Why Is January Known for Divorce?
While most people look forward to the holiday season each year, the month of January can be a letdown for a variety of reasons. Not only is the excitement of the holidays over, the weather can be very cold and dreary. January also has a reputation for being known as the “divorce month,” a time when unhappily married couples decide to dissolve their partnerships. There are many reasons why divorce filings increase in January.
The holidays bring a lot of stress for couples already on shaky ground. They might want to stay together during the holidays for the children, or they feel a desire to see if the marriage will work. Yet, going through an unpleasant holiday season can make people really think about not wanting to experience it again next year with the same partner. Many spouses end up making New Year’s resolutions to make this change and to end an unhealthy marriage. Tax issues are another reason why January is a big month for divorce filings. Separating couples might want to get the divorce settled in order to avoid having to file jointly.
If you are planning to make it through the holidays with your spouse and file for divorce in January, remember that it is a process that will take some time. With careful planning and a willingness to negotiate, a divorce can go a lot smoother.
Filing a Divorce in New Jersey
In New Jersey, either partner in a marriage can file for divorce as long as one party lives in the state. To file a no-fault divorce, the two parties must have been living separate and apart for a minimum of 18 consecutive months.
Grounds for divorce include extreme physical or mental cruelty, desertion, adultery, institutionalism, imprisonment, habitual drug addiction or drunkenness, and deviant sexual behavior. Irreconcilable differences can also be grounds for a fault divorce if they can prove that this situation existed for at least six months.
Individuals can file for divorce by completing a Complaint for Divorce form, a summons form, paying a $300 filing fee, among other steps. You will have to complete more forms if there are children involved. Everything must be completed correctly, copied, and uploaded into the state’s Judiciary Electronic Document Submission system. Once you receive a docket number, the other spouse must be served with the divorce papers. The filing party also has to prove to the court that the spouse received them. This last part can be done by hiring a process service or through your local Sheriff’s Office.
What if My Spouse Contests the Divorce?
Although it is not always possible to communicate calmly and openly with a soon-to-be ex-spouse about an impending divorce, it can often make matters easier. Some turn to mediation, which can save a lot of time, money, and heartache. When the separating couple does not agree about certain issues like the grounds for divorce or parenting time, they might have to enter into a contested divorce.
With contested divorces, plaintiffs and defendants have to set up a discovery process to gather and provide documentation. They often need to schedule case management conferences, matrimonial early settlement panels, parent education workshops, and parenting and custody mediation meetings. This can involve additional paperwork and fees and can add months to the divorce process. In these situations, the divorcing spouses are advised to each get their own lawyers to help protect their rights and interests.
Should I File for Divorce in January?
Filing for a divorce is a major life-changing decision, and it should not be taken lightly. However, a divorce could be your best option for long-term happiness, and not all divorces are contentious. Many couples stay together for their children or because they do not want to be alone, but these are not always the right reasons. Now may be the time to step back and assess your marriage.
Think about how well you and your spouse actually talk to one another. Is there a lack of daily communication? Couples who have no common interests aside from their children may also find that they never spend time together, contributing to the lack of communication and intimacy. To get answers, you might first try speaking to a therapist or mediator, either on your own or with your spouse. However, the best choice may be to get a divorce.
Marlton Divorce Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Can Help You Get a Divorce in the New Year
No matter what month you decide to divorce, you might benefit from the sound legal guidance from our Marlton divorce lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. For an initial consultation, complete our online form or call us at 856-890-9400. Located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, and Gloucester County.