Standard of living is a quantifiable measurement of the well-being of a group and refers to factors available to specific socioeconomic classes. In the United States, for example, some factors that determine the standard of living are physical health, life expectancy, availability of housing, educational opportunities, medical access, and other factors that measure how well a country is doing. Take this meaning and apply it to a smaller group of people, for reference, a household, and it becomes clearer how these combined factors affect everyone living under the same roof.
When the dynamics change in a family unit, very often, the standard of living has the potential to change. Removing an income, no longer having access to insurance coverage, fewer educational opportunities, and other quantifiable factors can decrease that unit’s well-being. If the dynamics of your household are shifting, causing concern for your well-being, speaking with an attorney specializing in Family Law issues is a proven benefit, giving you peace of mind.
Standard of Living as it Applies to Divorce
Standard of living is not determined by the income individuals earn singularly but more so by the total household income of the individuals and how the use of that combined household income benefits the group. When you remove one of these incomes, mainly if it is the income of the higher wage earner, the standard of living can drop for the other unit members.
Determining this standard becomes crucial for the partner whose income-earning potential has been affected more by domestic responsibilities, devoting more time to child care, or any other factor in the marriage that may have stifled their earning potential. It then becomes a court’s duty to determine how to extend the standard of living to all individuals involved when they are no longer functioning as one household. Working with a compassionate family law firm concerned with protecting your family’s interests is essential.
Factors Used in Determining Support
There are a set of factors a judge will use to determine how much and how long support will continue for the economically disadvantaged spouse. These factors will determine support as specified in Family Code 4320. Standard of living is a critical factor in this determination.
- The length of the marriage
- Current age and health
- Earning capacity, factoring in the cost and time it will take to gain the skills or complete the education requirements to meet this capacity
- Current combined incomes
- Standard of living while married, taking into consideration the type of housing you live in and vehicles you drive, past vacations, and other additional economic opportunities
- Need and ability to pay determines how much an individual would need monetarily to continue the same lifestyle and if the higher-earning individual can pay the amount needed
- How much property and debt each spouse accrued
- Did one spouse assist the other in educational opportunities, training, or beneficial licensing
- Any history of abuse during the marriage
- If there are children, their impact on careers, and how working will impact the children
Responsible Planning for Your Family’s Future
Family units are all unique and require specific standards to stay healthy. Separation and divorce can take an emotional toll on everyone in the family unit, making it difficult to make decisions that best impact everyone. Working with the experienced team of Martin Family Law Group from the beginning of this life-changing event can ensure a more favorable outcome in the end.
Let us use our years of experience to guide you through a complicated process allowing you to work with the same team throughout your legal matter. We understand the need for consistency and support, especially during uncertain times.