A married couple’s lifestyle encompasses numerous factors – the kind of house they live in, the cars they drive, and their preferred clothes, restaurants and vacations. Aside from these luxurious choices, it also includes their basic necessities, such as their child’s education and other daily expenses. Thus, their marital standard of living is the level of comfort they enjoy together.
However, divorce can throw their spending habits into chaos. It breaks the single household they raised into two. Unfortunately, the impact of this separation is rarely equal, especially when one spouse substantially brings in more income than the other.
Knowing how to navigate their financial situations can help both parties to protect their rights during disputed court proceedings.
Establishing the marital standard of living
As an equitable distribution state, Pennsylvania divides property fairly. The courts consider relevant factors in deciding whom to award each marital property, which does not have to be a 50-50 split. Aside from a couple’s length of marriage and overall well-being, the other elements are mostly financial. Thus, while not the determining factor, both parties must establish the marital standard of living if they want the decision to sway in their favor.
The judge exercises broad discretion while going through a couple’s reasonable needs. They assess how the couple pays for such needs with their current streams of income. They also weigh whether a couple lives within their means or if they have excessive financial choices.
Doing so can help the judge determine necessary adjustments in property division. For example, a lower-earning spouse may be unable to sufficiently fund the house if awarded to them. But if they contributed to its upkeep, they may receive another marital property as compensation.
Further, in high-stakes divorces, unraveling every aspect of the couple’s shared assets and liabilities might be more challenging. Legal professionals often work with forensic accountants to employ specific methods and tools to prove a genuine marital standard of living.
Pursuing a financially stable future
The judge aims to maintain the economic circumstances that both sides are accustomed to after the divorce. They ensure that each side can become self-sufficient. However, the judge’s decision may not satisfy a spouse, triggering potential contentions. In these cases, consulting with a counsel proves valuable. They can work on keeping properties safe in the rightful hands and positioning spouses toward a financially secure future.