Not everyone’s holidays are happy. Some are alone during the holidays, and some find out they’re going to be alone soon. Many couples stay together for the holidays and begin the divorce process shortly afterward to avoid putting a damper on celebrations, particularly for their children.
The holidays are especially joyful for children. Filing for divorce right before will unintentionally create an “anniversary” for ending your marriage. Who wants to remember Christmas as the day they after they filed for their divorce?
January is the time when people take stock in their lives and decide what they want to change or improve. If you’ve either decided (or realized) your marriage will be ending in 2018, you’re not alone. Most attorneys know that January through March is “divorce season.” Much like accountants during tax season, Texas divorce attorneys are ready for the spike in inquiries and applications.
If divorce is in your future, you’ll need to find the right attorney who can represent you fairly, and make sure your interests—and those of your children—are protected.
What You Need To Know
There are a number of factors to consider when pulling the trigger on a divorce in Texas, before or after the holidays, and timing is frequently a factor.
- Taxes—filing towards the end of the year (or on the last day) may require both parties to claim “married filing separately,” a more expensive option at tax time. Waiting until after January 1 allows you to file married for one more year.
- Alimony—if you have a prenuptial agreement, waiting until the next year may set off a trigger point in alimony, such as being married for more than ten years. Texas considers a number of factors when awarding alimony. A marriage that lasts more than 10 years usually includes some form of spousal support.
- Residency—one of the parties must live in Texas for at least six months, and in the county, you plan to file in for three months (i.e., Tarrant County.)
- Child support—generally, the non-custodial parent pays child support, because the parent with physical custody pays for the child on a day-to-day basis. The non-custodial parent may also pay for the child’s health insurance as well.
- Division of assets/property—this can be an expensive part of the divorce if there are considerable assets involved. Texas is a community property state. Anything acquired during the marriage is usually considered “community property” unless it’s separate or kept separate (such as an inheritance.) There are exceptions, and a found “fault” can be taken into consideration when dividing assets.
- Breakup of the family—the final holiday season will be the last the children will know as a “family.” Once it’s over, their family life will be completely different.
Finding The Right Attorney
Divorce is one of the most difficult passages one can experience. It’s important to find someone who understands your needs and can help you through the process.
Whatever time of year your divorce is filed, your attorney can make all the difference. You want the best outcome for your children, of course, but you also want to make sure everything is done equitably. You want someone who has your best interests in mind and will aggressively represent you, both in and out of court. Finding a compassionate attorney to handle your side of a divorce may seem difficult.
Books and therapy can help, but a divorce is never a happy occasion—even a “quick and easy” one. Incorrect advice from well-meaning friends may do more harm than good. Talk to an expert before making any decisions.
Wendy L. Hart is an experienced family law attorney who has been helping people throughout Tarrant County who find themselves ending a marriage. As a divorcee herself, Wendy understands the process as well as the difficulties involved. We can provide full representation both for men and women and will work to ensure you are treated fairly, as well as protect the interests of you and your children.
Visit our Mansfield office, use our online contact form, or call us at (817) 842-2336. We’re ready to help.