With the holiday season nearly past, many Colorado spouses are turning their attention toward the New Year and all that it might hold. For some, that includes ending an untenable marriage. That decision may have been made many months ago, but spouses often delay filing until after the holiday season has passed. That time is nearly here, and it is important to understand the risks of continuing to wait to file for divorce.

The spouse who files first has an advantage, especially if there is a choice of jurisdictions in which to file. The party who initiates a divorce also has the advantage of preparation and can enter the process having already researched how things are likely to go. He or she has also has the time to make important financial decisions while waiting to file and to set the wheels into motion to facilitate those choices.

Delaying a filing gives the other spouse plenty of time to realize that the marriage is about to end. He or she could then act to dissipate family assets, hide important financial documents or otherwise make the process more difficult. In some cases, a spouse who finds out about a pending divorce will even take steps to file first, thereby eliminating all of the advantages described above.

Once the decision has been made to seek a divorce, the initiating party should act swiftly to begin the legal process. Lengthy delays only provide time for something to go wrong and keep both parties in a marriage that has an expiration date. For many in Colorado, the weeks following the end of the year will be filled with a lengthy legal to-do list, and the promise of a very different 2016.

Source: 11alive.com, “If marriage is rocky, should you put off divorce?”, Jennifer Leslie, Dec. 2, 2015