Tyngsboro, MA asked in Divorce for Massachusetts

Q: How is the actual duration of marriage duration calculated?

How is the actual duration of marriage duration calculated?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brian Waller
Brian Waller
  • Worcester, MA
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Unfortunately, it depends. For purposes of alimony, the duration of marriage is calculated as the date of marriage through the date of service of the Complaint for Divorce. So, if your ex-spouse filed on March 19, 2021, it would be whatever date after that you were actually served with the divorce summons.

For purposes of property division, there are a lot of factors that go into determining the duration, and judges have a lot of discretion in that regard. Many times it is the date of trial for the end date, but could also be the date of separation. For the start date, most often it is the date of marriage, but could be much earlier. For example, if a couple is together for 20 years in an exclusive dating relationship in which they live together, combine their finances, own property, etc., then get married, a judge could consider that 20-year relationship prior to the wedding to be part of the 'duration of marriage' for purposes of dividing the marital estate. There are obviously a lot of different scenarios that could impact the start date or end date, so each case is somewhat unique.

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