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Getting Divorced After a Short Marriage

 Posted on June 12, 2017 in Divorce

Getting Divorced After a Short MarriageAfter their actual honeymoon, newly married couples typically go through an extended honeymoon period, when the excitement and happiness of marriage outweighs any negatives. Researchers estimate that the honeymoon period typically wears off after three to five years, when stresses test the strength of a marriage. Some marriages do not survive the test, as studies in the U.S. show that approximately 20 percent of first marriages and 31 percent of second marriages end within five years. In rare cases, a couple may not need even a year to realize they made a mistake. Settling a divorce after a short marriage involves many of the same issues as longer marriages, but the duration of the marriage may affect how the issues are decided.

Division of Property

Illinois requires divorcing spouses to equitably divide their marital property, but a court is allowed to consider the duration of the marriage when determining the division. Courts will generally put greater importance on fairly dividing property in cases involving longer marriages, though there is no official number of years that are required for a longer marriage. For short marriages, it is also important to distinguish between marital and non-marital property. Spouses who have not been married for long are less likely to have accumulated shared assets, including:

  • Real estate;
  • Retirement plans;
  • Family vehicles; and
  • Various valuables purchased after marriage.

Having less marital assets can make the division of property more contentious because each spouse may want to keep what little assets he or she has.

Spousal Maintenance

Unlike with the division of property, the duration of a marriage has a quantifiable effect on how Illinois awards spousal support payments after a divorce. Courts can consider the duration of the marriage when deciding whether spousal maintenance should be awarded. Once it has been awarded, the number of years the spouses were married will determine the duration of the maintenance. For marriages that lasted five years or less, maintenance must be paid for a time period equal to 20 percent of the length of the marriage. This favors the paying spouse because the percentage increases if the marriage lasted longer.

Child Support

A short marriage does not affect the obligation of child support and right to the allocation of parental responsibilities, as long as both spouses are the legal parent of the child. Two parents do not need to have ever been married in order for both to have parental rights and responsibilities.

Prenuptial Agreement

The complications and limitations of a divorce settlement after a short marriage can be mitigated if you have a prenuptial agreement to outline the division of property and spousal maintenance. A Naperville divorce lawyer at Calabrese Associates, PC, can help you create a prenuptial agreement or settle a complex divorce. To schedule an appointment, call 630-393-3111.


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