Divorce Options San Diego

Are Divorce Agreements Affected by How Long Couples Are Married?

While going through divorce mediation, you and your spouse can work out a separation of assets and debts that you believe is fair. However, the judge will need to sign off on the agreement and issue a final order. There are specific factors that determine how finances and debts are divided during a divorce, such as current net worth, incomes, tax liabilities, and types of property. The mediators from Divorce Options San Diego, the premier experts on San Diego divorce mediation, discuss how financial aspects of divorce agreements are calculated and what could impact a judge’s final decision.

Community Property & Debt

In California, all property and debts acquired during a marriage are shared equally by both spouses. The division of assets and debts is generally not affected by the length of the marriage, but the marriage’s duration can become a factor when determining spousal support. Property owned prior to the marriage, as well as any property that was gifted or inherited during the union, is separate. Therefore, separate property remains separate throughout the marriage, with some exceptions. For example, if you owned a home prior to the marriage but your spouse has lived in the house and contributed to the upkeep or mortgage, it could become community property.

Complex Property Division

People who have been married for longer periods typically have more to divide because they have accumulated property and debts over the years, including stocks and bonds, retirement benefits, businesses, investment accounts, credit card debt, mortgages, and more. In these cases, it’s best to hire a mediator who has experience and expertise in complex financial matters instead of needing to bring in actuarial accountants, investment appraisers, and other experts to help with the property division.

Alternative Methods

When dividing marital property and debts, you and your spouse may not always agree. If this becomes an issue, the division methods may need to change, regardless of how long you two have been married. For instance, if you have a business that cannot be divided, the company may need to be sold and the proceeds split among both parties. If you and your spouse can agree on how to divide the marital property and debts, you can reach an agreement during mediation and then send the final document to the judge for review.

Spousal Support

Spousal support in California can be based on several factors, including the length of the marriage. The courts will look at the differences in the spouses’ financial positions and the length of time they’ve been married when determining the amount of support a person will receive. The court will look at living expenses you both covered for the duration of the marriage. If there is economic disparity, the wealthier individual will generally pay spousal support to the person who earns less.

The duration of spousal support is determined by the length of the marriage. Generally, the longer the marriage, the longer one spouse may be awarded support. In some long-term marriages, the courts may decide a spouse is eligible for lifetime support, which is typically provided to individuals who don’t have their own independent sources of income.

Every aspect—financial, legal, and practical—of amicable, respectful divorce agreements can be managed by Divorce Options San Diego’s trustworthy, experienced San Diego divorce mediators. Couples can rely on our thorough mediation process, which is so comprehensive there won’t be a need for attorneys to get involved. To find out more about how we can assist you with every part of the divorce process, call us today at 858-281-2628.


The content in this blog is meant solely for informational purposes and educational discussion of legal topics, services, and products. It provides only general information about legal matters. It is not legal advice, and it should not be treated as legal advice.

Limitation of warranties: The legal information in this blog and on this website is offered “as is,” with no warranties or representations, either express or implied. Divorce Options San Diego makes no representations or warranties in relation to the legal information on this website.

Professional help: The information in this blog and on this website is not to be relied upon as an alternative to legal assistance/advice from an attorney or other professional provider of legal services. If you have any particular questions about any specific legal matter, you should consult an attorney or other professional legal services provider.