Spousal maintenance cases can be one of the most contentious issues in divorce. States previously referred to spousal maintenance as alimony. In some states, the term is still used today. In many cases, one issue that can come up is the standard of living established by the parties during the marriage. In other words, one party may allege that they should receive an award of spousal maintenance. And one of the justifications for it is that they need it to maintain the standard of living that established during the marriage.
The argument, oftentimes, revolves around the lifestyle a party had during the marriage. For example, a party might cite the general area in which they lived. They might point to the types of activities and possessions in which they became accustomed. In some circumstances, they might point to items that one might consider more wants than needs, like vacations, spa appointments, country club memberships, etc.
They then might argue that they need spousal maintenance (or alimony) so that they can enjoy this same lifestyle after the marriage. If there are minor children involved, they might argue that the same lifestyle should be maintained for the benefit of the children as well.
The laws in every state vary in some ways based on what a court looks for in ordering spousal maintenance. Thus, it is important that any party consult with an attorney who is licensed and competent to practice law in their jurisdiction.
Having said that, the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage can be one factor a court looks at in terms of ordering maintenance. Missouri does, as an example, list the standard of living during the marriage as one of the relevant factors in maintenance calculations. The same is true in Illinois as well as it relates to spousal maintenance.
But if you look at the statutes in Missouri and Illinois, there are various other factors that the court must look at in terms of spousal maintenance in terms of calculation maintenance, including the need of the party seeking it. So, the standard of living of the parties during the marriage while relevant isn’t the end of the analysis.
This makes it critical that any party who is seeking maintenance consult with an attorney about their specific situation to ensure that all the factors are appropriately looked at in their case.
If you are looking to hire an attorney for a spousal maintenance case, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. You can contact us at 1-855-805-0595.