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Understanding Short Marriage Property Settlements
31 Oct 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Short Marriage Property Settlements

By Family Lawyers Mackay, 31 Oct 2023
property settlement

Marriage is often considered a lifelong commitment, but sometimes, it doesn’t work out that way. In cases of short-term marriages, the process of divorce and property settlement can be quite different from long-term marriages. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what constitutes a short-term marriage, what is considered “property” in such marriages, how the property pool is divided, and why it’s essential to seek legal help ahead of a property settlement.

What Is Considered a Short-Term Marriage?

Defining Short-Term Marriages

Short-term marriages, in legal terms, are generally those that last for a relatively brief period. While the exact duration can vary by jurisdiction, it typically ranges from a few months to a few years. These marriages are different from long-term marriages, which often last for decades.

Unique Challenges

Short-term marriages pose unique challenges when it comes to divorce and property settlements. Couples may not have accumulated substantial assets or have shared financial responsibilities over a long period. Therefore, determining how to fairly divide the property can be more complex than in long-term marriages.

Legal Implications

The legal implications of a short-term marriage can vary by location. Some jurisdictions have specific rules and guidelines for property settlements in such cases, which can differ from those applicable to long-term marriages. It’s crucial to understand the legal context in your area.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

What Is Considered “Property” In A Marriage?

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

In a divorce, it’s crucial to distinguish between marital property and separate property. Marital property typically includes assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is generally what each spouse brought into the marriage or acquired separately through inheritance, gifts, or before the marriage.

Common Types of Marital Property

Marital property can include a wide range of assets, such as:Common Types of Marital Property

  • Real Estate: This may include the family home, vacation properties, or investment properties.
  • Financial Assets: Bank accounts, investments, and retirement funds accumulated during the marriage are considered marital property.
  • Personal Property: Items like cars, jewelry, furniture, and other personal belongings are part of the marital property.
  • Business Interests: If either spouse owns a business or has a share in one, it can become subject to division.
  • Debts: Marital debts, including mortgages, loans, and credit card balances, are also part of the property pool.

Unique Assets

In short-term marriages, the property pool might not be as extensive as in long-term marriages. However, unique assets like intellectual property, valuable collections, or assets acquired during the marriage can still pose challenges during the settlement process.

How Is the Property Pool Divided?

Equitable Distribution

The division of property in a divorce follows the principle of equitable distribution. This does not necessarily mean an equal 50-50 split but a fair and just distribution. Courts consider various factors when making this determination, such as:

  • Contributions: Each spouse’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage are assessed.
  • Future Needs: The court looks at each spouse’s future financial needs, considering factors like age, health, and earning capacity.
  • Length of Marriage: Short-term marriages may result in a different approach to property division.
  • Child Custody: If children are involved, custody arrangements and child support can influence property division.
  • Assets and Debts: The nature and value of assets and debts play a significant role.

Negotiation and Mediation

In many cases, couples can negotiate and reach an agreement on property division without going to court. Mediation and negotiation can be more flexible and cost-effective approaches, allowing both parties to have a say in the process.

Legal Assistance

Given the complexity of property division, especially in short-term marriages, seeking legal assistance is highly advisable. An experienced family lawyer can help navigate the legal intricacies, protect your interests, and ensure a fair outcome.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Why You Should Seek Legal Help Ahead of a Property Settlement

Complex Legal Procedures

Property settlements in divorces, particularly in short-term marriages, involve complex legal procedures. Navigating these procedures without legal guidance can be overwhelming and lead to unfavorable outcomes.

Expertise and Experience

An experienced family lawyer possesses the expertise and experience to handle property settlements efficiently. They understand the nuances of property division, and local laws, and can advocate for your rights.

Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Without legal assistance, you may inadvertently make costly mistakes during property settlement negotiations. These errors can have long-lasting financial repercussions.

Protecting Your Rights

A family lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected during the property settlement process. They can also provide valuable advice on the best strategies to achieve a favorable outcome.

Reducing Stress

Divorce can be an emotionally challenging process. Having a lawyer by your side can alleviate stress by taking care of the legal complexities, allowing you to focus on your well-being and the well-being of any children involved.


In the event of a short-term marriage leading to divorce, understanding the intricacies of property settlement is crucial. The definition of a short-term marriage, the classification of marital and separate property, and the process of property division can be quite different from those in long-term marriages. Seeking legal assistance is highly recommended to navigate the legal complexities and ensure a fair outcome for all parties involved.

Remember, the key to a successful property settlement lies in informed decision-making, negotiation, and, if necessary, legal guidance. By understanding your rights and the process, you can move forward with confidence during this challenging period.


By consulting one of our accredited family law mackay specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: What is the typical duration of a short-term marriage?

A1: A short-term marriage is generally defined as one that lasts for a relatively brief period, typically ranging from a few months to a few years. However, the exact duration can vary by jurisdiction.

Q2: Is it possible to settle property in a short-term marriage without going to court?

A2: Yes, it is possible to settle property in a short-term marriage without going to court. Many couples opt for negotiation and mediation to reach an agreement. However, the assistance of a family lawyer is still advisable to ensure a fair and just settlement.

Q3: Is it necessary to seek legal assistance for a property settlement in a short-term marriage?

A3: Seeking legal assistance for a property settlement in a short-term marriage is highly advisable. Legal guidance can help you navigate complex procedures, protect your rights, and ensure a favorable outcome. It can also prevent costly mistakes during negotiations.

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