You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.
— Benjamin Franklin
We are all guilty of procrastination from time to time, whether it be a big or small task. According to Charlotte Lieberman at the New York Times in her article entitled “Why Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do with Self-Control)” dated March 25, 2019, procrastination is “a way of coping with challenging emotions and negative moods induced by certain tasks — boredom, anxiety, insecurity, frustration, resentment, self-doubt and beyond.”
Divorce, no doubt, can and does likely bring up a number of these challenging emotions: anxiety and insecurity about the future – both for you and for your children, too. It is therefore understandable, and common, to delay filing for divorce. You may be certain that the differences between you and your spouse are too serious to repair but may be stuck as to when to file. Although you may delay, time will not, and doing so will not only affect your emotional state, but the holdup can also impact your legal and financial future.
Do You Want to be Divorced this Year?
Under Family Code section 2339, no Judgment of Dissolution is final for purposes of terminating the marital status until six months from the date of service of the Petition and Summons or the date of appearance of the other party, whichever occurs first. Therefore, to achieve the status of “single” by the end of the year (December 31), you need to file and serve a divorce action by the end of the preceding June. Also, in order to ensure that your Judgment is entered by the end of the year, it is advisable that the Judgment be submitted to the Court no later than October. This means that if you hoping to be divorced before year end, it is time to contact a lawyer now.
Consider Your Child(ren)’s Schedule
Some of your anxieties about filing for a divorce likely stem from your fears about the effect on your children. With divorce comes many changes which can include a new parenting arrangement and a move, by one or both parents, from the family residence. Practically speaking, filing for divorce before or near the beginning of your children’s summer break allows your child(ren) to become accustomed to the changes before school starts in the fall. The summer can allow for privacy from peers at school, time to see a counselor to cope with the adjustments, and free time to spend one on one with each parent. No matter the time of year, children have varying reactions to divorce, and each parent needs to navigate through those challenges as they arise. However, filing for divorce sooner rather than later can help minimize the effect that those reactions will have on their schoolwork. The summer will give both you and your child(ren) time to adjust.
Whatever your reason for delay, the decision to file for divorce is yours—a highly personal, life changing and important decision. Hopefully the tips provided here can provide some guidance to ease your concerns about the timing of this decision.