Ben and Jen this week provide a good example of how time can be important. Passing the 10-year mark – which the couple did on Monday – can change how California judges award spousal support. And, the same approach to divorce and spousal support can hold true in other states as well. Now, in their case, it likely won’t make much of a difference, as they both bring in hefty paychecks. But, for other people contemplating divorce in Seattle and other surrounding areas, it’s a good reminder about the fact that the length two people spend in a marriage can matter.
If you think about it, from an equity standpoint, it makes sense. In a marriage considered “long-term,” judges can choose to award support for a spouse’s entire lifetime. This can be a lot of money. (This is likely to happen in marriages that last for 25 plus years… e.g. a husband whose wife stayed at home to raise the kids could be facing lifetime spousal maintenance at this point.) That scenario is highly unlikely to be a factor for Affleck and Garner as their combined income is… well… alarmingly high, but their “ten year mark” anniversary is a good reminder for us.
Generally, the longer a couple has been together, the longer they can get spousal support. But a lot of California courts don’t prefer to award lifetime spousal support because they feel that if one of the spouses is able to support themselves then there’s no reason to give them more. In the end, it comes down to income and earnings, a category in which neither of these two are hurting.
But, for “regular” people considering divorce, timing can be a very important factor, and the issue of spousal support is one which some should know about and plan around. If you have questions or concerns about divorce and live in the greater Seattle, Washington area, contact Miller Law Group for a free consultation with a family law attorney!