Not long ago the trend was filing for divorce mid-winter and in early spring. However, in our ever-changing mobile society, everything is different. The same appears to be true for divorce. Working from home and/or blended school calendars may be a few factors that account for shifting trends of when divorce is filed. This blog explores key reasons why filing divorce in the summer may be a prudent consideration for some couples when it was not a norm or even considered in the past.
What is the right time?
As a practical matter, and first, if the parties do not have children, the filing of a divorce in the summer probably makes as much strategic and practical sense as waiting until mid-winter or early spring. No time is good for a divorce, but for couples who do not have children, there is not necessarily the need to stay in a broken relationship to account for the school calendar (i.e., filing in the mid-winter or spring is not important so the children are situated for the next school year). However, there is a general view that filing the winter or spring is a better call. That may not be true in your case. What is your specific situation?
In most cases, secondly, a divorce can be completed within six (6) months. For this reason, and considering one of the biggest ties between couples at times, other than children, is tax consequences and taxes. A summer filing for divorce may allow the parties to start the next tax (calendar year) totally separated, at least financially from a tax, asset and liability standpoint. Conversely, there may be sound tax advantages for being divorced in the following calendar year. The takeaway is the timing of a divorce is different for every couple depending on specific needs of their situation and case. Our society has changed…
Thirdly, where there are children and contested custody issues involved, particularly with blended school schedules, there is not necessarily the timing issues for filing as in the past. The time to divorce is most likely the time when you know the marriage is beyond repair. Why is this? In high conflict custody cases, they now have longer timelines that cannot be accounted for on a calendar and by certain seasons. For instance, a custody evaluation undertaken in a high-conflict case may take several months to complete. Thus, delay in filing of a divorce to time it with mid-winter or early spring may exacerbate the situation and make the ensuing filing worse for everyone, including the children. Further, where there are children but uncontested matters, an early summer divorce may well be resolved by the start of the traditional school year. The point is there is not necessarily the timing issue surrounding school or in general for a divorce filing now as in the recent past.
Ultimately, a divorce for a marriage of any duration, where there are children, and/or significant assets or liabilities is a complex legal transaction in today’s world. Thus, while timing a divorce to a season or event or otherwise may make sense, there is a wide consensus from mental health professionals to lawyers and judges, that staying in a marriage beyond repair any longer than necessary is typically a mistake. Every aspect of a divorce, many highlighted in this blog, such as tax implications of divorce, should be considered in the context of each marriage and the needs of the parties contemplating divorce in filing the matter. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., who handle divorce cases of all types throughout the State of Indiana. This blog is not written to provide specific legal advice or solicitation for legal services. It is an advertisement.