How is Divorce Following a Short-Term Marriage Handled in Arizona?

What is a short marriage?

Are you considering divorce after a short-term marriage? Typically, Arizona’s courts consider any marriage that lasted less than five years to be a short marriage. While the same laws apply to all marriages--regardless of their duration--typically, short term marriages are “easier” to dissolve than long term marriages.

Dividing Assets: the realities of ending a short marriage are (usually) different than ending a long marriage.

While the same law applies to dissolving short term marriages as long marriages, short marriages are usually easier to dissolve. Usually, after a short marriage, the couple has accumulated few—if any—significant assets. Frequently, each partner's individual assets, debts, and financial accounts have not yet been fully commingled. This often makes a short-term divorce settlement more practical than fighting each issue in adversarial hearings.

Also worth noting, spousal maintenance ( “alimony”) is not typically awarded unless a couple was married for five years. Further, in the exceptionally rare circumstance were spousal maintenance is awarded after a short marriage, the maintenance award is usually extremely small (and not worth fighting over).

Short Marriages and Children

While dividing assets is usually easier for a couple that is ending a short marriage, the difficulty of fighting for custody is just as tough for couples that were married for a short period as those who were married for a long time. Typically, legal decision-making authority, parenting time, and child support are unaffected by the length of a couple’s marriage. In fact, short marriages often yield fewer children—who are typically younger when their parent’s divorce—which almost always leads to joint custody and equal parenting time.

While it is difficult to determine how much property you will receive following a short-term marriage, speaking to a family law attorney is imperative. Call Troon Law Group today for a free consultation at (480) 518-3569.