Divorcing After A Short Marriage

What to Expect When Ending a Short Marriage

Marriage is usually intended to be a lifelong commitment. However, many people discover that the partnership they thought would last a lifetime needs to end much sooner. In some cases, marriages don’t even last a year.

If you’re ending a marriage that’s only existed for months, your divorce will look different in many ways from a “traditional” separation. Here’s why your relationship’s legal duration matters in divorce and what to expect from your split.

Why the Length of a Marriage Matters

Many laws surrounding divorce are intended to help people end long-term marriages. After all, a couple splitting after twenty years needs to divide a large amount of marital assets and completely change their lifestyle after living as a team for so long.

That’s why these laws do take the length of the partnership into account. A couple that’s been married for six months just isn’t entangled in the same way as a couple married twenty years or more. As a result, a divorce following a brief marriage has fewer complications and fewer protections than longer relationships do.

How a Short Marriage Affects Your Divorce

But how does a short marriage impact your divorce proceedings? In California, you can expect two significant impacts:


The most significant impact of a brief marriage is on spousal support, known as alimony. California courts determine alimony by considering several factors, with the length of the relationship playing a significant role.

The assumption is that the longer a relationship, the more financially intertwined two people are likely to be. For instance, if two people have been married for a decade, one person may have quit their job to take care of their home or children while the other worked full time.

In a short relationship, this probably didn’t happen. As a result, many marriages of less than a year don’t lead to alimony payments unless there’s a prenuptial agreements in place or one party can make a strong argument that they would be eligible for “palimony” in other circumstances.


Assets are complicated in fast divorces. The length of your partnership won’t impact the division of marital assets. Your marital assets will be split 50/50 just like they would in any other split.

However, having a short marriage does mean that you’ll have fewer official marital assets. It also means that assets you had before you got married, known as separate assets, are less likely to be considered legally “commingled.” Getting divorced shortly after getting married can help you retain more of your property overall.

Something the length of your partnership won’t impact is child support. If you share a child with your ex-spouse, child support is determined based on a calculation that doesn’t consider relationship duration at all.

Moving Past Your Brief Marriage

If you’re getting a divorce after a short partnership, you’re not alone. You’re making the right decision to end the relationship before things get more complicated. You can get help navigating your divorce by scheduling a consultation with an experienced divorce attorney. They can help you move beyond your marriage by handling the divorce proceedings and keeping the process moving.

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