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Thinking of filing for divorce this January? So are many others

The holidays are over and a new year has begun. For many couples here in Utah and across the nation that means filing for divorce. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, divorce filings increase up to 30 percent in January of every year.

Some speculate that this rise is due to the financial and emotional stress of the holidays. Another possibility is that couples do not want to "ruin" the holidays for their children and families, so they wait until January to file. However, rushing to the courthouse could be a mistake.

Taking the time to make a plan and deal with negative emotions could help ensure that a party receives as fair and equitable a settlement as possible. Be sure that every aspect of the marital finances is taken into consideration prior to filing. For example, if one spouse receives a yearly bonus at the beginning of the year, it might be better to wait to file until that is deposited.

Consider avoiding the adversarial atmosphere of a courtroom as well. Utah couples who negotiate their own settlements through mediation, collaborative divorce or simply sitting down with their respective attorneys tend to be more satisfied with the results. Furthermore, the parties retain control over how their independent futures will look and how they structure a parenting plan if children are involved.

Couples who are able to view their divorce as a business deal tend to make better choices since their emotions are taken out of the equation. Keeping the house, or fighting or a certain asset, just to upset the other party or for sentimental reasons could end in financial disaster. In addition, being able to cooperate and compromise often leads to saving time and money since court battles are costly and extend the proceedings unnecessarily in most cases.

Source: MarketWatch, "Avoid these common mistakes if you're filing for divorce in January", Quentin Fottrell, Dec. 31, 2016

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