What is “Standard of Living Established During the Marriage”?

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A person’s “standard of living” is the level of economic well-being that he or she enjoys. This includes things like income, housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, recreation and miscellaneous goods and services.

  • In California, when a couple gets divorced or dissolves a domestic partnership, the law tries to help each person keep the same level of economic well-being as they had when they were together.
  • This is one of the things a judge has to look at when making a decision about how much money it is fair and reasonable to ask one former spouse or partner to pay the other each month.
  • Support orders can only be made as part of the dissolution of a marriage or domestic partnership, or in a domestic violence proceeding. During this process California law requires that both spouses or partners give each other a "full and accurate" list of everything they own and owe.
  • This is called "disclosure" – meaning the act of disclosing; revealing; making something known to both people. Disclosure of all financial matters is considered an essential step towards the creation of a fair settlement agreement between the two people.
  • There are special forms for this. The forms do not have to be filed with the court, but the court must be given proof that the spouses or partners gave each other the required information.

“Standard of living” can include money set aside for the future – retirement benefits, for example.

This is an area of law that can get complicated. You might want to consider talking with a lawyer with experience in this field.

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