Every new year brings a spike in divorce filings, and this year is shaping up to be no different.
There are lots of reasons, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, emotional to financial.
People generally take more time off from work during the holidays. The extra togetherness-time with the other spouse can be a constant reminder of the couple’s irreconciliable differences.
Even without the additional ingredient of visiting extended family. Which can pile on stress under the best of circumstances.
The extra family time, possibly combined with increased drinking and, for some, holiday depression, can also spark domestic violence.
Often one spouse has been gritting their teeth and bearing it just to get through the holidays for the kids’ sake.
By the same token, most people get back on a more even keel in January. This can lead to greater objectivity and calm in dealings.
But, even during this rocky economic era, the allure of some spouses’ year end bonuses should not be underestimated as a factor in the timing of filing for divorce. Where such bonuses are significant, hanging on a bit longer can make a big difference in the divorce bottom line to the less affluent spouse.
Timing can also affect holiday spending – and borrowing – in ways good and bad. Holiday spending can be an excuse to dip in to resources and/or camouflage draining resources. But the holidays can also be seen as a last ditch opportunity to show you care – with lavish gifts.
And with the new year, more complete financial records for the preceding year become available. These can be invaluable, both for the divorce filing and for tax filing, especially to the spouse who typically is less involved in family finances. This may be even more true this year in light of impending and potential changes in tax law.