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Spousal support and proving the marital standard of living

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Divorce |

If you’re like most people who are going through a divorce, you’re worried about your financial stability once all is said and done. This is understandable given that our state’s laws require equitable, although not necessarily even, distribution of the marital estate, and it may be hard to figure out how to get by going from two incomes to one.

While you’ll certainly need to deploy strong negotiation and litigation tactics when it comes to addressing property division, you’ll also want to consider whether seeking alimony is appropriate under the circumstances. After all, successfully seeking this spousal support can give you the financial stability that you need as you gain your footing post-divorce and figure out how to become self-sufficient.

Proving the marital standard of living

When deciding whether alimony should be awarded and, if so, how much support should be paid, the court is going to look at a bunch of factors. One of the most important among them is the marital standard of living. This is because the court, when possible, will try to leave the parties with the financial resources they need to continue to enjoy the marital standard of living.

Of course, the higher the standard of living enjoyed during the divorce the greater an alimony payment may be. But how do you go about proving the marital standard of living? You may want to start by gathering evidence of each of the following:

  • The home you lived in and its value
  • The clothing that you wore and how often you refreshed your wardrobe
  • How often you and your spouse dined out
  • The frequency and type of vacations that you took
  • The types of entertainment that you enjoyed and how often you engaged in that entertainment
  • The kind of vehicle that you drove and how often you bought new or newer cars

These are some of the biggest points in your marital standard of living. But it’s a broad analysis, which means you should be diligent in identifying anything that may be indicative of how you lived your life during marriage.

Gathering evidence to support the marital standard of living

Although your testimony about the marital standard of living can be helpful, you’ll want to back it up with objective evidence if at all possible. This includes receipts, bank statements, and other documentation that may show the assets that you and your spouse purchased as well as the discretionary spending that you enjoyed.

It’s worth noting that a debt-driven lifestyle will not be considered when determining the appropriateness of an alimony award. In other words, if you frequently went shopping and dined out at nice restaurants but it was all paid for by credit cards whose balances often went unpaid, then the court likely won’t consider that as your actual marital standard of living.

Carefully craft the legal arguments that you need

Remember, the marital standard of living is just one aspect of a spousal maintenance determination. So, as you prepare to navigate this aspect of your divorce, you need to be careful in ensuring that you’re addressing every consideration that is relevant to the matter before you.