You’d think it was obvious: your marriage lasts from your wedding day until the day your decree absolute is granted, right?
In the eyes of the court, not necessarily.
If you weren’t living with your partner beforehand, then your marriage starts on the date of your wedding. But if you were already living together, and getting married hasn’t made any difference to your circumstances, the court may regard this as ‘seamless cohabitation’. If so, the judge can extend the period of your marriage to include this prenuptial time together, which might have a bearing on the outcome of any financial order that is subsequently made.
Similarly the end of your marriage isn’t clear cut either. Before the divorce is finalised, there will most likely be a period of separation, a time that might even run to several years. Your marriage formally ends when you have the decree absolute, but for the purpose of dividing up your assets, the judge will consider the marriage at an end on the date that you and your partner separate. This isn’t necessarily when you and your partner no longer live together; it’s when at least one of you regards the marriage as over, and you live as separate households (with separate finances and living arrangements even if you are living under the same roof).
So the length of your marriage is not as obvious as you might think; and if you are applying for a financial remedy, the circumstances described above may be more relevant and important to you than you realise. For advice on your individual case, please get in touch with Andrew Isaacs solicitors today.