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2019’s New Tax Laws Have Splitting Couples Sprinting to Finalize Their Divorces Before the Year’s End

Droves of couples seeking divorce have been flooding courthouses across the country, apparently agreeing on one thing: Make it official by the end of the year.

Divorce attorneys are reporting that their workloads have increased four-fold, all to help their clients end their marriage by 2019 when changes from President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will be felt. The new law makes significant changes to the way that alimony payments are taxed, reducing tax savings by eliminating deductions.

One Florida Judge is even adding extra court time, citing the change in tax law as the reason, and is making herself available on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28, days when the court would otherwise typically be closed, CBS MoneyWatch reported.

IRS data shows that about 586,000 filers claimed alimony deduction for the 2016 tax year, and the move is estimated to bring in $6.9 billion over the course of nine years, The Hill reports.

By the end of the year, divorce filings may be up as much as 20 percent over 2017, President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Peter M. Walzer told CBS MoneyWatch.

A majority of matrimonial lawyers believe that the changes to the law would lead to more contentious settlement negotiations.

However, the new tax code may affect fewer people, as divorce rates overall have fallen over the past several years.