Advice for Couples Divorcing in the New Year

Ringing in the New Year During a Divorce

Now that the holiday lights are off and the new year’s ball has dropped, it’s time to set your focus on the year ahead of you. If you and your spouse have decided to divorce this year, use this guide to help make the process easier.

How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Texas?

If you’ve held off on filing for divorce for some time, chances are you’re anxious to get the ball rolling. For some couples looking to get divorced as quickly as possible, the minimum amount of days it takes to finalize a Texas divorce is 60 days. However — the length of your divorce process will ultimately depend on if your divorce is contested or uncontested.

Uncontested Divorce Timelines

Couples who agree on their divorce terms can settle their case outside of court to avoid a lengthy trial process. After you file for divorce, your decision will then be entered immediately without an additional waiting period.

You will then request and receive an Uncontested Divorce by Affidavit date, which is when the judge will review your documents and sign the divorce decree — as long as there are no questions or concerns and you and your spouse have both signed the Divorce Decree. Afterward, your divorce will be finalized.

Contested Divorce Timelines

Once your spouse is served and ordered to appear in court to file any temporary court orders, your divorce trial can be scheduled. At this point, you and your spouse will need to negotiate the terms of your divorce, and you’ll head to trial to make the terms of your divorce final.  It typically takes between six months to a year in Texas to resolve any issues and finalize a divorce agreement.

Preparing to Divorce

While you may have resolved to live a happier life by filing for divorce in 2021, the process may seem less thrilling once you’re in the middle of it. It’s essential to prepare the documents and information you need and prepare your support as well. Whether this means talking to your attorney or relying on your close friends and family members, having someone to talk to is vital. A private therapist will likely have the strongest skillset to help you process any emotions.

If you and your spouse share children, now would be a good time to sit them down to talk about the changes that will be occurring. Whether that’s together as a family or separately, it’s important to make them feel unafraid and prepared for their new arrangements.

Benefits of Waiting Until the New Year to Divorce

Beyond keeping the joy in the holiday season, there are some other benefits to divorcing after the new year, including:

Healthcare Coverage

Waiting until the new year has one significant benefit for many couples — healthcare. In instances where only one spouse works or one spouse has better coverage, a couple may choose to wait to divorce to keep their coverage. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing your spouse to stay on your healthcare plan into the new year can help make your divorce easier.

Joint Tax Returns

Though the calendar just changed, the 2021 tax season will be here before you know it, leaving many couples to compile their financial statements. Did you know that your marital status on December 31 of each year determines your tax filing status options for that year?

This means that if you wait to file your divorce until the new year, you could still file a joint return for 2020. If your divorce is finalized within 2021, you’ll file as single for your next tax return.

Collecting these statements now can make filing for divorce and filing your tax return easier:

  • Household budgets.
  • Joint and personal assets.
  • Checking account balances.
  • Mortgage payment.
  • Any debts and credit card balances.

Marital Property

If you or your spouse received an end-of-year bonus, waiting to divorce until the new year would mean that money is counted as marital property. Your incomes for the year will also determine what the court awards regarding alimony (spousal support) and child support.

Hiring a Skilled Brazoria County Family Law Attorney

Going through a divorce isn’t easy — and having a family law attorney defending you can prove vital. If you want to resolve your divorce quickly so you can enjoy your new year and life ahead, it’s crucial to choose a skilled family lawyer in Texas to help.

Our family law attorneys at Jeff Gilbert Law Office will achieve a successful outcome that enables you to move forward in your life. You will have the confidence of knowing that an experienced Brazoria County divorce attorney is on your side, working to help you achieve your goals.

To book a consultation with our skilled team, contact us at (979) 200-6556 or visit us online today.