One of the more common questions that we receive concerns when to file for divorce (another one is “(d)oes it matter who files first). There are several factors that go into figuring the timing. For one thing, is divorce an appropriate response to your current situation? Some considerations to think about can be found here and here.

Assuming that you have fully considered your decision, as discussed in the links above, and you wish to proceed with divorce, the next consideration is whether you have taken the steps necessary to be prepared for divorce. A discussion of those steps can be found here.

Ok, now that you have given thought to whether divorce is right for you; and if you are ready for divorce; then the issue of ”when to file” arises. January is the most popular month for filing for divorce. In fact, it is commonly referred to in the industry as “Divorce Month.” February is, typically, the second most popular month for new divorce case filings.[1] But, does it truly matter in which month a new divorce case is started?

As far as the law governing the divorce case, and the manner in which the proceedings will go, the answer is “no.” Filing in either Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter, will not change your case. So, the answer as to when to file is that you should file if and when you are ready to file.

Have you made the plans discussed in the links above for how things will go during your case? Also, will the two of you continue to reside together, or will one of you move out of the home? Have you considered finances and debt payments? Is now a particularly dicey time for one or more of your children? Is it a particularly stressful time at your work? Is there a preplanned family vacation on the horizon? All of these considerations, as well as the others discussed within those other blog posts, amount to determining whether you would be happier staying together, at least for now, or beginning the process of legally dissolving your marriage.

It is not an easy decision for many folks. As for others, they emotionally checked-out of the marriage in the past, and so, it is merely a business decision for them. Wherever you are in that process of emotionally coming to grips with the loss of your marriage, our advice is for you to not make a rash decision. Think about what you want to do. Discuss it with friends, or a mental health worker. And, if you decide that divorce is right for you; and that you are ready to proceed, then make that decision. Until then, wait until you are ready (or, ideally, work to improve your marriage, and never get divorced).

Until nest time, I am the Family Lawyer who says “Divorce is a big decision. Please don’t rush into it!”


[1] There are a few reasons for this phenomenon. Many people do not want to start the divisive process during the  holiday season. The stress of the holiday season pushes other to realize how unhappy they actually are. And, January is often viewed as a time for new resolutions, and major life changes.

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