Will Your New Year’s Resolutions Include Divorce?

You may have seen one of our recent ads that, tongue-in-cheek, touts divorce as the diet that can help you get rid of 180 pounds of dead weight. Yes, we’re trying to inject some levity into a situation where there is usually very little to laugh about. But there is another reason why comparing divorce to diets seems apt.

As we head through the holiday season, we all know that, in just a few short weeks, it will be 2013 and time again to make New Year’s resolutions. Most of us will resolve to lose weight. However, some of us will decide to divorce. In fact, did you know that January is the most popular month of the year for couples to file for divorce? According to this Huffington Post article on divorces, there is even a single “D-Day” for the most divorce filings — the first Monday after the kids return to school and the start of the first full working week after the holiday break.

Why January? The “start fresh” mentality that many of us embrace each time a new year begins may cause us to look critically at the “big picture” of our lives, including the states of our marriage, and whether we might be better off going it alone.

Beyond our emotions, however, there are other, more practical considerations that may make January the preferred month for declaring a marriage over. Here are a few of the possible advantages to filing for divorce as 2012 ends and 2013 begins:

Taxes: If you decide to go your separate ways on 11:59 pm on December 31, this can have important tax consequences down the road. If you do not live together at all in 2013 (or most of it, if you split in January), items like filing status, household deductions — even mileage deductions for work — can all be affected. For more on how divorce impacts personal income taxes, see our previous blog post, “Divorce Tax Mistakes to Avoid.”
Housing: If separating means one of you needs to rent an apartment or house, there are typically more available rentals in winter, and less competition for securing a place, because most people don’t like to move during the colder months.
Moving Kids: The December break at school is just long enough that most teachers wrap up units before the holidays, giving everyone a fresh start when class reconvenes. If separating means your children will need to attend a different school (due to a move), then moving over the winter vacation may be a logical way to make the transition a little smoother than moving in the middle of March.
Time to Digest the News: If the office is closed from Christmas Eve to New Year’s, this can give YOU time to come to terms with the end of your marriage, without the added burden of keeping up appearances at work. When it comes to helping your kids adjust to the news, giving them a few days to process can be critical (here’s more about )talking to your kids about divorce). Vacation days are also a good time to organize documents and contact a divorce lawyer.

Is this the year you make a different kind of resolution? If you live in New Jersey, here’s more information about the divorce process and how to file.