When is the Best Time to Get Divorced?
The best time to get a divorce is different for everyone. Rushing into it before carefully considering your situation can be reckless – but in some cases, it is better to act fast.
In most cases, it is better to be prepared. Sometimes, spouses have been talking about it for a while and are both leaning towards separation. Or, only one spouse wants a divorce. In either situation, if you feel that divorce is likely, consult with a family law attorney as soon as you can (with or without the knowledge of your spouse) to get answers to your questions that will help you decide when is the best time to begin your divorce proceeding and what you need to do to prepare. You’d be surprised how many factors can have a significant impact on the way your divorce is handled, such as:
- How a divorce proceeding will affect your familial life
- Your emotional and physical health
- The projected financial burden
- Tax season
- The condition of the real estate market
- Your children’s school year schedule
- And more
To make sure you are making the right move at the right time, find out what factors you should consider before you start your divorce.
Your first thought might be of the legal fees that come with a divorce, but there are bigger issues you should also consider. Are you financially dependent on your spouse, or is he or she dependent on you? If so, will you continue to financially support one another during the divorce process? When you begin your divorce, will you both contribute to the mortgage, car payments, and other bills? Or, if you have children, who will pay for their daily expenses, medical bills, and so on? There are many financial aspects you should assess independently, and discuss together if that is possible.
A large part of divorce is division of assets and property, so start assembling your financial documents before the divorce begins. Whether you and your spouse will have an amicable split or not, it is crucial that you protect your finances and make your own separate accounts. Also, gathering your financial paperwork now could be much easier than later, when you and your spouse are separated and likely living apart. At that point, seeing one another in order to locate documents and account passwords might lead to unnecessary arguments.
Also, you should try to save or get access to enough money to fund your divorce. This includes the legal fees, the cost of living independently, credit card bills, car payments, and any other expenses. This is to ensure you are financially stable throughout the process, which often takes six months or more depending on the complexity of your case.
You must decide if a divorce is the healthiest choice for yourself and your children, and then prioritize making your divorce as easy on your children as possible. This includes timing – it is often best to plan out beforehand with your spouse how you will talk to the children about the divorce and agree on how you will answer their questions. You might also consider timing your divorce to benefit your children. For example, some couples choose to wait until after the holidays or after one final family vacation. Whatever your reasoning, remember that every family is different and what works for someone else might not work for you, so use your best judgment.
Personal Well-Being & Safety
If your relationship is in any way bad for your emotional, mental, or physical welfare, you should not wait to get out. It is great to be prepared and to have your plans laid out ahead of time, but if you or your children are suffering abuse or in danger from your spouse, it is best to make your move now and sort out the details later. Take your essentials, make sure you have access to the funds you need, including account passwords, and get to a safe place. There are hotlines you can call, depending on what situation you are in, and there are safe places to go if you do not have a friend or family member you can stay with.
By initiating a divorce you can provide yourself with certain legal protections, sometimes in conjunction with a restraining order. You can ask your attorney what you can do depending on your specific situation.
Call The National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at (800) 799-7233, or visit them online at thehotline.org.
For some spouses, an illness or health issue might prevent one or both from seeking the divorce they want. If one spouse has a medical condition that requires constant care, it can certainly be difficult for either spouse to go through with a divorce, leaving the ill spouse without assistance. Also, the ill spouse may depend on the healthcare insurance coverage of the other in order to receive treatment. After the couple is divorced, the ill individual will have to find healthcare from another source. This can certainly be a good reason to stay with your spouse, but it can be difficult if neither of you wishes to remain married. If you can find a way for your ill spouse to acquire affordable insurance coverage in the event of a divorce, the two of you might discuss this as an option to obtain the split you both desire. You can also speak with a family law attorney about legal separation, which would allow each spouse to participate in the other’s healthcare benefits while living apart with separate resources.For advice on when to divorce, contact McKinley Irvin in our Oregon office.