Divorce Day: Transitioning to a New Life Phase

divorce papers and wedding bands

The first Monday after New Year’s Day has earned the name “Divorce Day” because it is when many spouses start looking for divorce attorneys. Divorce attorneys in the U.S. and abroad, as well as Google search, see a significant surge of divorce inquiries on the first working Monday in January. Some spouses are seeking a fresh start in the new year, others have decided to wait and see how the holidays go for them, putting the entire fate of their relationship onto what can be a highly stressful time. Whatever the reason, the “Divorce Day” trend is unmistakable.

If you have decided that you are ready to end your marriage and start the next chapter of your life, then we can help you with the divorce transition. As an experienced divorce attorney will tell you, when you are seeking a divorce at this time of year, it is important not only to understand why it makes sense to file for divorce in January, but also to be sure that you are proceeding for the right reasons and that you are properly prepared to go forward with the process.

Why Filing for Divorce in January Makes Sense

If you have children, waiting until after the holidays to start divorce proceedings will avoid having negative memories associated with what is often a very special time of year for children. Moreover, it can be devastating for a soon-to-be ex-spouse to be informed of a divorce in the middle of the holiday season. Leaving a spouse in January may also help him or her to see it as an opportunity for a new beginning and a period of self-growth.

There are also financial reasons to file for divorce in January. Waiting until after December 31 avoids the monetary penalty for filing separately if you are still married. In addition, by the beginning of the year it is likely that any year-end income (such as an annual bonus, which can be significant) will have been received and properly documented.

That said, you want to be sure that you are not seeking a divorce as a reactionary move. Even for the strongest of marriages, the holidays can be stressful and emotionally fraught. Be sure that the dust has settled and your judgment is not being clouded by the winter doldrums before calling it quits.

Furthermore, be sure that you are properly prepared to proceed with a divorce. In addition to seeking a divorce attorney, you should: assemble your financial paperwork; assess your credit and consider opening new bank accounts in your name only; and be sure you have enough money to pay for your divorce.

Divorce in Oregon: The Basics

Oregon is a no-fault state, meaning that you are not required to show whose fault it is or even why the marriage is ending. All you need to tell the court is that you and your spouse have “irreconcilable differences.” That is, if your marital problems cannot be resolved and you want a divorce, a court will grant you a divorce (also referred to in Oregon as a “dissolution”).

There are a number of possible paths that an Oregon divorce can take, including a collaborative process, which provides an alternative to litigation. Mediation involves one or more private counseling sessions in which a trained person tries to help you and your spouse reach an agreement. Not all divorces end up in court as a contested proceeding.

If you have children, real property, retirement benefits, or your divorce is contested from the outset, you should seriously consider hiring an Oregon divorce attorney. And for a number of reasons, including knowing your options from the start, ensuring that your interests are protected early, and avoiding unnecessary delay, you should hire an attorney early in the process.

To be able to seek a divorce in Oregon, you or your spouse must have lived in the state for six months before filing for divorce. There are several important tasks that must be completed to start an Oregon divorce proceeding:

  • You must file several documents, including a petition for dissolution of marriage, with the circuit court clerk’s office at the local county courthouse. The petition tells the court and your spouse what you are asking for in the divorce.

  • You must have the petition and any other required documents officially delivered to (“served on”) your spouse. This lets your spouse know that a divorce action has been started and what you are asking for.

  • You must pay (or be excused from paying) the fees that are charged for filing a divorce petition. There might also be costs for having your spouse served.

How an Oregon Divorce Attorney Can Help

If you have decided to seek a divorce and are looking for an experienced Oregon divorce attorney to protect your interests, we welcome you to contact Litowich Law. Based in Salem, we serve clients throughout Oregon and are dedicated to helping our clients and their families make well-informed decisions for their future.

Categories: Divorce
Sarah M. Litowich's Profile Image
Salem family law attorney Sarah M. Litowich is an Oregonian through and through, with roots in rural eastern Oregon and the Willamette Valley. She is grateful for these deep Oregon roots because she learned the value of hard work and building and mai… Read More

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