Going through a divorce during the holidays is especially difficult, and for one reason or another, many people set a goal to finalize it before the new year.
However, if spousal support is on the line, finalizing this year could be especially important.
The tax treatment of alimony is set to change on January 1, 2019. After this, spousal support payments will no longer be tax deductible. Without this incentive, people who are ordered to pay support could be more likely to seek lower spousal support payments, which could hinder negotiations and work against those who would collect the money.
In fact, as one article notes, some people who are still in negotiations over spousal support may void an offer if the other party does not sign by the end of the year.
Because the clock is ticking, both parties in a divorce have a strong incentive to reach an agreement before the end of the year. Payers want to ensure that they can deduct payments; recipients may be afraid that any offer after the New Year will be far lower than the current figure.
Other reasons to finalize before the New Year
Even if spousal support is not an issue in your divorce, there may still be reasons to resolve the process before the New Year. For some people, it reinforces the sense of closure. For others, it can make it easier when filling out future tax documents. Another factor to consider is that people tend to have more time off during the holidays and before the start of a new calendar year, which can make it a little more convenient to attend mediation sessions or meet with an attorney.
That being said, it is crucial that people not rush through a divorce to meet an arbitrary or unofficial deadline. The sense of urgency can be quite powerful, but acting without fully understanding the legal options or the ramifications of an agreement can be far more costly than taking a little more time to figure out what is in your best interests.