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Alimony and the marital standard of living analysis

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Family Law |

The outcome of your divorce can set your financial stage for a long time to come. That’s why it’s imperative that you know how to competently navigate the property division process. Yet, securing your financial future is about much more than just fighting over the family home, bank accounts, and pieces of personal property. It’s about ensuring that you have the consistent financial support that you need to get back on your feet after marriage dissolution, especially if you’ve made significant sacrifices during your marriage.

This is where spousal support can come into play. If you gave up a career or put your education on hold to help raise a family or support your spouse, then you may be in a strong position to request spousal support. In order to successfully do so, though, you’re going to have to address a number of factors that will be taken into consideration by the court. One of them is the marital standard of living.

How the marital standard of living comes into play in a spousal support case

One of the goals of spousal support is to ensure that the parties can continue to maintain the same lifestyle that they enjoyed during marriage. As such, a court will seek to order a spousal support payment that allows the receiving spouse to maintain that standard of living. This isn’t always possible, of course, but the court will try to come as close to that ideal outcome as possible so long as the facts warrant it.

But analyzing the marital standard of living is no small task. After all, it’s pretty all-encompassing. The marital standard of living will include an assessment of nearly every aspect of your marital life, from how often you dined out, the frequency with which you took vacations, the type of vehicles that you and your spouse drove, and the house that your family lived in. All of this, when looked at in its totality, can paint a picture of what your life was like during marriage, thereby giving the judge a clearer sense of what you’re entitled to post-divorce.

Beware of debt-driven aspects of the marital standard of living

There are some limitations on the standard of living analysis, though. Perhaps the biggest is that debt-driven aspects of your marital lifestyle will be excluded. Therefore, if you had vacations that were paid for with credit cards that still haven’t been paid off, then the court will likely view that as an artificial aspect of your marital standard of living. There may be arguments that you can make to your advantage here, though, so be sure to discuss your circumstances with your attorney.

Proving the marital standard of living

Proving the marital standard of living requires attention to detail. Documentation such as a copy of your mortgage, property assessments, and receipts can all help you build a picture of what your marital life looked like. Your own testimony could be crucial, too, as well as the testimony of those who can attest to your marital standard of living. You just have to remember that you’re telling a story of what your life was like before your marriage unraveled and focus on who and what can help you tell that story.

Seek legal help when you need it

Dealing with an alimony dispute can be stressful. There’s a lot on the line and emotions can run on high. But you shouldn’t let yourself be intimidated by the process. That’s why attorneys like those at our firm stand ready to assist you in building the legal arguments that you need to increase your chances of securing the spousal support that you need post-divorce.