Why is January the Family Law “Busy” Season?

The New Year signals a “new year, new you” attitude for many individuals. For some, this resolution translates to focusing on and improving oneself, and, consequently, ending what they consider a “bad” or “unhealthy” marriage. As a result, statistics show that more divorce complaints are filed across the United States in the month of January than any other month of the year.

There are several reasons individuals, or couples, likely wait to begin the divorce process in January. For some, the holiday season can bring enough stress associated with family gatherings, shopping, and travel, that one may not want to exacerbate the chaos with the filing of a divorce complaint. Particularly, couples with children may want to avoid the conversation of their relationship woes in an effort to avoid ruining a traditionally warm and happy period.

Waiting until the beginning of a new year before filing a complaint also helps to ensure that the marital finances for the preceding tax year are in order as well as protects claims to any year-end bonuses or other compensation traditionally awarded to an individual at the end of the year. In New Jersey, the date of the divorce complaint is the end of the marital partnership, and, therefore, the date at which there is no longer an accrual of marital property. In other words, any assets acquired after the filing of the divorce complaint will be deemed the property of the individual who acquired it and likely will not be considered marital property for equitable distribution. Lastly, couples that wait until a new year to get a divorce may benefit from being able to file joint taxes.

Filing for divorce at any time requires proper planning and preparation. With the right attorneys, the process can be easier. If you or someone you know is contemplating a divorce, please contact one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Written by: Kristyl M. Berckes