The first Monday in January is unofficially known as “Divorce Day,” as the number of divorces in North Carolina and across the country see an increase in the beginning of the new year. Why do so many couples wait until January to begin the divorce process and what should you consider if you are thinking about separating after New Year's Day?
For couples with children, the holiday season can be stressful enough. Couples often agree to keep things status quo until after the new year in order to prevent introducing any additional stress on family and children. It may also be the last chance for parents to have a guaranteed holiday with their kids. Even couples without children may want to avoid talking to friends or family about a separation during this festive time of the year.
Others see the new year as a time to get a fresh start, like making a New Year's resolution to get fit or save more money. This can be a motivating factor for many people, especially those who have been married for a long time. It can be intimidating to go back out into the world as a single person after so many years living with someone else.
As a practical matter, even if you wanted to file for a divorce before the end of the year, you may encounter more difficulties. The formal process of filing for divorce can be more troublesome at the end of the calendar year as state offices close for the holidays and many people are out of the office on vacation.
When you do make the decision to separate early in the year, there are a number of issues you may need to consider, including housing, child custody, and even taxes. Separating may mean one or both individuals need to move. While there may be less competition for new rentals in the winter months, weather may also complicate the house hunt and moving arrangements, especially if moving up north to a colder and snowier part of the country.
The beginning of the year is also roughly the middle of the school year for most kids. It can be more difficult and disruptive to a child's education and social life to move them in the middle of the school year. Parents should consider this when deciding how to handle child custody and their kids' education when separating. It may be preferable to wait until the end of the school year to make major school changes.
Another issue to consider is the financial aspect of when you divorce. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for tax purposes, you are married for the whole year if you have not obtained a decree of divorce by the last day of the tax year. This means that if you get a divorce on January 10, 2018, for tax purposes, you can file as married for the 2018 tax year. Talk to your accountant or tax attorney if you have any questions about how filing for a divorce can affect your tax liability.
Jerkins Family Law
If you are considering getting a divorce in the new year and are concerned about what that may mean for you and your family, Jerkins Family Law can help. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, Jerkins Family Law is committed to helping our clients in their time of need. Visit our dedicated divorce page to see how we can help you through this difficult time. Jerkins Family Law can help you with all your family law needs. Contact us today and see how we can help.