The People’s Lawyer

Alimony disputes: What is marital standard of living?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2021 | Family Law

Although it can be difficult to see through the thick emotional cloud of divorce, it’s important to recognize that there’s a lot on the line financially speaking. That might sound scary, but you can get through this and come out the other side confident with your financial position. It’s going to take some work, of course, but you can find support along the way. You can also learn more about the law and how it applies to your set of circumstances so that you can better position yourself for success.

For example, when it comes to spousal support, sometimes called alimony, it’s critical to know that the court is going to consider a number of factors before issuing a determination. Amongst those factors is the marital standard of living. At first blush, that might seem like an easy thing to figure out. But it’s actually a pretty nebulous standard that can be hard to grasp in concrete terms. So how, exactly, is the marital standard of living determined?

Factors that play into the marital standard of living

When assessing the marital standard of living, the court is going to take a holistic approach. This means that it’s going to consider obvious characteristics of your marital life, such as income and the house that you lived in, but the analysis is going to be much more expansive than that. A court is going to consider the kind of vehicles that you and your spouse drove, the kind of shopping that you engaged in and in what frequency, and even how often you ate at restaurants and how much that typically cost. The frequency, duration, and luxuriousness of your vacations might also be taken into account. In other words, just about any aspect of your married life can be put under the microscope.

Another important thing to remember about the marital standard of living analysis is that the court won’t consider an aspect of your marital life if it’s deemed to have been artificially inflated. This artificial inflation occurs when aspects of your standard of living are debt driven. For example, a fancy vacation to the Bahamas that was paid for by a credit card, the balance of which still remains, likely won’t be considered part of the marital standard of living.

Portraying the marital standard of living to suit your needs

Depending on which side of the ball you’re playing, you’ll want to build up or diminish the marital standard of living. There are strategies that you can use to do both, and you should be aware them so that you can not only support your position but also counter the other side’s arguments. Either way, you’ll want evidence. Receipts, financial records, and testimony are going to be key to your case, so make sure that you’re being diligent in considering everything that could support your position.

Get through your divorce with the financial standing you deserve

We know that if you’re reading this blog then you’re probably stressed about what the future has in store for you. This is a legitimate concern given the stakes involved in a divorce. But all you can do is work with the facts before you and argue the law to the best of your ability. This might happen in court in front of a judge, but more often than not it’s going to occur at the negotiation table. This means that you and your spouse are probably going to retain a significant amount of control over your divorce. So, be thoughtful, be prepared, and be hopeful, because the future before you is probably brighter than you can realize in the midst of your divorce.