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Family Law Blog

Why Timing Is Crucial in Your Divorce

Thursday, July 09, 2015

The recently announced divorce of Hollywood stars Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner has raised eyebrows because of its timing. The couple filed for divorce exactly 10 years and one day after they were married. In other words, they seem to have waited until the ten-year mark to file for divorce, and that may not have been a coincidence.

Under California laws, a marriage that has lasted 10 years is considered a long-term marriage, and that will have an impact on the division of assets, spousal maintenance, and other aspects related to the divorce. Not only is the amount of spousal maintenance impacted by the length of the marriage, but the duration of the spousal maintenance or the number of years which the payer will continue to make spousal maintenance payments is also impacted by the length of the marriage. The spouse who is learning less can petition for more alimony or alimony of longer duration.

There is also speculation that there could have possibly been clauses in the Affleck-Garner prenuptial agreement that provided for additional benefits to one partner if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years. That is not unheard of in a prenuptial agreement, and very often, there are clauses in these agreements that will give one partner a heftier spousal maintenance, or spousal maintenance of a much longer duration if the marriage has lasted for a certain number of years.

Some clauses, for instance, will allow the lesser-earning spouse to receive a certain additional settlement amount for every additional year of the marriage after a ten-year anniversary. That can add to the overall settlement, which is the reason why timing is so important in a divorce.