When considering divorce process options, you may also want to consider timing. The unique challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – shutdowns, layoffs, childcare challenges, slowdowns, and shortages – left a mark, and many of the problems are ongoing. We are all trying to adapt to a new normal that isn’t even fully defined. This means that it is wise to approach your divorce strategically, carefully considering your spouse’s and your current financial circumstances as well as what is likely in the coming months.
If you are discussing divorce process options and making a decision about whether to file for divorce now or only proceed with negotiations now and file later, you should consider that any money spouses earn prior to filing is generally considered joint property unless a prenup exists stating otherwise, and is, therefore, subject to division. Money earned after a divorce action has been filed, on the other hand, is typically not subject to division and generally remains the income of the spouse that earned that money.
Why Wait To File For Divorce?
At this point in the year, it may be beneficial to wait to file for divorce until after the new year if you get significant benefits for filing your tax returns jointly. You can only file jointly if you are still married as of December 31, so if that is important for your family’s finances next year, you might decide to wait. It is also sometimes easier to file early in the year from an accounting standpoint, as pay stubs, W2s, 1099s, and other year-end documentation are readily available.
Why File Now?
If your income took a significant hit in 2020 and you expect to pay spousal or child support, you may want to file for divorce now. Most states look at current earnings and, depending upon the circumstances, your recent past earnings history in determining income for support calculations. If you are still experiencing negative impacts in 2021 due to the pandemic, or expect the future impacts to get worse for you, you might choose to delay filing to factor those current circumstances into your process.
Divorce Process Options That Put Family First
Financial circumstances aren’t the only considerations. Do you feel your family is ready for the emotional upheaval of another major transition? If not, perhaps you can discuss the different divorce process options and if you agree you and your spouse can begin negotiations now, but hold off on filing with the court until things have settled down. Perhaps with so much changing already, you feel you might as well get it all over with at once. Once you decide when to proceed, you will also need to decide what type of divorce process you will use.
Collaborative Practice is a community of independent professionals offering divorce process options for resolving conflict throughout the Kansas City metro area. Our Attorneys represent client goals and interests, working as a team toward mutual satisfaction. Our Financial Professionals help gather financial information related to assets, liabilities, income, and expenses, assisting the team with financial issues of property division and cash flow. Our Mental Health Professionals focus on communication, problem-solving skills, and the development of a parenting plan, if applicable.
For help determining which divorce process options best suit your specific situation, click here or call Collaborative Practice Kansas City at 913-380-2560.