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Divorce in the New Year

Next Page Mediation Dec. 13, 2023

As we usher in a new year, it's an opportune time to talk about a trend that's not often discussed but is very real: the rise of divorce filings in January.

As a mediator at Next Page Mediation, I've seen how the start of the year can signal a fresh start for many people, including those who've decided to end their marriages. Let's look into why this happens and how you can navigate this process if you're considering taking this step.

Why Do People Wait Until the New Year to File for Divorce?

There's a noticeable increase in divorce filings come January, marking the beginning of what's known as "divorce season." In fact, research shows that 33% of couples choose this time to file for divorce. But why? Well, there are several reasons behind this trend.

One common reason is the desire to avoid disrupting family life during the holiday season. It's understandable that couples wouldn't want to introduce turmoil or inform their children about an impending divorce during such a festive period. Once the holiday cheer subsides, individuals often feel more prepared to embrace change and start a new path.

Another factor is the added tension that the holiday season can bring. Between financial stress and family pressures, it's not uncommon for arguments and conflicts to escalate during this time. For any couples who were already on the fence, this extra tension could tip the scales towards divorce.

How to Prepare for Divorce in the New Year

If you're contemplating filing for divorce in the new year, it's important to prepare yourself.

Take Stock of Your Assets and Liabilities

First up, it's crucial to get a clear picture of your financial situation. Start by taking an inventory of all your assets. This includes not just physical possessions like property and vehicles, but also investments, retirement accounts, savings accounts, and emergency funds. Don't forget about any valuable items like jewelry, artwork, or collectibles either.

On the flip side, you'll also need to consider your liabilities. These could be anything from credit card debt and car loans to mortgages or personal lines of credit. Having a comprehensive understanding of both your assets and liabilities will give you a solid foundation as you navigate the financial aspects of your divorce.

Review Your Tax Returns

Your tax returns can provide a wealth of information about your financial situation. They can give insights into your income, deductions, tax payments, and more. If you've been less involved in managing your household's finances, reviewing your tax returns can help you get up to speed. It's also beneficial to understand any potential tax implications of your divorce.

Keep Open Communication About Finances

Even if divorce is on the horizon, maintain open communication about finances with your spouse. Regular discussions about money matters can prevent misunderstandings and make it easier to obtain financial information during divorce proceedings.

Consider Hiring a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA)

A CDFA can be a great ally during your divorce process. They can help you understand the financial implications of your divorce and advocate on your behalf. A CDFA can work alongside me, your mediator, to ensure your financial interests are protected.

Update Your Documents

After your divorce, it's essential to update any documents where your spouse is named. This includes wills, health care proxies, powers of attorney, and more. Though it might seem like a minor detail, it can have significant implications down the line.

Seek Counseling

Divorce can be a challenging time emotionally. And the end-of-year holiday season is known for being a difficult time for our mental health. Seeking counseling can provide a supportive space to process your feelings and gain valuable coping strategies. Remember, it's okay to ask for help.

Finally, while going through a divorce can be tough, it can also be an opportunity for personal growth. It's a chance to redefine your life on your own terms. At Next Page Mediation, I'm here to help you navigate this journey with compassion and respect for your situation. Don't hesitate to reach out if you need a guiding hand during this transformative period.

Why You Should Consider Mediation for Your Divorce

Mediation is an alternative to traditional court proceedings that offers several advantages. As a mediator, I guide negotiations between you and your spouse, focusing on finding mutually agreeable solutions. One of the main benefits of mediation is that it's typically more affordable than a traditional litigated divorce. It can save you significant legal fees and court costs.

Mediation also offers privacy and confidentiality. Unlike court proceedings, which are public, mediation allows you to discuss sensitive matters in a private and confidential setting. This can help protect your privacy and dignity.

Furthermore, mediation allows you to have more control over the outcome of your divorce. Instead of leaving decisions in the hands of a judge, mediation empowers you to make your own decisions about property division, child custody, and other important matters. This can lead to more customized and mutually satisfactory agreements.

Overall, mediation provides a more constructive and amicable approach to divorce. It focuses on finding solutions that work for both parties and can help minimize the negative impact of divorce on families, especially children. It promotes a smoother transition to post-divorce life.

Turn the Page Toward a Brighter Future

The start of a new year symbolizes a fresh start and provides an opportunity to make significant life changes, including walking away from an unhappy marriage. If you're considering divorce in the new year, know that there are peaceful and affordable paths available. At Next Page Mediation, I'm here to help you navigate this journey with compassion and respect. Let's start this new chapter together.