One of the factors taken into account by the Court when distributing assets on divorce is the length of time that the parties were married. Cheryl Haywood, Family Law Associate, discusses the differences between distributing assets in short term and long term marriages.
For reference, a marriage is considered to be short if it lasts under 4 years, whereas a marriage longer than 10 years is considered to be a long marriage.
After a long marriage, the Court will not look back over the course of the marriage and attempt to mathematically calculate the financial input of each spouse. It is improbable that each spouse will have paid in an identical amount; the Court will take the view that a marriage is a legally-recognised partnership, where it is possible for a spouse to contribute by way of domestic support, childcare, and/or financial input.
Generally speaking, the yardstick for the division of matrimonial assets is an equal split, subject to the Court taking account of various factors such as respective income, earning capacity and pension provision.
If the marriage was a short one, the Court may be more inclined to consider individual contribution and may decide that one spouse ought not to unduly benefit from the good fortune of being very briefly married to someone who brought in considerably more wealth.
Having said this, various other factors will need to be taken into account, for example, if there was a child born during the marriage, then their needs will be the Court’s paramount concern regardless of how long the marriage was and who contributed what financially.