When a young couple divorces after only a month of marriage, should there ever be an expectation that one party owes anything to the other, even if they lived with one set of parents and never had their own place?
I will answer this question for the jurisdiction where I practice divorce and family law: Utah. The answer is: almost (almost) certainly not, in most cases, although one could dream up many, many scenarios in which the argument for one spouse having to pay the other money due to and in association with the divorce.
For example, it is possible for alimony to be owed even for a marriage of one month. Extraordinarily unlikely, but there’s nothing in the law that requires one to be married beyond a certain period of time before one qualifies for alimony. One way this could happen is if, during the very short marriage, one spouse brutally abused the other spouse (whether physically or even emotionally) or transmitted to the innocent spouse sexually transmitted disease, such that the court deems it necessary to award alimony to compensate and help to rehabilitate the affected/damaged spouse.
Scenarios that are more likely to result in one spouse having to pay the other incident to divorce:
- Let’s say one of you totaled the other’s car (or other property) during the marriage, a car that was owned pre-marriage (i.e., separate property of one spouse and not marital property). It’s possible for the court to order the spouse who wrecked the car (or other property) to compensate the owner of the car for the loss.
- If you were married only a month or so, but in that month one of you drained the marital bank account(s) wasting the money on gambling or illegal drug use, or running up credit card bills buying unnecessary stuff, it is possible for the court to order the spouse who dissipated the assets to reimburse the other for the loss.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277