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How Does The Length Of Your Marriage Affect Your Divorce?


There are many factors that determine the various terms of a divorce settlement. For example, during child custody hearings, a judge will only consider the best interests of the child in Florida. However, there is one factor that will have a direct impact on certain terms of the divorce case, and that is the length of your marriage. Namely, the length of your marriage will influence decisions made on alimony and property division.

How the Length of a Marriage Affects Alimony

The length of a marriage has a significant impact on whether one spouse will receive alimony, also called spousal support. If one spouse does receive alimony, the length of the marriage will also determine the length of time they will receive the support. The length of a marriage will affect alimony in the following ways:

  • Short marriages: A short marriage is typically defined as one that lasts less than one year to seven years. In these cases, it is generally presumed that permanent alimony is not appropriate because the marriage did not last for a long time.
  • Moderate duration: A marriage is generally considered to be of moderate length when it lasts between seven and seventeen years. Still, this is a gray area of the law and arguments often arise about permanent alimony versus durational alimony that only lasts for a certain period of time.
  • Long-term marriages: A long-term marriage is considered to be one that lasted for seventeen years or more. If the court determines there is a need by one spouse and an ability to pay by the other, there is usually a presumption of permanent alimony.

While a judge will consider factors other than the length of the marriage, this is one issue that will have a great impact on alimony.

How the Length of a Marriage Affects Property Division

Florida law aims to divide marital property in a manner that is fair and equitable for both parties. This does not mean, however, that each party will automatically receive 50 percent of the marital assets. There are times when an uneven distribution is appropriate, and a family law judge may take into consideration the length of a marriage when dividing property.

After a couple has been married for more than 17 years, it is easier to determine each party’s contribution to the marriage. For example, a judge may grant one party the marital home, worth $500,000, if they were the one that contributed to maintaining it during the marriage. On the other hand, a judge may award the other party the family business, worth $1,000,000, if they were the one responsible for running it. In this type of situation, the length of the marriage is a factor in property division, even though the amounts are not necessarily equitable.

Call Our Family Lawyer in Orlando for Help with Your Case

If you are getting a divorce, there are many factors that will affect the settlement you ultimately receive. At Anderson & Ferrin, P.A., our Orlando family lawyer can advise on what those factors are, and negotiate for the fair outcome you deserve. Call us today at 407-412-7041 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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