What difference does the length of the relationship make when we divorce?
The Court has to consider the length of a relationship on divorce because, in simple terms, in a shorter marriage, any adjustment in respect of financial provision will be lower. This is because the longer a relationship, the more time there is to contribute, to become used to a standard of living and to expect to share in benefits.
The rules are different if there are children born during the marriage because the welfare of the children will be the Court’s first consideration and their needs will need to be met. Also, the person taking main responsibility for the care of any children will continue to contribute to the marriage possibly for many years by doing so.
Consequently, regardless of any issues about child support, children are an important consideration. This issue came up when the Court considered the Paul McCartney and Heather Mills' divorce. Heather received a higher award because she shares the care of Beatrice and could expect to continue to do so for many years.
If you are in any doubt or have any concerns, the best approach is to speak to a specialist family solicitor.
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