Divorce should not only be a heart-felt decision, but a collective decision. This is why timing is everything. Florida still continues to be one of the top 10 states with the highest divorce rate, with the rate of divorce in Palm Beach County being no exception.
If divorce is something you have put much thought into and have your mind set on, plan your steps and present the divorce papers after you have done your research and taken the proper action in preparation.
A divorce in Palm Beach County will entail a Florida Law “no-fault” divorce statute meaning that a spouse is not required to prove that the other caused the breakdown of the marriage. In plain English, you can obtain a divorce even if your spouse does not consent, which can help expedite the process more so than other states.
According to Forbes, January is the ideal time to start taking steps to prepare for divorce for both emotional and practical reasons. Holidays are the worst time to add the stress of a divorce announcement amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping and family visits. January is a time for new beginnings and also a time to file your previous year’s taxes and get your financial affairs in order.
Since there is a period of preparing the paperwork within a 2-3 month period, rates of divorce surge in January and continue to peak through March according to a study conducted by Market Watch. For divorce in Palm Beach County, Florida Family Law states that the final judgment for dissolution of marriage can’t be entered until at least 20 days after the filing date for divorce.
Here are the most common reasons why January is the best time of year to start the process of divorce filings according to Huffington Post:
- New Year, New Beginnings – Not too many people are so ruthless as to present their spouse with the ambush of a divorce during the holiday season. New Years symbolizes a fresh slate and an optimistic outlook on starting a new beginning. This gives enought time and more likelihood that by the next holiday season, children and family members are better adjusted to the new arrangement.
- The Bonus Check is in the Bank – If your spouse is expecting an end of year bonus, you are ensured to accrue the martial property before he or she can deny it from your finances. This helps to divide the previous and current year’s finances between you and your spouse so that you are entitled to the shared finances you had when you were married.
- Time to Plan the New Tax Year – As stated above, clearing out your previous year’s tax obligations before proceeding with the new endeavor of divorce will ensure that the two will not intermix. Since you will most likely be in the mode of thought where you are preparing your personal finances, considering the outcomes of your divorce will come to mind in a clearer manner.
Emotionally, there is no “best time” to get a divorce, no matter what month of the year it is. However, you should never file for divorce until you are fully ready to do so. Jeff Landers, a CFDA is the author of Think Financially, Not Emotionally brand of books, webinars and seminars and eLearning courses that guide support people before, during and after divorce. He illustrates the four bases of time-frame preparation when filing for divorce:
- Assemble your paperwork – When you gather the paperwork, make sure your spouse will not see it. Keep it in the possession of a trustworthy loved one or a safe deposit box at a bank. Review the Financial Information Checklist if you are not sure what financial and legal documents you need. (Conveniently, this checklist is written by the Bedrock Divorce Advisors in West Palm Beach, which bears in mind the nuances of divorce in Palm Beach County).
This will take a long time, and there will be details you will need that have not even crossed your mind in years. Bear in mind that you will need certain documents from your spouse and they may not be willing to cooperate and may even attempt to thwart the process. Family Florida Law uses an equitable distribution structure for dividing property.
Bear in mind that divorce in Palm Beach County is more successful in your favor if you create an inventory of all property currently and previously owned because it will determine whether or not the asset is marital or the separate property of one spouse. For more information on obtaining the specific forms for divorce in Palm Beach County, click here.
- Establish your own credit – Now is the time to establish your foundation as someone who is filing as single. Obtain a copy of your credit report and correct any blemishes or errors. Open up credit cards, checking, and savings accounts using your own name without your spouse’s name. Preferably use a bank where you and your spouse does not currently use.
- Save enough money to fund your divorce, or make alternative arrangements – Having a secret fund that your spouse does not have access to puts you way ahead of the game in terms of establishing financial independence once you are divorced. With the key word being secret, this means that you go out of your way to make sure that your spouse does not find out about it.
Otherwise, you can be accused of hiding assets or charged with dissipation of marital assets. If your spouse is the breadwinner, you will need to make sure that credit card bills and expenses are paid in case they cut you off before your settlement is final.
Be aware of how expensive your divorce is and know that the more complex the financial structure of your marriage is, the more lawyers, financial advisors, forensic accountants and experts you will need to employ.
- Put together a top-notch professional divorce team – Shop around for the best attorney before choosing one. Choose them based off of credentials rather than personal chemistry and make sure they are specialized in the required expertise. If you can afford it, hire a team of professionals: an attorney, a divorce financial advisor and a therapist to take care of the emotional distress that your divorce will cause.
With a divorce in Palm Beach County, a Florida attorney will advise you to take on one of the three types of divorce that you can file: 1. Simplified Dissolution of Marriage 2. Uncontested Divorce 3. Contested Divorce.
With the occurrence of divorce in Palm Beach County being so common, it is not a cynical idea to stay informed about the best methods of approaching the beginning proceedings of divorce. Even if you are just contemplating and do not necessarily follow through with a divorce, it is better to approach the idea with finances in mind rather than emotions if that is the final decision.