Do you know how to prove your marital standard of living?

There’s no doubt that divorce can be an expensive endeavor. After all, the property division process itself can leave you with limited resources, which can create stress about your financial stability moving forward. This may be especially true if you’ve sacrificed your own career for your family during your marriage, such as by foregoing work to raise children or foregoing your own education to help pay for your spouse’s education.

Fortunately, though, the law allows you to seek spousal support in these circumstances. If that sounds appealing to you, then you might be wondering how much support you can get from an order on alimony and how the court goes about making that determination. Let’s look at one major contributing factor: the marital standard of living.

How courts look at the marital standard of living

To start, it’s important to note that you can negotiate a spousal support settlement without the need for the court’s intervention. This, of course, would require you to have effective communication with your spouse, and even then you can’t overlook the importance of assessing key considerations like the marital standard of living. After all, you’re going to need some basis for your recommended spousal support amount, even if you’re handling it through negotiations.

With that in mind, let’s look at how courts assess the marital standard of living. In short, a court will analyze every aspect of your marital life. The home you lived in, the cars that you drove, the restaurants that you ate at, the shopping that engaged in, and the vacations that you took will all help paint a picture for the court. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to be as detailed as possible when presenting what life was like during your marriage, utilizing financial records and receipts as much as possible to help support your position.

Don’t overlook income

This might sound obvious, but don’t forget to conduct a deep dive on your spouse’s income to help show the court what your marital standard of living looked like. While this might include looking at direct income paid by an employer, you should also consider income that’s derived from a family-owned business, ensuring that you’ve got a clear picture of the business’s financial standing and that your spouse hasn’t manipulated the numbers in some fashion. These figures can be key to your spousal support determination.

Be careful about debt-driven lifestyle

Keep in mind that the court’s ultimate goal is to provide you with a standard of living that is as close to that that was enjoyed during the marriage as possible. Therefore, it wants to take into consideration only those lifestyle choices that were actually affordable during the marriage. So, any debt-driven aspects of your marital life, such as a vacation paid for by a credit card, won’t be considered.

Show reasonable need

To succeed in securing alimony, you’ll have to demonstrate why it’s necessary to meet your reasonable needs in light of the marital standard of living. So, be sure to develop arguments that support why you need what you request. Every judge is different, so what is reasonable to one judge may be unreasonable to another. That’s why it’s important that you thoroughly show your need in light of the expectations that were established during the course of your marriage.

Secure the legal assistance that you need

There’s certainly a lot at stake in a spousal support dispute. That’s why it’s imperative that you build the most persuasive legal arguments possible given the facts at hand. If you’d like assistance in doing that, then you may want to consider reaching out to an attorney who is well-versed in these matters for the support that you need.

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