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Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner to divorce after ten years

Emotionally, there may be a number of times when it would be better to end one's marriage. There are often practical reasons why it may be worth thinking carefully about when to commence divorce proceedings. Under California law, if a marriage makes it to the 10-year anniversary, it could have a significant impact on any spousal support ordered.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently announced their intention to divorce on the day after the 10th anniversary of their wedding. It is at this point at which the marriage is deemed to be of 'long duration'  in California. This timeframe is seen as a serious investment of time, thus the law is intended to ensure that a lower-earning spouse does not lose out financially. He or she may have made various sacrifices in order to support a spouse during the course of the marriage; for example, by staying home with children instead of pursuing a career.

There are no hard and fast rules about spousal support, and there will be many factors involved in decisions about money in the case of Ben and Jennifer. Both actors are reported to have taken turns to work, while the other remained available to raise the couple's three young children. In addition to this, decisions on spousal support following marriages of long duration remain with the judge indefinitely, meaning that the figures may be changed based on changes in either party's financial circumstances.

When alimony is awarded in California with regard to a short-term marriage, it is typically limited to half the duration of the marriage, though this is not always the case. Similarly, a long-term marriage doesn't always mean a longer term of spousal support will be ordered. The individual circumstances of every divorce case will be taken into consideration, and any financial awards will reflect them. This is one of the issues that Jennifer and Ben are likely considering as they negotiate the terms of their divorce.

Source: usmagazine.com, "Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner Divorce: Why the 10th Anniversary Matters", Alli Rosenbloom and Allison Takeda, June 30, 2015

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