revised December 15, 2023
December is here, bringing in the end-of-the-year festivities and the holiday season. You may be thinking that you should continue to put off filing for divorce and wait until the new year. However, Georgia divorce and family law attorney Sharon Jackson does not recommend waiting until January to carry out your divorce plans. Here are ten reasons why December is a good month to file for divorce.
Your last W-2 and Tax Return will need to be evaluated when you are going through a divorce. Divorces usually go hand in hand with child and spousal support, typically based on your income. If you make significantly different income in 2023 v 2024, that could impact your support payments.
Most people assume that you are busier in December than in January. This however, is not the case for many. Some people’s work schedules and home lives start to become less busy toward the end of the year, and many individuals have a lot of downtime. Taking unused vacation at the end of the year and enjoying downtime to ponder the future may create an ideal time to file for divorce. Once the new year approaches, everything starts back very quickly. This may cause you to continue putting off filing for your divorce until the spring.
One major factor the court considers when awarding alimony, attorney fees and a division of the assets is the length of the marriage. If you are the higher wage earner, it may be in your best interest to file sooner rather than later. Depending on the case, the judge or the law may have options available for a 9 year marriage compared to a 10 year marriage or for a 19 year marriage compared to a 20 year marriage. The length of the marriage may also affect the value of the assets. The value of real estate and retirement earnings tend to increase with the length of the marriage and with better market conditions. The increase may result in you having to pay a larger dollar amount to your spouse.
Most people only choose to delay their divorces until the new year to get through the holidays with their children and spend the last few weeks together as a family. However, if your children are older or you do not have children, it may be very beneficial to your mental health to move on as quickly as possible. If you have both decided a divorce is best, you should file the paperwork and start fresh before the new year. With or without children, you should consider the influx of new cases that often comes with the new year. For non-emergency situations, courts often hear cases based on the age of the case with the oldest cases being heard first. Additionally, all Georgia courts have a minimum period before your case can be finalized, even if you agree on all issues. For divorce cases where the is no agreement, courts have a minimum discovery period to allow for the exchange of documents.
Many people stay together during December for their children. Still, it is important to remember that staying together through the holidays may only cause tension and unnecessary bickering. Children and other family members may be better off if they do not have to go through the negative actions of you and your ex-spouse during this time. Pretending to be together for a few weeks is not worth the hassle or misery.
It is a known fact that people usually wait until January to file for divorce. Therefore, once the new calendar year begins and the children return to school, others may rush to file for their divorces. As a result, many divorce lawyers, accountants, and other financial experts may be very busy. Court calendars will also be filled, causing divorces to take longer after December.
Depending on how long you have been living separately from your ex-spouse or if your divorce is granted quickly, you may be able to file your taxes separately when tax filing season arrives. However, if you wait for divorce in January, you will likely need to still file your taxes with your ex-spouse, as you are still considered married under the law. It is important to plan for your tax filing status in advance. If you file for a divorce in December, then you can determine how to plan for your post-divorce tax filing status. Often people fail to consider this. They assume they are going to be able to have a certain number of dependents to claim. This may change drastically as a result of the divorce. Filing in December gives you the opportunity to reduce your number of dependents, change your status to head of household, or take advantage of other tax options at the start of the new year. You should discuss your tax options with your CPA or financial advisor once you have met with an experienced divorce attorney like Sharon Jackson who can help you calculate a reasonable range of time in which your divorce case should conclude so that you can prepare accordingly.
Filing for divorce in December means you can start the new year off with a fresh start. No longer do you have to worry about when to pull the trigger with your spouse to start the process. Now, you can begin to live your life in peace and start planning for your new future.
If you own a business with your now former spouse, or any other family members, you can resolve ownership of the business. Going into January with the business still co-owned by you and your former spouse can be the cause of a lot of undue stress.
You might be able to take advantage of various tax breaks. If you aren’t sure what tax breaks are available to you, be sure to speak with Sharon Jackson as well as your personal accountant.
Divorce is never easy, whatever the season. If you are considering filing for a divorce at the end of the year, Georgia attorney Sharon Jackson can gladly assist you with this process. We take great pride in ensuring that moury our clients’ divorces go as easily and smoothly as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Sharon Jackson with your divorce and family law questions. Call us at (678) 436-3636 to set up a free case evaluation today.