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Can you keep your marital standard of living after divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2022 | Divorce

If you’ve gotten used to a comfortable standard of living, you may be concerned that you’ll lose that in your divorce. That’s a special concern for those who’ve let their own career take a backseat to their spouse’s. 

Whether you spent years being a stay-at-home parent or you gave up your aspirations to travel with and help your spouse, you probably can’t jump back into the job market and make anything close to your spouse’s income. Everything you have and everyone you know may be here in the Monterey area, which is among the more expensive places to live in California. 

Do you have a right to ask for spousal support (alimony) that will allow you to continue your marital standard of living? You may. 

What’s considered in awarding California spousal support?

Under California law, “The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage” is a consideration in awarding spousal support. Among the other things considered by the court when called on to determine the amount of alimony one spouse pays the other are:

  • How much the person asking for support contributed to their spouse’s success
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The marketable skills of the person asking for support
  • How being out of the labor market has affected their earning capacity
  • What separate assets the person seeking support has
  • Whether there are dependent children who need care
  • The age and health (of both parties)

Another factor a court will consider is whether the marital standard of living was real or artificial. For example, if there’s a multimillion-dollar home but it has two mortgages or it turns out the spouse with the higher income took out multiple loans for other things, that standard of living was artificial, and a court can’t order support to maintain something that wasn’t real.

This is one reason why it’s crucial to ensure that your spouse is being honest and transparent (as you also need to be) when making the necessary financial disclosures. If you think they’re hiding money, it may be worthwhile to hire a forensic accountant. Financial advice, along with sound legal guidance, can help you get the settlement you deserve.