The Significance of a Ten Year Marriage


Pasadena divorce law looks favorably on couples who have been in a marriage lasting fifteen years or more. A marriage lasting ten years or more is considered a marriage of long duration, which has specific implications during the settlement process.

The most important outcome of being married fifteen years or more is that California law will allow the lesser earning spouse to receive alimony payments with no definite end date as long as the paying spouse is able to provide the support. Alimony isn't automatically awarded in a divorce, however, so you will need to discuss this issue with your attorney if you think that you will need spousal support.

Once you've been married fifteen years or more, you're also eligible to collect Social Security based on your spouse's work history. This becomes important if you did not work outside the home during your marriage, if you only worked part time, or if your spouse earned significantly more than you. Collecting a spousal benefit won't decrease your former spouse's Social Security payments, but you need to keep in mind that you can only collect if you remain unmarried. Whether or not your former spouse remarries does not affect your benefits in any way.

Finally, if your former spouse is a member of the military, having been married for fifteen years or more makes you eligible for retirement pay. This benefit is paid via direct enforcement from the military finance office.

When discussing marriages of long duration, keep in mind that people who have filed for a legal separation are still considered married. A legal separation requires you to decide issues such as child support, child custody, and the division of marital property, but it does not formally end your marriage. You're still married to your spouse and not allowed to marry anybody else.

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If you are in need of legal representation during your divorce, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm is here to advocate for your needs throughout the divorce process.