January has earned the nickname of “Divorce Month” because data shows that divorce filings begin to considerably increase in frequency during this time. During January, the number of divorce filings is one-third more than average. The rate of filings remains high through February and March as well.
Family and relationship experts offer a few possible reasons for this trend. One explanation is that couples considering divorcing wait until after the holidays to do so. It can be difficult to explain to friends and relatives why your significant other is not with you at the holiday party or family gathering. Splitting up during the holidays is even more challenging if a couple has children. Many parents do not want to spoil Christmas, Hanukkah, or other important holidays for their children with news of the impending divorce. If you have decided to divorce this January, there are a few steps you can take to protect your interests and make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Protect Your Finances
If you have decided to end your marriage, it is smart to close any joint bank accounts. Doing so does not mean that you believe your spouse will run off with all the marital savings, it just means you are taking the first step towards independence. During a divorce, neither spouse should be making large unexpected purchases or transfers, but separating finances will give both members of the couple protection against this and peace of mind. Make sure that you wait for all outstanding checks to clear and to change the bank account information for any reoccurring automatic payments. Many financial professionals also encourage divorcing couples to pay off and cancel joint credit cards.
Update Your Estate Plan
If you are planning to divorce your spouse, you do not want to continue to have him or her as an executor or power of attorney. Update any powers of attorney or health care directives that give your spouse the right to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. Beneficiaries on life insurance policies and retirement accounts should also be updated. You may want to wait until after the divorce is finalized to make these changes in certain circumstances. Some divorce agreements disallow individuals from changing beneficiaries if, for example, the court has ordered them to maintain life insurance as collateral for support obligations. Bring you homeowners, auto and health policies up to date so they reflect your new single status too.
Put Your Support Structure in Place
Divorce is said to be the second-most stressful life event a person can endure, as it can be devastating to end a marriage that you thought would last your whole life. Therefore, it is imperative that you do not try to get through this difficult time alone. Reach out to friends and family and consider employing the help of a therapist. If your divorce will be financially complicated, you may want to seek advice from a financial advisor as well. There is no shame in asking for help through your divorce.
Trustworthy, Experienced Legal Aide
If you are going through a divorce, you need legal counsel that will protect your rights and help you achieve the positive outcome you deserve. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to discuss your options and to get the assistance you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.