-affirming — and that, of course, is what new beginnings are all about.”


Are you considering filing for divorce this January? If you are interested in filing for a divorce or legal separation or have post-divorce concerns such as spousal and/or child support, custody, or visitation, and would like to speak with a well-respected and experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney, contact the offices of Jay D. Raxenberg. Call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.

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