Short Marriages – 10 Things You Need To Know

divorce financial settlement short marriage

Short Marriage Divorce

In this post we look at divorce after a short marriage and all its implications. Common questions we receive on this subject that we will seek to address are;

  • Short term marriage divorce settlements
  • Divorce after 1 year – what am I entitled to?
  • Married 2 years – what am I entitled to?

You will gain a good understanding of the issues, implications and financial considerations. Visit our services page on short marriage divorce to obtain further professional and always discreet legal advice.

Short Marriage?

1.    A short marriage is one which lasts for less than five or six years. Why is this important? Because when considering the divorce settlement the length of the marriage is vital.

2.    But did you know you have to stay married for one year before you can start your divorce? Unless you were married bigamously or the marriage has not been consummated, in which case it may be void or voidable. The only other option is to apply for a Judicial Separation. You remain married but able to apply to the Court for the finances to be sorted out.

Short Marriage And Finances On Divorce

3.   The initial approach is identical in all cases, irrespective of the length of the marriage: full and frank financial disclosure is backed up by documentary evidence.

4.    The starting point for division of the matrimonial finances is equal division. But there’s a checklist laid down by Parliament to ensure fairness, and it includes the important question of length of marriage. It also mentions

  • wages and earning capacity
  • needs
  • standard of living during their marriage
  • contributions to the marriage
  • the ages of the couple
  • their health
  • the care of minor children

Short Marriage Preceded By Cohabitation? What Happens On Divorce?

5.    Periods of cohabitation are added to length of marriage where the relationship moves seamlessly from one to another. But what about time since separation? This is not counted towards duration of the marriage.

A Recent Court Case May Affect Finances On Divorce After A Short Marriage

6.    Until recently in the case of a short marriage if one of the couple brought more assets into the marriage, the other would only get a fraction of them. But they would share equally in assets built up during the marriage. A recent case changes this approach.

7.    In Sharp v Sharp [2017] the couple were married for about six years including eighteen months of cohabitation. Mrs Sharp received work bonuses totalling more than £10m. The Court of Appeal decided Mr Sharp would not receive fifty percent of the assets built up over the course of the marriage. The Court said this was because the couple had no children, both worked, and always kept their finances separate.

8.    Couples in short marriages may no longer be entitled in equal shares to the assets generated during the marriage. But, of course, each case depends on its individual circumstances.

How To Protect Your Assets On Divorce

9. You may have special concerns, for example a valuable inheritance, or business. See my recent blogs on these issues.

What’s The Answer? A Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement

10. For a predictable outcome the answer is a Prenuptial Agreement. And if you haven’t got one it’s never too late to come to an agreement. For example a Postnuptial Agreement or a Separation Agreement.

How can you achieve this? Negotiationmediation or collaborative law all have proven track records.

Short Marriages – 10 Things You Need To Know

Contact  Joanne Houston on 01962 217640 for free advice about short marriages. In this 20 minute session we will review your situation and how you can achieve your objectives.

JUST FAMILY LAW are specialist divorce and family law solicitors offering personalised legal solutions. We offer collaborative law which is especially relevant in providing solutions tailored to your family’s needs. This includes same sex couples and their families. Visit our website The topics covered in this blog post are complex and are provided for general guidance only. Therefore if any of the circumstances mentioned in this blog have application to you, seek expert legal advice.

Yellow-billed oxpeckers (Buphagus africanus africanus) on zebra, Senegal  by Charles J Sharp on WikiMedia

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