Establishing a Lifestyle Benchmark for Alimony
When a couple divorces, their lifestyles invariably change, according to the income each earns. If there are young children to raise or the wife has never worked outside the home, the marital income that provided for one household may have to support two separate residences after a divorce.
The non-custodial parent will undoubtedly have to pay child support and the custodial parent may request alimony until the children are grown or until he/she can get education or training to be economically self-supporting.
Judges in some states are given broad discretion; however, the Court must still weigh and apply set guidelines before granting a rehabilitative or indefinite alimony award.
While there are many factors involved in determining an alimony award, such as the length of the marriage, physical and mental condition and the age of each party, the overriding considerations are the needs of one spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay.
The nature of divorce results in a lower standard of living for both parties. Nevertheless, before granting an alimony reward, the Court expects a lifestyle analysis to establish a benchmark of a couple’s standard of living prior to divorce.
Divorce attorneys can manually reconstruct income and expenses before and after divorce, or use Divorce Financials software with a built in Lifestyle Analysis module to arrive at accurate fact-based data to use in alimony negotiations and a final divorce settlement.