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How does a marriage’s duration affect spousal support?

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2023 | Divorce

Divorce often places a party under significant financial challenge, especially after relying on their former spouse and passing up opportunities during the marriage. Fortunately, courts acknowledge this effect of the dissolution of marriage, so they sometimes award spousal support.

When awarding spousal support, Arizona courts consider certain factors to determine the amount of maintenance. While other factors seem self-explanatory, such as the paying capacity of the payor spouse, some factors may be ambiguous, especially to nonlegal individuals. One factor that may have an obscure connection with spousal support is the length of the marriage.

What the length of the marriage does and does not affect

The court may factor in the marriage’s duration to determine the amount of maintenance. Remember that courts award alimony to allow a spouse to become self-sufficient after being in a marriage wherein another person sustains their needs and livelihood. Unless the marriage lasted for many years, the court may presume that a spouse has not fully become dependent on the other in such a brief period. Therefore, courts may award smaller to no spousal support depending on the circumstances.

Additionally, the courts may also use this factor to determine the payment duration. Usually, the shorter the marriage, the shorter the payment period. In Arizona, courts commonly award one year of alimony for every three years of marriage.

Nonetheless, no minimum amount of time is required for the court to award spousal support. Hence, even if a marriage lasted less than a year, other factors may prompt the court to award alimony. However, the likeliness of alimony awards for short-term marriages is slim.

How many years of marriage is long enough?

While there is no set number of years before the courts consider a marriage short-term or long-term, some cases would show that a marriage lasting more than ten years is a long-term one. Otherwise, the union would classify as short term. But then again, it will depend on the unique facts of the case.

All aspects of divorce can be tricky, especially if the process involves calculation. Many divorce parties fall in distress because of this, which is understandable. Collaborating with an experienced divorce expert can help parties navigate the complex maze that is divorce and help ease their stress.