You waited out the summer, hoping that you could salvage your marriage – but it just wasn’t meant to be. Then, you waited until the kids were back in school to broach the subject with your spouse. You’d expected them to greet the news with relief, but they wanted to try a little longer.
It didn’t work. Now, you’re at the end of your rope and you just want out. With the end of the year just weeks away and the holiday season fast approaching, should you wait until the new year, instead?
There are some good reasons to wait
Every situation is different. If your safety is an issue because your spouse is abusive or your mental health is suffering, it may be better to make a break right away. If not, here are some of the reasons you may want to delay things:
- It could be better for your taxes: If you’re still married on the last day of 2023, that gives you more options with your taxes. If filing a joint return will benefit you and your spouse through the various tax exclusions available, it may be worth it to wait.
- Year-end bonuses can affect your financial split: If your spouse receives a year-end bonus from their employer, that could significantly affect the amount of spousal support or child support they may owe. If you leave before the bonus is received, it may not be calculated.
- The holidays can be emotional: There’s no denying that splitting up during the holiday season can be tough. Not only will you (and your children, if you have any) forever associate this time of year with your divorce, but it can be awkward to navigate the holiday social scene when you’re newly single. By this time next year, however, your divorce will be “old news” and not likely to be a focal point of attention.
If you do decide to delay your divorce, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be actively preparing for the future, however.
This is an excellent time to start doing things like putting a post-divorce budget together, investigating your housing options, gathering the financial documents you’ll need and seeking legal guidance. Taking the next couple of months to prepare can help you feel like you’re in forward motion even if you haven’t yet filed.