The first month of 2017 has arrived, and couples are increasingly thinking about divorce. With the holidays over, those in unhappy marriages turn from thinking about turkey and pie to thinking about complex asset division. Legal experts say that divorce filings spike by about 25 to 30 percent during the month of January, thanks to all of those who are looking for a fresh start. The divorce process may seem daunting, but you can avoid common pitfalls by following these simple tips.
First, couples need to understand the financial realities associated with asset division. In many instances, attorneys are recruited because they are seen as "sharks" or "pit bulls" in the courtroom. What many filers may not realize is that taking this approach to dividing marital property can raise the cost of your divorce by tens of thousands of dollars. Responsible clients will consider all of their options before jumping into a highly litigious situation.
Next, consider taking a step away from your divorce before making any big financial decisions. You are likely to feel tired and emotional after the holidays -- even though we are well into January, those feelings may persist. Give yourself a break and take a deep breath. Making major choices about asset division right after you file could have devastating consequences. Divorce is a fairly long process for a reason -- attorneys want to protect their clients' futures.
Finally, consider giving your partner the time to enlist the services of their own attorney, but not someone who is already associated with the family. Finding the right fit in a divorce attorney can actually be more difficult than you think. You need someone whose ideas and style match your own, so take the time to fully evaluate your divorce attorney before committing.
Source: Market Watch, "Divorce lawyers: 30% more couples terminate their marriage in January," Quentin Fottrell, Jan. 14, 2017