Getting Divorced After Five Years of Marriage

While divorce rates in the United States are on a small decline in the last decade, marriages still go south. What happens when your marriage ends before you even reach your five-year anniversary? It is estimated that 20% of marriages end in divorce before the couple reaches a half decade of being married.

Luckily, for marriages that end before the five-year mark, there is likely less to divide among the divorcees. Younger couples are less likely to worry about dividing property, money, and children. The “50% of all marriages end in divorce” statistic is bloated by those with second, third and sometimes even fourth marriages. In fact, that number is hardly accurate for first marriages.

While 20% of marriages end before five years, 32% end within 10 years, 40% end within 15 years and 48% end within 20 years. So while you are less likely to get divorced while you’re still in your “honeymoon phase,” you are not alone.

The same general principles apply in all divorces, regardless of the length of the marriage. However, as a practical matter, couples who divorce after a short union often have similar concerns that differ from the longer married.

Property Division

What about your property? Texas is a community property state. The judge will evaluate what is community property and what is “separate property.” Fortunately, the shorter the marriage the less overall property the couple is likely to have accumulated together. In general, community property is that which was acquired during the marriage. Houses, debts, bank accounts, cars, electronics, and similar items. In Texas, most property is presumed to be community property, to be equitably divided in divorce. The exceptions are separate property, which are often only unique items, like inheritances to one spouse or a court judgment for one spouse.

Living Arrangements

Since younger couples are less likely to own property, how would you go about dividing a housing lease? Seeking divorce cannot affect your lease. The contract is between you, your spouse and your landlord. You are individually bound to the contract. Leases will include circumstances under which you can terminate it, so check with your landlord and review your leasing papers. If one of you chooses to vacate the home and the other remains in the residence and continued to pay the full rent, neither the landlord nor your spouse would be entitled to any further payment from you.

However, if your lease is a month-to-month agreement, you will only need to give your landlord proper notice. Be careful, though. If you both decide to move out without following the proper steps to terminate your lease, your landlord can pursue legal action and even go after your credit score. Make sure you both have an understanding of how you will figure out your living arrangement should one of you decide to vacate. If your partner asks you to split the rent payments even though you won’t be living in the residence, you are not legally required to do so.

Get Legal Help

The Clark Law Group in Dallas, Texas is dedicated to untangling the complexities and difficulties of divorce. Our attorneys specialize in family law and constantly strive to provide protection to both you and your property during one of the most painful life experiences one can have. If either you or someone you know is considering a divorce, please contact us today. We can help you understand your rights and obligations as you turn the page on your life.

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