In all the stress and upheaval of divorce, clients often want concrete answers – unfortunately, there are so many factors that impact the likely financial order a court would make (in the event that divorce finances can’t be agreed and must be determined by the court – it is generally better to reach a settlement early).
Short marriages – simple calculations ?
It is understandable for clients to believe that with a short divorce, finances are straightforward. Sometimes this is the case, where the parties get married young and where there are no children, it may be that a simple solution is to try and restore the parties to the position, as much as possible, they were in before the marriage. Certainly, a short marriage (there is no legal definition of a short marriage but a reasonable classification would be 5 years or less – although see below as regards prior periods of cohabitation) does set aside the general presumption, for more established marriages of a 50:50 split as a starting point.
However, outside of this situation, a number of factors need to be considered.
In any marriage where there are children, the welfare of the children will always be top priority. If there are children, even where the marriage is short, this will be the most important factor and will also impact possibly on whether both parties can or should return to work.
Age of the parties
Even where the marriage is short, an important factor is the age of the parties. Generally, the younger the parties are, subject to having young children, the greater the likelihood the parties have to push on with their lives, in terms of jobs, accommodation and so on.
Health is another factor which will apply in the same way as described above.
Short marriage but lengthy cohabitation ?
It has become increasingly common for couples to only get married after a lengthy period of cohabitation. In may of these relationships, there may already be children before the couple marry, a property may have been bought and so on. Consequently, these periods of cohabitation are akin to already being married and the courts recognise this. So, don’t expect, if you get divorced after 2 years of marriage, but lived with your partner for 5 years or more before marrying, that the court will treat the marriage as short in a financial determination.
No presumption of clean break with short marriage
It follows from all of the above that whilst, with a short marriage there is a possibly increased prospect of a clean break, there are many different circumstances which need to be taken into account. It is also important to understand that there are variants of financial orders which may amount to partial clean break, such as where a house is transferred but if there are children, maintenance would still need to be paid and there are no final orders where there are children.
If you need a solicitor for divorce advice in London, please get in touch with us for an initial free discussion.
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