If marriage is rocky, should you put off divorce?

ATLANTA -  If your marriage is broken, Atlanta divorce attorney Harmon Caldwell, Jr., said couples might not want to wait until 2016 to file.

"More often than not, the holidays create even more tension," said Caldwell, with the firm Caldwell, Propst & DeLoach. "What should be the happiest of times isn't at all. If you're ready for a divorce, I recommend ushering in the new year as newly single, and preparing for a new life."

But Caldwell cautions that some couples find ways to reconnect and reconcile during the holidays.

He offers three reasons to wait before filing for divorce:

  • The holidays can bring people together.
  • Waiting until after the holidays will give you more time to move forward with a clear head – and without the stress and emotions of the holiday season.
  • If you're unsure of your financial worth, waiting until after the holidays will provide you with more time to gather and prepare information on your assets, including bank accounts, brokerage accounts, property, trusts, tangible valuables and retirement funds.

"It's no surprise that I file more divorce cases in January, February and March of each year than I do the entire remainder of the year," Caldwell said. "I understand the reasoning. Spouses want to keep their family together and not ruin the season." 

But Caldwell said there are downsides to waiting:

  • You prolong what may be an intolerable situation.
  • The longer you wait, the greater likelihood of your spouse finding out about your plans for divorce. If your spouse finds out, that may give him or her the opportunity to conceal assets or file a divorce complaint before you do, which puts you on the defensive.
  • By waiting, you're betting your current situation will not change for the worse. However, your spouse could lose his or her job, could fall ill or a myriad of other things that might delay your divorce filing, compromise your ability to obtain the best possible resolution and ultimately keep you from moving on with your life.


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