You are likely delighted to see 2020 come to an end. Regardless of whatever personal triumphs you might have had during the year—and congratulations to you if you did have those—they came amidst a landscape in which far too many Americans lost their jobs, experienced great uncertainty, got sick, and even died.
The coronavirus pandemic largely defined 2020, and with vaccines beginning to be distributed, the hope we have is that 2021 will be largely defined by moving past the pandemic. When we celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, we celebrate both an ending and a beginning, and 2020 is certainly something we collectively want to see end.
This reminds us, in a way, of the experience that individuals have when they embark on the journey to divorce. While they may have experienced some good things and insights along the way, they know that they will be better in the long run getting divorced rather than staying in marriages that no longer work for them. They have the realization that an ending is also a beginning.
When we work with people who are seeking divorces, we encourage them to focus on what’s best for their children if they have children, and on what kind of post-divorce life they want to have. People who get divorced are typically focused on ending a marriage, and the healing they believe will come with that. But we think it’s even more important to imagine the beginning that it’s going to create for people who want to get divorced—the beginning to a post-divorce life.
Toward the start of this very long year, we explored the question of whether January really was “divorce month.” The perception stems from the idea of people seeking new beginnings and fresh starts in the New Year. (It also comes, in part, because some people feel it’s best to “get through the holidays” before putting divorce proceedings into motion.)
As we found, while it might not hold for everyone as a general rule, we certainly noticed an uptick in calls at the start of this year, before the pandemic came in to disrupt any familiar patterns we might have expected.
The one thing we pointed out in that article, and still holds true today, is that a divorce petition must be on file at least 60 days before the divorce can be granted. You also can’t snap your fingers and get divorced at the end of those 60 days. Divorce is, after all, a process that involves finances and ends with the creation of a legal document that affects you, your soon-to-be-ex, and your children. It requires some preparation of documents on your part, or more expensively, on our part before it’s possible to create a divorce decree.
Know that if you’re thinking about divorce as one year ends and another begins—especially in a year as emotional as this year has been for many—you’re certainly not alone. The desire to make an ending a fresh, new, hopeful beginning is one that arises as we go from one year to the next, just as it does in divorce. We’ll certainly have time for you at the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance in 2021, should you seek assistance in divorce or another family law matter.