If you’re considering filing for divorce from your spouse but you’ve not been married very long, you might be wondering what short marriage divorce settlements can look like. Below, we’ve explained what is classed as a short marriage, what divorce settlements in these situations can look like, what clean break settlements are, plus considerations for children and property. If you’d prefer to speak to a solicitor about your personal circumstances, you can use our online booking system to schedule an appointment.
What is classed as a short marriage?
Marriages that last five years or less, usually without any children are considered to be ‘short’ marriages, and the length of marriage can determine what sort of settlement is agreed upon in the court. In the case of a short marriage, the court may look to instate a clean break settlement, which we talk about in more detail later in this post.
It’s important to note however that pre-marital cohabitation is also a factor that may be taken into consideration and may count towards the overall length of the relationship and therefore judged within the divorce settlement. This is because, for example, a couple who have been living together for 12 years and married for two are more likely to be financially dependent in some capacity on one another, and the origin of assets between them are overall of lesser importance.
Do short marriage divorce settlements differ from longer marriage settlements?
Short marriage divorce settlements can in some cases vary from longer marriage settlements, which can sometimes be influenced by the age of the divorcing couple, and how they’ve led their marriage so far. Even with short marriages, the courts may initially look to divide the assets 50/50 on a clean break basis, but as with the nature of relationships, there are lots of different personal circumstances to take into consideration.
For example, if you’re seeking a divorce and are close to the age of retirement, your pension may be considered within the divorce settlement, or, if you’ve kept your finances very separate during your short marriage, then a 50/50 split may not be the solution. This could be the case where large bonuses have come into play and have been kept financially separate – the other party may not automatically have the right to half of this financial asset.
Clean break settlements and consent orders
Clean break settlements are sometimes implemented by the courts when dealing with short marriage divorce settlements as they essentially allow the couple to walk away from one another without any further financial ties. When a couple wants to end a short marriage, especially when there are no children involved, if the courts conclude that both parties are financially self-supporting, whether this is immediately after the separation or quite quickly afterwards, finances will be agreed, and a clean break settlement will be implemented. By applying a clean break settlement, it means that both parties can move forward with their individual lives, and no claims can be put to the courts on any future assets that may be acquired. If there are children involved, child maintenance still needs to be paid.
A consent order is the formal means in which a financial agreement is recorded. This will include details of things such as property, pension values, incomes and any other capital. Consent orders provide a full disclosure of any assets, so are used to determine clean break settlements or any other financial orders.
How is property divided when ending a short marriage?
Property can be a focus point for short marriage divorce, but it’s important to note that the court will take different circumstances into consideration. For example, one spouse may have sold property to move into the other’s home, or they may have made personal sacrifices such as leaving a good career. The amount of money one person put into the property during a short marriage may also be taken into consideration. In many cases, and where possible, the original assets are returned to each spouse, and any assets accumulated during the marriage are split.
What if children are involved in a short marriage divorce?
As with any divorce proceedings, any children involved are prioritised. When looking into custody, the court will consider things like (but not limited to) the duration of the relationship, the income or other financial resources of both parties, any future financial obligations, the standard of living, the age of each party and any mental or physical disabilities.