A marital standard of living refers to the lifestyle of the spouses or the family during the marriage, and it is no surprise that a divorce can substantially alter the established standard. A divorce should not leave either spouse at a financial disadvantage. The marital standard of living usually plays a vital role in a divorce when one spouse needs financial support because it serves as the standard for calculating the amount of alimony.
When will a court award alimony?
Hawaii prioritizes an equitable division of marital property, but that does not mean an equal split is always just and fair. In many marriages, one spouse is the primary breadwinner, so when they divorce, the other spouse can no longer enjoy the benefits of their spouse’s income. What if they gave up their career and higher education to care for the family or the home? Their sacrifices should not go unnoticed.
The court analyses several factors when awarding alimony, and the marital standard of living is only one of thirteen considerations. A marital standard of living includes the kind of house you are accustomed to living in and your joint expenses during the marriage. However, the court will also focus on each spouse’s age, health, employability and the length of the marriage. It will consider each spouse’s financial conditions before and after the divorce.
Can you enjoy the same standard of living after a divorce?
Two households will require more financial resources than one. Therefore, it may be impossible to maintain the exact same standard unless the marital property involves large investments and valuable assets. A marital standard of living should be reasonable and realistic.
If a spouse wants to maximize a settlement agreement, they must proactively investigate the amount of property they accumulated throughout their marriage. The other spouse may have enough wealth to allow both to maintain the marital standard of living despite the divorce.