How Does Length of Marriage Affect Amount of Alimony?

Interviewer: Again, in regard to spousal maintenance alimony and the length of the marriage, what happens if there is a one or two year marriage? Is that going to affect the alimony component and make it either non-existent or very low?

Tanya: Yes, absolutely. The length of the marriage is one of the criteria in the statute. If you have been married for 30 years, a standard of living was established during the marriage. A life was established during the 30-year marriage. A premise in an alimony award is to try to maintain the lifestyle established during the marriage.

Suppose you have only been married for a year. You were working before you got married and then you stopped working for a year. Then you get divorced after another year. Your life did not change as a result of this marriage.

The marriage did not impact you. You did not really give anything up. You can easily go back to where you were before. There would be no alimony for a one or two year marriage. There could be six months of support, or a sum of money to get the person started. But it is very minor.

Interviewer: It would probably be rare that people would get married with an eye toward collecting later, for a short time. In any case, if it happens, they are not going to collect for very long, if at all.

Tanya: That is right; or they could have a pre-nup.