For many couples and families, December and the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year. Couples face each other’s families, friends, coworkers, and parents of their children’s friends and classmates. January begins the new year and represents a time for change. For many couples, the time between Thanksgiving and New Years may highlight or confirm that that their relationship is no longer functioning, and divorce is imminent. If you are strongly considering divorce, taking the necessary first steps in a calculated manner may improve you and your family’s quality of life and future. The first step in this process is consulting with a qualified divorce lawyer and family law attorney to learn about your rights and obligations.
January is also a good time to begin the divorce process for practical purposes. The divorce process in Massachusetts can take anywhere from one day to multiple years depending on how acrimonious the breakup is. Most divorcing couples have to begin with a contested divorce, go through mandatory financial disclosures, and then begin settlement discussions. Sometimes this process can take a few months. January is also a time most people begin to gather financial documentation to prepare tax returns. This makes the process of mandatory financial disclosures easier and potentially more transparent.
If you own a home or have children you may need to relocate to a different neighborhood or town. Divorce is often extremely stressful on children without consideration of a potential move. Uncertainty regarding living arrangements can cause further anxiety. Relocation during the summer is easier for children and lessens the changes to their routine. Packing, selling a home, and moving is also easier when children are out of school for the summer. Filing for divorce, or in the alternative, beginning to negotiate a divorce settlement in January will allow you and your spouse additional time to reach a custody agreement to facilitate the changes to your children’s lives and limit potential stress.