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Why it might make sense to divorce before the New Year

The holidays are a time for family, and for this very reason, couples in Rhode Island who are in an unhappy marriage may wait until January to end their marriage, even if they already know that divorce is inevitable. They think that by staying together, even if their marriage is crumbling, they can have one last Christmas as a family. Some may even think that the spirit of the season will save their broken marriage.

Therefore, many couples wait until after the holidays to divorce. In fact, January sees some of the most divorce filings of any other month of the year. After all, isn't it better to start off the New Year as a new person, with your unhappy marriage behind you? Perhaps not.

First of all, while there is joy in the holidays, there is also a lot of emotional stress. This stress could lead to even more fights and conflicts than what the couple was previously having, which is difficult not only on them, but on their children as well. Moreover, some marriages are so volatile, sometimes culminating in physical or verbal abuse, that the magic of the holidays cannot save them. Instead, it is better for the couple to separate, so they don't inflict further harm on one another.

Another situation couples divorcing need to consider is taxes. A person's filing status depends on whether or not they were married as of December 31 of the last year. If a person is divorced before December 31, he or she is required to file singly, as an unmarried individual, which could be for the best if he or she earns a significant amount of income. If a couple has not divorced by December 31, they can file as married filing jointly or married filing separately. Again, depending on what a person earns and any end-of-year bonuses they receive, it could be beneficial to file before the New Year. Also, keep in mind that many states have a waiting period before a couple can divorce, even if it is an uncontested divorce.

As you can see, while a couple might be tempted to wait until January to divorce, for some Rhode Island couples, filing for divorce before the new year makes more sense.

Source:, "Considering divorce? Why you shouldn't wait until the New Year to file," Kimberly Powell, Dec. 13, 2016

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