The decision to divorce is never easy — and choosing when to make that decision can be difficult as well. Many couples who battle with the choice to divorce towards the end of the year question if they should delay filing until after the new year so that they can enjoy the holidays with their loved ones and children.
While some couples may have the ‘sooner the better’ mentality, others may find it useful to wait until the clock strikes midnight to file their paperwork. Keep reading to learn some of the benefits of waiting to divorce until the new year from our attorneys at Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A..
Joint Tax Returns
Did you know that your marital status on December 31 of each year determines your tax filing status options for that year? This means that if you wait to file your divorce until the new year, you could still file a joint return for that tax year.
However, if you divorce before the year is over, you will file separate tax returns. If you do decide to file your divorce, be sure to collect critical end-of-year statements such as:
Joint and personal assets
Checking account balances
Any debts and credit card balances
Many couples choose to wait until the new year to divorce simply because of their benefits — namely, their healthcare. Trying to figure out coverage changes amidst the holiday season can prove to be very difficult. However, depending on the private, state, and federal options available to you, this may not be an issue.
If you or your spouse expect an end-of-year bonus, waiting to divorce until the new year would mean that money is counted as marital property.
Your spouse's income will directly affect how much you're deemed to pay in child support, spousal support, and how the assets are divided during the divorce proceedings. For marriages with an excess of $1 million in net liquid assets, their divorce is considered a high net-worth case.
Discussing Asset Division
In Florida, marital property is to be divided in a fair, equitable way — though this does not mean evenly. Additionally, all non-marital property is to remain in possession of each spouse individually.
Under Florida law, marital property can include the following:
Offshore bank accounts
Stock options and executive compensation
Antiques and collectibles
Real estate — including the marital residence, vacation homes, and rental property
A Happier Holiday Season
Though it may seem like waiting for a divorce may prolong your unhappiness, it may allow you to at least enjoy your holiday season without a divorce trial in the middle of it.
For many couples, the decision to divorce doesn't just affect them, but their children as well. Protecting the magic of the holiday season for your children is essential, but you still find you want to spend the holidays separately. This may mean that you celebrate with different family members or spend the days individually with your children, without filing for divorce.
After the holidays are over, you can then think about filing for divorce and put your entire focus on the case ahead of you.
Read more: What is a Parenting Plan?
The Importance of Hiring a Seasoned Family Law Attorney
If after going through your options and you’re still not sure of how to proceed, speaking with a seasoned Florida family law attorney can help make your decision easier.
One of the most frightening aspects of a divorce is putting your future in the hands of the court. Fortunately, there is an alternative to this: collaborative divorce. At Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A., we can represent you in your divorce, advocating for the resolution that protects your best interests. With us on your side, you can remain in control of the process and your future.
Contact our team today to set up a consultation: (941) 499-8154.
Read more: Advice for Couples Considering Divorce