The ornaments are all packed away for another year. The tree is curbside to be recycled. Thoughts have turned from the holidays to the changes the coming year may bring. If you and your spouse have been teetering on the brink of splitting up for a while, it’s quite likely that one or both of you may be considering filing for divorce in 2017.

If so, you are not alone. Statistically speaking, in January there is an upsurge in divorce filings and client inquiries to family law attorneys regarding divorce. Something about “out with the old, in with the new” seems to resonate with those who unhappily married.

Given the emotional dynamite a divorce can detonate within a family, this actually makes sense. Parents grit their teeth and paste fake smiles across their faces to avoid unpleasant scenes with spouses over the holidays that will upset the kids. Even couples without children to protect tend to put divorce on the back burner until the holidays have passed. Inevitably, there will be extended family members who will be upset by the news. Let’s face it – filing for divorce right before the holidays is depressing.

Financial and other concerns

Couples who time divorce filings for after the first of the year also may be considering the fiscal ramifications. Remaining together for the full year means that neither will risk losing any of the benefits of filing taxes jointly as a married couple. Additionally, should one or both spouse(s) be in line for a holiday bonus, waiting to file assures the extra money will remain a marital and not separate asset.

But there are also philosophical reasons for the higher rate of divorces in the first quarter of the year. The passage of time from one year to the next causes us all to reflect on ou r own mortality, to consider those we have loved but lost during the prior year. It makes people recognize the brevity of life and the futility of remaining in a troubled and loveless marriage. Miserable and unfulfilled spouses begin to contemplate a happier life. This often doesn’t involve cohabitating with a spouse whom they may no longer love or even respect.

Make wise decisions regarding divorce

No matter what your reasons are for filing for divorce in 2017, any actions you take should be well thought out and based on logical, informed decisions made after contacting a Maryland family law attorney. He or she can help you strategize effectively to emerge in the best possible financial position post-divorce.