The Ins and Outs of Divorce After A Short-Term Marriage

There is no doubt  that ending a marriage is an emotionally charged situation. Dividing property and navigating the legal process can seem overwhelming, even when ending a short-term marriage. 

If a person was married for a short time, each party remains legally tied to the other’s assets, debt, and even children, accrued during the marriage. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to navigate the ins and outs of a short-term marriage. 

From annulment and alimony to child custody, spouses should work from a divorce checklist to  prepare for ending a short-term marriage.

What Qualifies as a Short-Term Marriage?

Stories of celebrities married for 72 hours to only a few months can distort what some consider a short-term marriage. While the term varies from state to state, most generally categorize a short-term marriage as less than five years. The qualifications can fluctuate depending on how long couples lived together before a legal marriage took place. Couples can legally separate after a short-term marriage by:

  • Annulment
  • Legal separation 
  • Divorce 

For this blog entry, the financial and legal circumstances surrounding divorce will be primarily discussed. 

Navigating Divorce After a Short-Term Marriage

In the United States today, there is a national average of about 50% divorce rate among married couples. While that number varies on several fluctuating factors, it still shows a significant number of people choosing to end a marriage.

While some people may prefer legal separation, divorce legally separates and divides one spouse from the other, which can be both a liberating and daunting experience. 

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree on every detail of separation. If spouses can reach an agreement on all terms, court can be avoided altogether – if both are represented by an attorney. In a perfect world, this would be the ideal situation. Unfortunately, there are ways that one spouse could abuse this system, so regardless of mutual agreements, it’s crucial to get a skilled family law attorney as a trusted advocate.

The Financial Impact of Short-Term Marriages at Divorce

From new healthcare and credit scores to everything in-between, divorce is a significant undertaking that can have a major financial impact on both parties. That’s why it’s crucial to understand how a short-term marriage may  impact your finances.  

Equitable Distribution of Marital Property 

Marital property is any property that either spouse acquires during the marriage. This includes, but is not limited to, real estate, vehicles, personal property, and more. In many cases, short-term marriages don’t have time to acquire significant marital property. 

Spousal Maintenance 

Along with the distribution of marital property, spousal maintenance may also become part of the divorce. 

Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, can be temporary or permanent. 

While spousal maintenance may not be awarded in short-term marriages, there are many factors to consider.

Spousal Maintenanceand Minnesota Law

Thankfully, spousal maintenance laws equally apply to both genders, so either spouse can make an alimony request. In Minnesota, there  is no exact calculation for establishing spousal maintenance, and a judge has the discretion to  set the duration, amount, and type of support for each case. 

Factors that a judge will take into consideration for spousal maintenance include:

  • Marital standard of living
  • Time needed for education, or training, required for finding adequate employment
  • Length of marriage
  • Whether one parent has been out of the workforce status
  • And many more

Child Support

When a marriage is dissolved, and there are children,  child support may be ordered. A child support order will help ensure that the children are financially stable even if their parents are not amicable.

Child Support and Minnesota Law

In Minnesota, calculating child support is based on several factors, including:

  • Number of children
  • Medical expenses
  • Child care expenses 
  • Both parents’ income
  • Overnights with both parents
  • And more

If a parent wants to seek more or less child support than the calculated amount, substantial reasoning must be provided to ensure it’s solely for the child’s benefit.

Additional Considerations

There are also tax implications of divorce that need to be considered. However uncomfortable this may be, the IRS continues to view couples as legally married until an official divorce decree exists.

Additionally, each spouse should consider the impact of divorce on their estate plans. By updating the power of attorneys, wills, and living trusts, each individual will avoid uncomfortable confusion if something were to happen.

Work With a Legal Advocate

Navigating the ins and outs of divorce after a short-term marriage doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. By working with a skilled family law attorney, individuals will better understand how to modify essential documents, seek financial support, and create a parenting plan.

This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.