Filing for Divorce in the New Year

There’s never a “good time” to file for divorce — the process can be stressful and overwhelming no matter when you file. However, there are times throughout the year when divorces tend to spike, such as the first few months of the New Year.

Why Divorces Spike Between January and April

In Texas and across the country, requests for divorce tend to increase during the first few months of the New Year for a number of reasons.

Families want to stay together throughout the holidays.

Especially if they have kids, most parents agree to not “ruin” the holiday season for their little ones by waiting until the New Year to tell friends and family that they’re planning on getting a divorce. It’s also likely that most couples don’t want to deal with the stress of divorce during this already hectic time of the year.

Tax implications.

If you and your partner separate before December 31st, you may not receive certain tax breaks. If you’re still together by New Year’s Day, you can file a joint return, which will likely save you money.

What to Know Before, During, and After You File

Before You File

Before filing for divorce, it’s important to make sure you meet Texas’ residency requirements. In order to file for divorce here in Texas, one spouse must have been a resident for a continuous six-month period. Additionally, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the county where the divorce is being filed, for at least 90 days.

It’s also important to know that Texas is a “no-fault” state, meaning one spouse doesn’t have to be found at-fault for breaking up the marriage (such as through adultery, imprisonment, abuse, or abandonment). This also means that if one spouse doesn’t want to get married, he or she can’t simply refuse to sign the papers and therefore prevent the divorce from going through.

Pregnancy is also a major factor affecting divorce. If the woman is pregnant, even if her husband is not the father, most Texas Courts will not finalize a divorce until she has given birth.

During the Divorce Process

Once you’ve filed for divorce and your spouse has been served their papers, a divorce can’t be finalized for at least 60 days after the petition is filed. This is considered the waiting period. That being said, divorces are rarely finalized on day 61. Traditionally, uncontested divorces last between six months and one year.

During your divorce, you and your spouse will have to agree on child support, child custody, property and debt division, and much more. If you and your spouse have an amicable relationship and can come to an agreement on these issues, usually through mediation, your divorce will likely take less time and be more cost-effective — most importantly, it also gives you greater control over the outcome.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on one or several issues, your divorce will be considered “contested” and the Courts will determine the fairest way to divide your assets and create a custody plan. However, it’s important to know that very few divorces go to trial (less than 10-percent across the country).

After Your Divorce is Finalized

A divorce is finalized the moment a judge pronounces it so in open court and signs the decree of divorce. When that moment happens, it’s important to emotionally prepare yourself, and your children, for the next stage of your life. For many, this is the start of their new life and they should look forward to what the future has to bring.

You should also schedule one more follow-up with your lawyer, to review the terms of your divorce one last time and get a clear understanding of your rights and obligations. For example, if you were ordered to pay a certain amount of child support, your lawyer will explain to you that it’s important to continue paying support even if you lose your job — this is just one of the many things your lawyer should go over with you to prevent an issue in the future.

Ready to put an experienced, dedicated team on your side? Contact Andrae Law, PLLC at (512) 668-7133 to speak with our seasoned divorce lawyers today.