Financial needs may be met with a January divorce filing

Now that the holidays are behind us, many people look forward to the coming year with thoughts on goals, hopes and resolutions. For some Massachusetts spouses, years of living within an unhappy marriage will lead to a decision to file for divorce in 2013. Luckily, there are a number of reasons why January is an ideal time to file for divorce, and to address each spouse’s financial needs.

One positive factor for filing in the early days of a new year involves tax advantages. While there have been few benefits of a January filing in years past, a change in tax brackets in 2013 could change things for some couples who divorce in the coming year. For example, a spouse who will be required to pay alimony will see better deductions by filing early, and the spouse who receives alimony will have a higher tax burden.

Another consideration involves waiting to make a decision about divorce until after the holidays. Christmas can be stressful, and adding discussions about ending the marriage can only serve to add to that stress level. For couples with children, the news of a split may be better received at a less hectic time. There are also the reactions of extended family members to consider. For many couples, the holidays are not an optimal time to begin the divorce process.

Perhaps the reason most January filers choose this time of year is simply the new start that a new year brings. While divorce is unarguably the end of a marriage, it also represents a beginning of a new phase of life, one that can be tailored to the wants and needs of the newly single person. Individuals who are considering a divorce should make researching their rights under Massachusetts law their first priority. By being fully informed, decisions can be made to address each spouse’s financial needs as both moves on to new beginnings.

Source:, “Considering a divorce? Wait until January,” Geoff Williams, Dec. 26, 2012

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