Although attorneys primarily advise on the law, occasionally our clients seek advice of a much more personal nature. This question is a perfect example of that. Decades ago, there were frequent benefits that could be had by timing when you file for divorce (often resulting in a race to the courthouse to be the first to file).
There still remains a few benefits by being the first to file. For example, if you separated from your spouse more than three months ago and he or she has relocated outside of the county, then he or she can file in his or her new county (or state) and you might be forced to litigate your divorce in a different county or state.
Every once in a while, I get a more specific question like the one posed here where a client is debating waiting until after the holidays to file. I am not going to provide a yes or no answer in this blog, but I will provide you with the information that will hopefully aid you in making that decisions.
First, consider how this may or may not affect your family plans. If you have children, there is no question that the decision to file divorce immediately preceding the holiday season will like result in a disruption to your plans and their Christmas. If you file early November, chances are relatively high that you can have an order from the Court before Christmas that will spell out the details of Christmas parent time. To be honest, if you don’t have children I can perceive little, if any, benefit from waiting until after the holidays.
Second, are you already separated? If you are already separated from your spouse, we generally advise clients it is better to file now rather than later (there are exceptions to this “general rule”). This would apply regardless of the upcoming holidays.
Third, are there any reasons to rush into this? If you are the first to file, that means you are going to be stuck paying the filing fee. However, if your spouse financially supports you, then you might be in a bit of a rush to file and get some temporary alimony to help you pay your bills.
Very few people file for divorce in December relative to the rest of the year. If you are considering filing for divorce either before or after Christmas, give us a call and speak with one of our divorce lawyers.