Family Law for Real Housewives: Married for Months

Countess Luann gushed how she, “got the yacht!!!”, and triumphed in getting engaged to Tom.  They filed for divorce seven months after their heavily publicized wedding.

On the Real Housewives of New Jersey, we witnessed Danielle Staub’s over the top bachelorette party, Bridezilla breakdowns, and wedding in Bimini.  Danielle and her husband, Marty, filed for divorce only three months later.  Their divorce was finalized last month.

Lisa Rinna recently revealed on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills that her husband, Harry Hamlin, was previously married to Nicolette Sheridan for less than a year.  They are currently embroiled in a twitter feud regarding what caused the demise of their marriage.

As I have mentioned, one of my favorite things about the Real Housewives is the very Real issues that the show spotlights.  From my practice of law, I observed the trend of Gray Divorces bookended by a myriad of couples who have been married for months. 

The knee jerk explanation for couples being married for mere months is that they only dated for a short time before tying the knot.  However, I find this to be untrue in most of my divorce cases that fall into this category.

So, why are so many couples getting divorced only months after walking down the aisle?  In some instances, living together may be novel.  Living together may reveal something new about his or her spouse, i.e. they are messy, a neat freak, drink excessively, have an annoying habit, stay out late, get up super early, or another issue that pipes up that was not readily apparent when they were dating.

Arguments tend to have more permanence.  When disagreements arise, each altercation may seem to hold more weight — I’m stuck with this person forever?!!

Issues may surface when endeavoring to meld two families together.  Problems with in-laws might sprout, such as over wedding planning, holiday celebrations, or the frequency of family visits.  In other circumstances, especially in remarriages, it is not always like the Brady Bunch.  One of the issues that arose in Danielle’s marriage is that she did not get along with her husband’s children from a prior marriage.  In other circumstances, children from previous relationships may not get along with each other.

Finances also may prove to be a source of contention.  Repeatedly, I come across cases where it is stupefying how little couples discussed their finances prior to walking down the aisle.  Debts can come to the surface and be a source of domestic strife.  A couple may have vastly different spending habits.  It may come to light after marriage that a couple has a vast disparity in their savings and income, which strikes a new dynamic into the relationship.

With many individuals marrying later in life, it is often hard to break old habits and transition into monogamous relationships.  The bachelorette or bachelor life may still be craved, like Tom who was unwilling to give up late night drinks at the Regency.

States vary in their requirements governing how long a couple needs to wait before qualifying for a divorce.  If married for months, there is an end, but also a new beginning that awaits.