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Will I Owe Spousal Support After a Short Marriage?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Your romance was a flash in the pan, so can you avoid burning through your income and savings paying alimony? Spousal support calculations are based on a variety of factors, one of which is to what extent your spouse became dependent on your income. So a short marriage could work in your favor.

But there's no hard and fast rule when it comes to the length of the marriage and the amount you'll owe in spousal support after a divorce, so just because your marriage fizzled out fast doesn't mean you won't owe any alimony.

Alimony Aspects

When calculating spousal support, courts will consider a variety of factors:

  • The income and earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The age, physical condition, and emotional state, of the former spouses;
  • The couple's standard of living during the marriage;
  • The presence (or lack thereof) of children in the home;
  • The length of time the recipient would need for education or training to become self-sufficient;
  • The ability of the payer spouse to support the recipient and still support himself or herself; and
  • Fault in the divorce (in some states).

Obviously, the length of the marriage will have an impact on most of these factors. A shorter marriage may mean your soon-to-be ex is younger and more able to earn money, there was not enough time to become too accustomed to a certain lifestyle, and you're less likely to have shared children.

Still, if those factors are present, you may still owe spousal support no matter how short the marriage was.

Sorts of Support

But just because you owe some spousal support doesn't mean you'll go bankrupt or be paying alimony to your ex forever. Courts will take your ability to afford alimony into account, and there are several forms of spousal support. One is called alimony pendente lite, which it a temporary kind of financial support that only lasts as long as the divorce proceedings. And spousal support orders can be modified over time and as circumstances change.

To get a better handle on your state's specific spousal support statutes, and a better estimate of what you may owe in a divorce, contact a local family law attorney today.

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