Reasons to Delay Divorce ‘Till After the Holidays

166286138When you’ve decided to get a divorce, sometimes it seems as though you can’t stand to be married to your partner for one more minute. While this is a natural sentiment, unless you’re in an abusive situation, you may want to wait to divorce until after the holidays.

Reasons Not to File Yet

If the winter holidays are fast approaching, here are some reasons to delay signing those divorce papers until after the New Year:

  1. Avoid the Holiday Frenzy

The holidays are often a time of heightened emotions, even for those who have had relatively happy and healthy childhoods. The holidays are a time to reflect, to consider what the past year as entailed and to make plans for the future. However, despite all this peaceful reflecting, it is also a time of long lines, stressed out friends and family and the pressure of getting just the right presents and preparing just the right food. Unless you and your spouse are going through an incredibly civil divorce with no children, no assets and no resentment, divorcing during the holidays will most likely only compound the stress factor.

  1. Give the Children a Calm Holiday

Especially if you and your spouse have been married with children for a while, you may not want to disrupt their lives right before the holidays. You most likely have traditions in place that the children are used to each year. Making changes to this tradition right before it occurs can create tension and upset. See if you can make an agreement with your spouse to focus on the children for a couple weeks and then move on with your separate lives at the start of the new year.

  1. Simplify Your Taxes

Tax season can be a mess after a divorce, especially if the divorce happened near the end of the preceding year. While it may seem trite to let the New Year ring in before legally changing your filing status, it can save you a major headache down the road.

  1. Resist Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Since holidays are stressful in and of themselves, if you divorce during the holidays, you may find yourself coping in unhealthy ways. You might overspend on presents as a way to numb any emotions, or you might find yourself overeating or buying things you don’t need. January 1st naturally provides a renewed sense of calm and focus, and it can be a better time to make a major life change.

  1. Bonuses

If you rely on your spouse’s income and are legally owed half of what your spouse earns at the divorce, you may want to wait until after your spouse has received the end of the year bonus before legally divorcing.

Ultimately, only you know what is right for you and your family, but these considerations can help you make a confident choice.

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Your Rights as a Renter

84517039If you rent a home or apartment you have certain legal protections you should know about. Landlords and real estate companies have codes of conduct they must follow and if they violate your rights you can take them to court to seek justice.

Anti-Discrimination Laws in Housing: A Rundown

As a citizen you have a fundamental right to find a place to live. If you were there first, have the financial resources to afford a particular home or apartment and no glitches on your credit record the unit you want should be yours.

To guarantee equal access, federal law currently prohibits rental discrimination based on:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability (mental or physical)
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Family status (with or without children)
  • Age

Open discrimination is clearly illegal. However, landlords aren’t allowed to skirt the law through more subtle forms of preferential treatment, either.

For example, they can’t charge different rents for similar units, evaluate anyone’s application more thoroughly than any others, require bigger deposits from some potential renters or favor or discourage any demographic groups from applying in their advertising. They also can’t lie about the availability of an apartment, harass you after you move in or evict you for non-payment of rent without a warning period that gives you a chance to make good your debt.

Here are a few more basic legal rights you are guaranteed as a renter:

  1. The right to know why your application was rejected (if it was). As long as you submit a request in writing they will have to provide an explanation—unless the rejection was based on an official credit report.
  2. The right to due process (warning notices, a chance to make late payments, notices of court action, etc.) if you are facing eviction.
  3. The right to live in a place that is suitable for habitation. If the unit you plan to reside in is physically damaged in a way that affects your safety, or is infested with mice, rats or insects, the landlord has a responsibility to clean it up or fix it up before you move in (at no extra cost to you).
  4. The right to protect your privacy. This means they, their representatives or any service technicians they hire cannot enter your home or apartment without prior notice and/or your permission.

Exceptions to the Rules

Government anti-discrimination rules are extensive but they are not universal. You may face some legally allowed restrictions if you apply to live in:

  • Senior citizen housing.
  • Owner-occupied buildings with four or fewer rental units.
  • Single-family homes that are not handled by a real estate broker.
  • Housing provided by religious or non-profit organizations for members or employees.
  • Section 8 housing.

Landlords can adopt ‘no pet’ policies if they choose. However, they are not allowed to enforce these restrictions if the animals in question are seeing-eye dogs or provide other important services for people with mental or physical disabilities.

Unfortunately there is no general law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. But so far 22 states have passed laws outlawing the former type of discrimination and 19 of these also prohibit the latter. In addition, if you apply to live in federally-funded housing this type of discrimination is strictly forbidden.

Know Your Rights and Demand the Respect You Deserve

The best way to protect your rights is to know about them ahead of time, so you will be prepared to lodge a protest the minute they are violated. While it usually doesn’t go that far, the courts and the legal system are there to help you if an unscrupulous landlord or rental agency discriminates against you in any way, shape or form.

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