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Is Your New Year's Resolution to Get a Divorce?

22nd December 2009
By Tony R. Bertolino in Divorce
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It is Christmas Eve and you are surrounded by family as you admire the ornaments on the tree and enjoy a warm beverage by the fireplace. You have left all of the crowds at the mall behind and, wrapped in brightly colored packages, you have the perfect presents for everyone on your list. The kids went to sleep without a fight, knowing that morning would bring the discovery of what Santa had left during his annual visit. This is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Why, then, are you throwing sideway glances of disdain at the person with whom you exchanged wedding rings years ago? What is it about this season that makes you realize how unhappy you are in your marriage? And, what will compel you to join thousands of others in a few weeks to do your part in making January the busiest month of the year for divorce attorneys? There are several reasons to explain this very real winter of marital discontent.

The coming of the New Year always brings a period of self-reflection. People make promises to themselves ranging from the ever-popular determination to lose weight to other resolutions such as to quit smoking or to smile more. Some feel that the fresh start that accompanies the countdown to midnight and the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" should include beginning the year without a husband or wife. As New York lawyer Sue Moss puts it, "It seems everyone's New Year's resolution is to lose weight and lose the husband, and not in that order." Those who have struggled in what they believe to be bad marriages, sometimes for years, make the decision that they will not start yet another year in the same environment.

On a more practical note, there are also financial issues to be considered when determining the timing for a divorce. There are tax advantages that come with sticking with the marriage until the end of the fiscal year . Where the old saying was, "We're staying together for the children," many couples now claim, "We're staying together for the tax benefits." Also, there is usually a great deal of financial information that needs to be exchanged when an estranged couple is making decisions about property division, child support, and other issues that involve money. Employment and tax information for the previous year will begin to be available at the end of January. In relationships that are heading for divorce, it is not surprising to discover that one or both parties have not been completely forthcoming concerning finances. The New Year brings evidence of earnings, bonuses, and investment dividends that may have been conveniently hidden until now .

Finally, do not underestimate the influence of the holidays themselves on a person's state of mind. Spending time with extended family can either remind someone of what is lacking in his own marriage or create additional stress in an already fragile marital relationship. If you come from a home that Norman Rockwell could have used as a model for one of his paintings, you may wonder why your current home life cannot measure up . If visits to Mom and Dad usually end up with fists being thrown or the cops being called, such tension will exacerbate personal problems. And, there is also the issue of the infamous holiday party at the office. Infidelity is the number one reason for divorce any time of the year, but the alcohol that often accompanies end-of-year celebrations may increase the chance for inappropriate behavior.

In the state of Texas, there are approximately 100,000 divorces every year and half of these splits involve children who are under the age of eighteen . Naturally, the people of our state are no more or less immune to the effect that the holidays can have on the marriage relationship than any other state in the union. Therefore, divorce attorneys in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and elsewhere across the Lone Star State should expect their phones to be busier and their waiting room to be more crowded once 2010 arrives. Once initial divorce papers are filed with the appropriate court, Texas law requires a sixty-day waiting period and this time frame is only possible if both parties agree to all terms . If there are issues of contention, divorcing couples can expect the process to take a year or even longer. So, it is possible that even though you begin a divorce proceeding in January with the intention of getting a fresh start with the New Year, you may still be engaged in disputes with your spouse when the next holiday season approaches.

If you are a resident of Texas and you are finding that the holidays are bringing serious marital discord to light and you need to start
2010 by taking the first steps in the divorce process, plan to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Emotions are often running high when a spouse files for divorce, and these feelings are intensified by the high expectations and conflicts that arise with the holidays. A good lawyer can guide you through the difficult decisions that must be made with sensitivity and with the mindset of an advocate. Do not start a life-changing year without the best counsel possible and find yourself wishing you had done things differently when 2011 approaches.
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