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Celebrities Sticking Together for “Ten Year Rule”

Celebrity break-ups are always in the news, and lately the pending divorce between Ben Affleck and his wife Jennifer Garner has been receiving the most attention. Rumors that the two were on the brink of calling it quits have been circulating for months, but with both still donning their wedding rings, most believed such tales were just media fodder.


One day after celebrating their 10 year wedding anniversary, however, the couple officially split.


This led to a number of questions. Were they doing it for the kids? Had they not decided on how the property and assets would be divided yet? Or did California’s so-called “10-year rule” have something to do with it?


The Myth of the 10-Year Rule


It is believed that couples who remain married for a decade or more in the state of California can earn a lot more in spousal support than if they were married for 9 years and 364 days. The layman’s understanding of this law is that the spouse who earns a lower income has a right to receive spousal support for as long as is required and as long as the other spouse can afford it.


To put it simply, many believe that after 10 years of marriage, a low income earning spouse is entitled to continue to receive payments from his or her spouse to support the lifestyle he or she is accustomed to until they become remarried or pass away.


In the case of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Affleck is considered to be the higher income earner, being worth around $75 million. Jennifer Garner is believed to have a net worth of around $40 million (though some estimate closer to $60 million).


The Truth Behind “The Rule”


In California, marriages which are “of long duration” could mean any number (one can be married 6 years or 16 years), and are still under the direct jurisdiction of the court. This means that the court can continue to make decisions about matters which affect both spouses and can continue to modify original orders if any facts presented justify a change.


Being married 10 years is not the “golden number” when it comes to receiving more spousal support in the state of California. This is why we at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP recommend that anyone who is considering, or who is in the midst of a divorce, speaks to a family attorney prior to agreeing to any settlements or terms.


Whether you choose to meet with us as a couple or separately, at Fischer Van Thiel we are here to counsel you on the best decisions for yourself and your family. We invite you to call us today to arrange for a free consultation at (858) 935-6211.

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