The marital standard of living is the lifestyle enjoyed by the parties during marriage. California law clearly and often designates “marital standard of living” as the standard to be used by the court in determining a payment amount for post-judgment spousal support. This includes a consideration of how often they dined at restaurants, where clothing purchases were made, the cost, size, and location of the marital residence. In addition, what type of school the children attend and the frequency and location of vacations are considered. Courts tend to use terms found in statutory text, such as “high” or “moderate” when prefacing the term “marital standards” in an effort to offer clarification.
While the law states that the marital standard of living is measured by the expenditures of both parties during a marriage, including any funds ‘expended’ for savings, the determination of such expenditures can prove to be exceedingly cost prohibitive and hampered by the absence of accurate records. Often, the court is in the position of determining the marital standard of living based only on summary information or testimony.
Where the supporting spouse has the ability to pay, spousal support will be set at a level that allows both parties to live at the marital standard of living. The paying spouse may begin to earn a greater income but will not have an obligation to share in that new success with the former spouse. However, if the paying spouse’s income is insufficient to maintain both at the marital standard of living upon divorce, but later increases his or her income, the paid spouse can request a modification.
The paid spouse can demonstrate to the court that now the supporting spouse has the ability to maintain both parties at the marital standard of living and therefore support award should be increased. When a spousal support award is based on the marital standard of living at the time it is made, the paid spouse is not entitled to benefit from the increased earnings of the paying spouse. Additionally, child support is not limited by the marital standard of living because children are entitled to share in the increased income of their parents post-separation.
If you have a question regarding Family Law in California please contact us at (818) 926-4420 or visit the Family Law section on our website at Law Offices of Anat Resnik. Call today and we will connect you with Anat Resnik, an experienced, aggressive, affordable Divorce and Family Law Attorney in California. After you have spoken with our California Family Law attorney, we can schedule you a free face to face appointment to discuss your circumstances. If you have questions or are considering any aspect of filing for Divorce, a Paternity issues, Child Custody and Visitation, Spousal Support & Alimony, etc. we can help! Call us now at(818) 926-4420. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with any and all family law needs.