California residents might be surprised to learn that divorce action tends to surge during the first month of the year, but the reason for this surge may be founded in the idea of making a fresh start at the beginning of the year. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has noted that filings often increase by up to 33 percent during the month of January, but it is important to avoid filing simply for emotional reasons. An unhappy spouse should take time to evaluate several issues related to a potential divorce prior to proceeding to file.
Property division is one of the most significant areas of focus. As a community property state, California requires an equal division of assets acquired during the marriage unless the couple can otherwise come to an agreement. Assets include not only physical property but also retirement accounts and investments. It may be advisable to work with a financial planner to ensure that both assets and debts are carefully considered. An awareness of the potential cost of a divorce might deter an individual who is only contemplating this action.
An individual who is thinking about getting divorced may also want to discuss the matter with a psychologist to ensure that the action is approached with clarity of mind. If it is difficult to find the funds needed to see a psychologist, it may be possible to find community resources that offer counseling. In some cases, an emotional situation may not warrant divorce, and working through the issue might provide a fresh perspective that makes it possible to continue in the marriage. If divorce appears to be inevitable, it is wise to select a lawyer that has no connections to one's spouse or other family members.
Consulting a divorce lawyer does not mean that a decision has to be made immediately. A lawyer may be able to provide steps to take in organizing one's financial affairs to minimize complications if a later decision is made to file for divorce.