Gregory S. Johnson, Attorney at Law
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Why does the divorce rate spike at the beginning of the year?

The New Year has many people thinking about ways to improve their lives in 2017. Some people want to lose weight and others want to save money. If 2016 was a time of marital strife, you might be considering divorce this year. If you are having thoughts about ending your marriage at this time, you are not alone.

In fact, the divorce rate spikes in January and law firms around the country see an increase in filings through the month of April. The influx at the beginning of the year is caused by New Year's resolutions and tax filing season. The availability of money from a tax return gives people the ability to follow through on their desire to start anew in the New Year.

But isn't divorce expensive?

As the adage goes, "divorce is expensive because it's worth it." But financial issues associated with post-divorce income and the cost of proceedings may have you thinking twice.

The cost of divorce often leaves couples in a limbo of separation. This situation can be especially challenging because there are no formal agreements in place regarding child custody or assets, which could further drive the couple apart.

How to get started

Divorce can be a complicated process, but understanding the first steps to take can help set you up for long-term success.

Here are a couple of things to know about asset division and child custody:

· Louisiana is a community property state. Louisiana community property laws dictate that all assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage will be split equally between the separating spouses. In making this calculation, you also need to consider any reimbursement claims that may exist from personal injury cases, inheritance and other factors.

· Consider the best interest of your children. Think about how you might balance their needs with your life priorities after a divorce. Parenthood often doesn't get easier after divorce, but with the right child custody arrangement, you can ensure that any potentially adverse effects are mitigated.

With assets and children in mind, it's always a good idea to speak with an experienced family law attorney who understands the nuances of family law -- and help you accomplish your goal of new beginnings for a New Year.

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