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What is a 'long duration'?

They say that timing is everything. In the case of divorce between Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, this seems to hold true. The two announced their break-up the day after their 10th wedding anniversary.

They have agreed, so far, to co-parenting their three young children.

10 years' of marriage is a magic bullet in Los Angeles, California, for some reason. If you stay married that long, that is considered "long duration."

What this means is that a judge in California can award alimony for a longer extension of time to the receiving spouse if the union lasted at least a decade. For a divorce that is shorter than 10 years, the court will usually award for about half the length of the marriage.

This is fairly usual because is most states, long duration marriages means more alimony or spousal support. In New York, for example, the long duration period is 20 years.

It really is a moot point for the famous couple mentioned above because they are both multi-millionaires who really just want an amicable split and to have a co-parenting decision finalized by the court.

For marriages that last a decade or more, social security benefits of the former husband or wife are up for grabs. Most people are awarded equal halves of the ex-spouse's full retirement benefit as well if they meet certain criteria. You must be older than 62 and not married.

Having an attorney who knows this and more can mean that you don't need to worry about the divorce. Your lawyer knows what you need to do next to ensure that you get what is rightfully yours.

Source: Investment News, "Financial lessons from the timing of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck's divorce," Liz Skinner, July 07, 2015

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