The pandemic has added some extra stress to everyone’s lives. When it comes to relationships, this is even more true. The requirements of social distancing and quarantine have left many couples spending much more time together than they ever have before, and not every relationship is surviving the struggle.
This is even more true for newlyweds. While divorce rates overall have increased by 34% compared to last year, the the divorce rate for recently married couples has nearly doubled. In many ways, this is understandable. A new marriage takes time to settle, and many newlyweds are working to combine their lives for the first time. The rising rate of newlywed divorces demonstrates that adding the stress of a global pandemic to a new marriage is not a recipe for success.
While all divorces have their complications, newlywed divorces are a special kind of difficult. Emotions are likely running high, and the partners may want to handle things in a way that differs from what the law mandates. Understanding the ins and outs of divorcing as a newlywed can help make this difficult time easier for everyone involved.
Consider Annulment or Legal Separation
Considering current national circumstances, jumping directly to divorce may not be your best course of action. If you have just gotten married, you may want to consider other means of separating from your spouse. Oregon offers two alternatives to the divorce process: annulment and legal separation.
Oregon allows couples to get an annulment in certain rare cases. If a marriage is “void” or “voidable,” then the state of Oregon will annul the marriage. Legally, the union will never have occurred.
A marriage is considered void if it turns out that that one or both parties were still legally married at the time of the new marriage. These marriages are considered invalid from the moment they begin, and they can be legally dissolved immediately.
Similarly, a marriage is considered voidable if one or both partners was still a minor at the time of the wedding, if one spouse was unable to consent at the time of the marriage, or if the consent was obtained by fraud. While these marriages can be ratified if the couple remains together, either partner can get the marriage annulled by separating from their spouse once they realize the fraud.
What this means is that if your partner hid critical information from you, you could potentially get an annulment instead of a divorce. Separate from your spouse and reach out for legal assistance if you believe this to be the case.
In Oregon, you can also separate from your partner to get some breathing room without going through the entire divorce process. Instead, you can consider a legal separation. If you suspect that your relationship is salvageable, a legal separation can help you and your new spouse work out your differences while remaining legally married. Legal separation can also help both parties remain insured, help establish parenting plans, and set the groundwork for a future divorce in case you decide you do want to end the marriage.
Dividing Property Fairly
If you do decide to get a full divorce, as newlyweds, you are likely to run into property division concerns. Oregon. When a marriage has not existed for very long, there may not be very much marital property. However, identifying what is considered marital property and what is separate property can be difficult.
Oregon allows both spouses to retain their separate property after a divorce. Separate property is any property that the person brought into the marriage. On the other hand, the state requires that marital property be divided equitably between the partners. For short marriages, most property is likely to be considered separate, but it may not be easy to prove what property belongs to whom.
If you and your former partner have disagreements about what is considered separate property and what is marital property, working with a qualified divorce attorney can help. They can help you navigate the process of splitting property fairly. They can also help you understand your rights when it comes to marital property in divorce.
Working Out Alimony
Oregon defines alimony, or spousal support, as financial support for a lower-earning spouse. There are a few types of spousal support offered in Oregon: temporary support, compensatory support, and spousal maintenance. Short marriages may not meet eligibility requirements for a court to order either partner to receive these types of support.
First and foremost, for very short marriages, a judge may not award any spousal support. As both partners have only spent a short period with combined finances, the court may not consider support to be necessary. This is particularly true if both partners have jobs.
For slightly longer marriages, temporary support may be awarded. If one partner quit their job after the wedding, the judge may grant them temporary support until they can return to the workforce. This can include time spent in training programs or education to return to work.
Maintenance support and compensatory support are typically reserved for longer marriages, where one partner supported the other person’s career while remaining un- or underemployed. Short marriages are unlikely to lead to this type of support for most couples.
Essentially, getting divorced shortly after marriage may not result in the lower-earning partner receiving significant spousal support. This is important to consider when getting divorced as a newlywed, as it can mean a substantial difference in your finances after the divorce is finalized.
Work with an Experienced Attorney
No matter what route you choose, you should always work with an experienced attorney when you want to separate from your spouse. Getting divorced soon after getting married is a stressful, emotional experience, even when there isn’t a pandemic happening. Working with an attorney who can advocate for your best interests will help you make the most of a bad situation. A qualified divorce lawyer will be able to help you understand your rights and options and help you choose the best course of action for your own life.