The pandemic has impacted marriages in countless ways. Unfortunately, a higher-than-average number of new marriages did not survive the challenges of living, working and raising young children under the same roof.
The specifics of each marriage are different, but researchers have found that recently-married couples are the most likely group to file for divorce. The short duration of the marriage has an impact on the divorce process and the financial outcome of the divorce itself.
Alimony, APL and Spousal Support
Spousal support is available if two spouses elect to live separate and apart. If a divorce complaint has been filed, and the filing spouse requests Alimony pendente lite (support during the course of the divorce), then Domestic Relations will set a conference date. Spousal support and APL are available regardless of the duration of the marriage, while the divorce/separation process is ongoing.
If the marriage is less than 3 years of duration, it is unlikely that the dependent spouse will receive alimony, which starts after the entry of a Divorce Decree. In Pennsylvania, alimony may be granted for long-term marriages where one spouse worked part time or focused on raising a family and running the household. Those newly married are more likely to both have jobs or at least up-to-date professional experience that enables them to reenter the workforce if they left it. Of course, it is always best to consult an attorney with questions before you make an agreement with your spouse.
Division of Assets and Debts – Issues to consider
Marital assets and debt to be divided in a short-term marriage may be modest, but each case is different. Pre-marital assets are usually retained by the spouse who owns them, but keep in mind that if you co-mingle the asset or add the other party’s name to a non-marital asset, the asset transforms into a marital asset. In the case of premarital real estate, the nonowner spouse is still entitled to an increase in value, so you need to consult counsel if there are significant pre-marital assets held by one spouse.
Even short marriages can have issues with few straightforward answers. The best advice is to consult with an experienced attorney who can guide the client to a favorable outcome from the start.