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The timing of a divorce can impact post-marriage support

They are two popular entertainment celebrities who have seen their respective star powers reach incredible heights over the last several decades. With three children and an apparently comfortable lifestyle in California, actors Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck may seem to have the relationship of other people’s dreams. However, even this high-profile couple has not been immune from a situation that grips countless marital partnerships each year: Garner and Affleck recently announced that they will divorce.

The timing of the couple’s divorce adds some interest to the underlying big news of their split. Garner waited until one day after the pair’s 10th wedding anniversary to file her divorce paperwork. There are several possible reasons why she waited until this date to officially begin her divorce.

First, it is possible that prior to their marriage, Garner and Affleck may have created a prenuptial agreement. Couples often use prenups to determine how their money will be split in the event that they divorce. For high income-earners, limiting or protecting wealth through a prenup can take some of the risk out of starting a new marriage. Some couples modify how much or how little the partners will share in the event of a divorce; if a prenup stipulated a higher spousal support award for a marriage lasting longer than a decade, it could benefit one partner to wait until after his or her 10th anniversary before filing divorce paperwork.

Second, an understanding of divorce law may have compelled Garner to hold off on her divorce as well. In California, a marriage that lasts longer than 10 years can be considered long-term. Generally, the longer the marriage, the more support a spouse may receive if he or she has a lower earning capacity than the other.

Garner’s steps to end her marriage will break apart a popular Hollywood couple. The timing of her divorce action raises some important issues for others who may be facing the decision the end their marriages. To better understand how the duration of a marriage or a prenuptial agreement may impact a divorce, readers may consider seeking out information from reliable legal sources.

Source: Fortune, “What we can learn about prenups from the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner divorce,” Laura J. Vogel, July 4, 2015

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