Divorces can happen at any time of the year, but divorce rates can rise in March, April and May, making spring one of the most popular times for couples to file for divorce. While there is no one perfect time to initiate a divorce proceeding, spring divorce filings have become more and more common over the years. As a professional divorce financial consultant, I’ve noticed this trend and I’m here to explain why spring is a popular time for divorce and how you can prepare your finances for the process.
1) A Fresh Start
One reason why many couples decide to divorce in the spring is the idea of a fresh start. The spring season is all about new beginnings, and couples may feel that it’s a good time to make major changes in their lives.
The beginning of the year can be busy and stressful for many families, especially for couples trying to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. When the winter months are past and the warmer weather rolls in, couples may start to feel more optimistic about the future. However, after a hard look at their resolution progress, for some, the disappointment and subsequent boredom that follows can intensify marital issues. Often, people start to feel a sense of liberation and independence in the spring months, which could explain this trend.
2) Spring cleaning and decluttering
Believe it or not, cleaning up can affect one’s decisions about how they view their spouse. Decluttering and spring cleaning are sometimes seen as symbolic gestures of letting go of baggage and excess things in one's life. For some, the thought of letting go of their marriage is similar to letting go of the clutter, making spring a resolution time when many may decide to let go of things that no longer serve them.
3) End of Year Bonuses
Another reason spring divorce filings often see a significant uptick, particularly among high-earning couples or couples with businesses, is the timing of end-of-year bonuses. Self-employed individuals or those who own a business may want to wait until the end of the year to finalize their financial statements or wait for the bonus check to be cashed to make the proceedings as financially secure as possible. These financial boosts can also help offset legal fees and other expenses that may arise during the divorce process.
4) Convenient Timing
Many couples choose to file for divorce in the spring because it is a convenient time in terms of their personal life. Summer vacation time is still months away, meaning there is ample time for both parties to adjust and make necessary lifestyle changes before summer schedule planning takes place. Children have settled into their routine at school and their extra-curricular activities have typically wound down - this creates a sense of calmness in the home life for the children, giving the needed stability to handle the major change of a divorce.
5) Tax Purposes
Tax season is over. Tax season typically ends on April 15th, and a spike in divorce filing usually follows almost immediately. One reason behind this could be that couples are waiting on their tax refund to pay for their legal fees, which they know can be a costly affair. Another reason may be that people just want to get it over with and start fresh once tax season ends.
Tax returns are due in the spring, and couples who file jointly may find that they are not happy with their shared position. During a divorce, individuals can face a significant tax liability or even erase tax benefits, and the issue of tax filings can play a part in the timing of divorce proceedings. By finalizing their divorce in the spring, couples have the opportunity to file for tax purposes for the last tax year as a married couple and start planning for their future financial situation.
6) Preparing Your Finances
If you are considering a divorce in the spring, it is important to prepare your finances ahead of time. Make sure that you have a thorough understanding of your joint finances, assets and debts, your cash flow, and your financial goals. Consider working with a financial consultant to help you with issues related to financial planning, including property division, support payments, retirement planning, and tax ramifications. This can help alleviate some of the financial stress that accompanies a divorce.
7) Kids and summer
As children complete their school year in the spring, it's often a time when separation anxiety becomes a big factor. Divorce proceedings can put a lot of strain on children, and many couples prefer to wait till summer when the children can make the transition into a new household smoothly. That way, the children will have three whole months to adjust before the next school year starts.
If you are considering a divorce and have decided to move forward this Spring when most people tend to get divorced, there are factors to consider. Spring weather brings the opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning. On the other hand, practical reasons like tax implications and financial bonuses may also be a factor. No matter your reason, if you are planning for a spring divorce, please make the effort to prepare your finances ahead of time with a professional divorce financial consultant. By doing this, you are ensuring that you are making informed decisions for your present and future financial health. As a divorce financial consultant, it's my job to provide advice that best prepares my clients for the process of seeking divorce. If you are planning on filing for a divorce anytime soon, it's important to make sure you are financially prepared and have everything you need to make the transition to your new life. Spring is an excellent time to consider how the transitions will affect not just finances, but also day-to-day life.
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