Now that the kids are set to head back to school, you might want to start planning for something you’ve been putting off all summer – a divorce.
As Summer Comes to an End, is it Time for Divorce?
While official statistics are not available, lawyers often see a surge in divorces two times a year: after the Christmas holidays, and at the end of the summer.
“Every year, it’s like clockwork,” said Gaetano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. “You know the phone is going to start ringing like crazy that time of year.”
Couples that are headed towards divorce will often wait until the end of family summer vacations to begin divorce proceedings.
“This is usually the deferral of a decision that’s been made months earlier,” said attorney James Hennenhoefer.
“People don’t want to initiate something when they’re in the Hamptons or in Europe,” said lawyer Robert Dobrish.
Reasons for Divorce
By now we’re all familiar with the common reasons for divorce. Whether you’ve had a family member go through a divorce or a friend, the stories can sound familiar.
Affairs are not just the stuff of TV shows and movies, they happen in real life. Chances are you know someone that’s had one, or someone that has been hurt as the result of one. While some couples do manage to bounce back from infidelity, it can be impossible for others.
Financial troubles can spell big problems for a marriage – big stressful problems that can be damaging for a couple to work through. According to researchers at Kansas State University, there was a strong correlation between early money arguments and marital dissatisfaction years down the road. The study also found money to be “top predictor for divorce” regardless of income and wealth levels.
Married Too Quickly
The time you dated prior to getting married may have an impact on your wedded bliss says a study from Emory University. According to the study, a couple that dates for three years prior to getting married is 39 percent less likely to get divorced than a couple who dated for less than one year.
We all know that binge drinking can be dangerous for a person’s health, let alone the health of a marriage. But maybe having a partner that drinks heavily when you don’t is another thing to blame for a faltering marriage. A University of Buffalo study found marriages are more likely to end up in divorces if one spouse is a heavy drinker. That’s not the case for spouses that are both heavy drinkers. That could mean it’s more in the habits than the actual alcohol itself.
The Prenup Question
Raising the prenup question can be a tough one. It can feel like you’re flat out saying, “this marriage will end in divorce.” And if you spent more time thinking about your prenup than your honeymoon, chances are you might not be as happily married as you’d hoped. W. Bradford Wilcox from the New York Times says that the desire to sign a prenup is usually a self-interested act. And the National Center for Family and Marriage Research found couples who do not share a bank account are 145 percent more likely to end up divorced.
Resentment is defined as the experience of a negative emotion (anger or hatred for instance) felt as a result of a real or imagined wrong done. Maybe it’s the fact that your spouse never closes a drawer and knows it bugs you. Or maybe it’s the fact that he or she never calls to just say “I love you.” Maybe he’s met a bunch of new friends and wants to hang out with them. Maybe she’s taken up a new hobby that is stealing all her attention. There are a million reasons for resentment in a relationship. But perhaps that feeling is the number one underlying reason that marriages fail.
It’s also interesting to note the types of behaviors that stem from resentment: cheating, drug and alcohol use to tame feelings, anger or rudeness, passive aggressive behavior.
Divorces All Around You
If you have a lot of family and friends divorcing around you, chances are, according to a study published in Social Forces Journal, you’re chances for divorce increase 75 percent. The researchers write, “Individuals who get divorced may influence not only their friends, but also their friends’ friends as the propensity to divorce spreads.”
Postponing Through Summer
Divorce is not something you should take lightly. It can be a hard decision to come to, and once you have “made it through” the summer, it’s not uncommon for couples to decide on divorce. Regardless of your reasons for postponing or pursuing, it’s important you take the time to plan out the next steps.
- Gather as much information about what you own – assets, debts, and sources of income. Make copies of any documentation that relates to these items.
- Save for your divorce. Divorce can be expensive, so you’ll want to be prepared and know which accounts you’ll be using to pay these fees. Keep this money in a separate bank account. Also plan what your future budgetary needs will be – as a single person.
- Consider your credit. You might want to freeze any joint credit cards, and make sure you obtain your own credit report.
- You might want to sell the family home. While this can be a very difficult part of a marriage, it might be the best way to answer how this very large asset will be divided.
Consider Other Options
While divorce litigation might seem like the only option, remember that mediation, arbitration, and collaborative divorce are also other options. These options might offer financial breaks as well because they require less time from a lawyer. These can also aid in the emotional pain caused by divorce because the methods employed in these alternatives focus more on a collaboration and finding an agreement that satisfies both you and your spouses needs.
If You Decide to Divorce
The necessary steps for obtaining your divorce will be dependent on the particulars of your relationship. The dissolution of a marriage in which the parties have been married for a short period of time, have no children, and little property or debts will most likely be less involved than a divorce where the couple has been married for a long period of time, shares minor children, or where there is significant property or debt to be divided. The question of if both parties are seeking the divorce will also determine the ease at which they are granted that divorce. A partner not wanting the divorce might respond in a way that allows them to prolong the process. If a couple can both agree to the divorce the process can be much smoother and quicker. This also applies to the agreement process because if a couple is bogged down with fighting and disagreements over everything, the process will be much slower.
1. Petition for Divorce
To start the divorce process one of the spouses must file a petition. Even if both spouses are in agreement, one of them will have to file a petition with the court asking for the divorce. This petition states the grounds for the divorce. These vary from state to state. California is a no-fault state, meaning no fault is placed on either party regardless of infidelity, etc…
2. Temporary Orders for Support and Custody
If one spouse is seeking financial support or custody of children, that spouse will need to ask the court for temporary orders for support and custody. A temporary order is usually granted within a few days of the initial petition. It remains in effect until the full divorce court hearing.
3. Proof of Service and Response
When a party files for divorce they also need to file for a proof of service of process. This document proves that a copy of the divorce petition was given to the other party. This can be done through a process server, or by a lawyer. There are numerous ways to do this and you’ll want to consult a lawyer for advice on how to do this. If the parties mutually agree on the divorce, it is best for the party who files the complaint to arrange for service of process to the other party’s attorney.
Once the party receives the service of process they will need to file a response to the petition. In states where fault grounds can be filed and the responding party wants to dispute those grounds, he or she needs to address it in the response. They are able to dispute the facts alleged in the grounds for divorce. Additionally, if the party disagrees with property division, support, custody, or any other issue, this should be set out in the response.
When two divorcing spouses disagree on issues they must come to an agreement that settles their differences. Often times this is done through mediation. During this process every aspect of a marriage is resolved: child custody and visitation, child support, property division and any spousal support. Working with a lawyer can help you receive the settlement you are seeking when it comes to dissolving your marriage. It’s within your best interest to try and resolve all these issues outside of court. This will cut down on legal fees, time spent arguing, and any headaches that can come with trying to go back and forth to find an agreeable settlement. Any issues left undecided during the mediation process will have to be decided at a trial.
5. Order of Dissolution
Once everything is decided upon an order of dissolution is set forth. This document spells out how the property and debts are to be divided, what child custody and visitation schedule is, what support payments (spousal and child) need to be paid, and any other issues.
Working with a Divorce Legal Representative
If you think that January might be the time for your divorce or legal separation, you should work with a Los Angeles attorney that will take a vested interest in your specific situation and advise you on what you might face regarding property division, child support and custody, and alimony. They will be able to advise you on your options. An attorney will provide support and guidance as you work towards ending your marriage.
Law Offices of Korol and Velen, Certified Family Law Specialists
6300 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1430,
Los Angeles, CA 90048