You are not alone. Divorce filings surge in January as people decide to start their New Year with a clean slate, helped by a stressful holiday period and, perhaps, even more stressful family members. What should you do if you’re considering a new year divorce?

new year divorce

New Year Resolutions

I’ve written about divorce issues and their causes before. As Market Place reports, being cooped up in a house during the holidays when a marriage is experiencing serious problems – while dealing with the pressure to put on a happy face for the kids and visiting relatives – takes its toll on the most stoic of couples.

People want to wait until after the holidays – especially if they have younger children at home. They think:

Let’s not ruin the holidays and their memories with a divorce. Let’s wait and talk about how we want to move things along in the new year.

And after seeing other families at their best on Facebook and Instagram – the idea of perfect looking families haunts many couples who wonder why their lives don’t look as happy.

That’s probably because people don’t post bad selfies with their families or write about how awful things are on social media. So, people’s perception of what other people are thinking about during high stress times like the holidays is misleading.

Another word of caution, due to the new tax code changes, the recipient of spousal support will not have to claim it as income and the payor will not be able to use alimony as a deduction any longer.

What should you do? Whatever the reason for your problems, there are a few things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know to help them through the process.

Prioritize

Line up your priorities for life after the divorce. Is it finding a home? Is it retiring? Getting a job? Managing your special-needs child? Consider writing down your most important goals.

Consult

Even if you aren’t certain you need to hire an attorney, or filing for divorce at all, it is a good idea to meet with an expert in Florida’s divorce and family laws. Who better than someone certified by Florida as an expert in marital and family law?

Alternatives

Litigation is something to avoid. It’s time-consuming, contentious and expensive. The majority of divorces end up settling. There are many forms of alternative dispute resolution out there, including collaborative divorce, mediation, and informal settlement conferences.

Have a Happy New Year

As Market Watch further reports, there is good reason for treating a divorce like a calm business deal. Don’t rush to file. Think about your end game. Many people file quickly out of anger perhaps after learning of a spouse’s misconduct. But it’s better to be strategic.

Divorces are up there with a major investment like buying a home. There’s one big difference with divorces though: They can be devastating for your finances, especially if your partner earned more money and the couple are forced to sell their home.

The Market Watch article is here.