Couples going through divorce may be wondering if the length of their marriage will play a role in their divorce settlement. The short answer to this question is that yes, it can, particularly in terms of property division and spousal support.
How length of marriage can affect marital property division in Florida divorces
In Florida family law courts, divorce settlements typically aim to achieve relative equity; however, the longer the marriage, the more complex this can get. A 50/50 split of assets doesn’t necessarily result in an equal outcome, especially when one partner had greater earning power during the marriage.
Moreover, couples who have been married longer typically acquire more shared marital assets over the course of their marriage, and some of these can be more challenging to untangle than others.
In longer marriages where the spouses maintained different financial positions, the courts may lean towards awarding a greater percentage of marital property to the person who earned less in order for them to maintain a relatively comparable standard of living after the divorce.
Length of marriage and spousal support (alimony)
The length of marriage can play heavily as a factor in determining how much, if any, spousal support payments are awarded in the divorce. In shorter marriages, which in Florida are considered to be fewer than 7 years, less spousal support is likely to be awarded, if any.
In mid term marriages (those that are between 7-17 years), however, there is a greater likelihood that one partner relied more heavily on the other for financial support during the course of their marriage. In order to maintain an equitable lifestyle post-divorce, the courts may award spousal support to the partner who earns less money. This means that the alimony component of the divorce will be more complex as the parties may not agree as to how much alimony is appropriate. There may also be different types of alimony in play such as rehabilitative alimony if a spouse needs to return to school to be employable.
In long term marriages, those over 17 years, spousal support calculations start at permanent alimony which under Florida law is considered until the person receiving it dies, remarries, or no longer needs the support.
Each divorce poses its own set of challenges, and it’s important to keep in mind that there are variables that influence the outcome. At the Vasquez de Lara Law Group, we are here to help you understand your options under Florida law and ensure that your rights are protected during this difficult time. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a confidential case evaluation.