How to Prove Your Marital Standard of Living in a North Carolina Divorce
In high net worth divorces, one of the most important steps is to establish your marital standard of living. Because wealthy couples in the Charlotte region sometimes enjoy a comfortable, luxurious lifestyle, this can have a serious impact on your overall divorce. Regardless of whether you are a “dependent” spouse or the primary breadwinner, this is an important aspect of your divorce that you need to take seriously. Your marital standard of living can affect child support, alimony, and more.
But how do you establish that a certain marital standard of living existed while you were living in Mecklenburg County together? What happens if your former spouse tries to mislead the court? What if they aim to misrepresent your marriage, claiming that your lifestyle was actually much more luxurious than it actually was? On the other hand, you might be dealing with a spouse who is trying to prove that your marriage was much more frugal and modest.
Whatever the case may be, it always helps to get help from the professionals. Team up with a family law attorney who specializes in high net worth divorces, and you can expect results. Not only can our legal professionals help you understand the concept of marital standard of living, but we can also help you prove your case and pursue a positive legal outcome.What is Marital Standard of Living?
Simply put, marital standard of living is the social and economic lifestyle enjoyed by the spouses during the relationship. In most cases, only the last few years of the marriage are considered when assessing marital standard of living. Judges try to determine how luxurious and comfortable your life was during the marriage.Why is this Important?
One of the main goals of divorces in North Carolina is to ensure that both spouses end the marriage without unnecessary changes to their lives. In other words, judges in North Carolina often try to make the transition between married and unmarried life as smooth as possible. Determining the standard of living during the marriage is necessary if they want to achieve this.
If you are a dependent spouse, a higher marital standard of living generally equates to a higher alimony sum. That being said, judges in North Carolina are well aware of the underlying motives of each spouse in this scenario, so you need to base your arguments on solid evidence and facts.How Do You Prove That a Certain Marital Standard of Living Existed?
If you were the primary breadwinner during the marriage, you probably want to prove that your lifestyle was relatively modest, with few unnecessary expenditures. If you are the dependent spouse, your goal is probably to prove that a luxurious, comfortable lifestyle existed. Either way, you will need to use the same evidence to prove your case:
- The size and value of your family home
- The neighborhood you lived in
- Receipts from restaurants you frequented together
- Membership fees for exclusive clubs, gyms, and other establishments
- Vacation costs and airline tickets
- Receipts from expensive “shopping sprees”
- Entertainment fees
- Evidence that you were involved in expensive hobbies
Marital standard of living may also impact child support. In this situation, it is important to focus on the standard of living experienced by your children, and not you. If you are a dependent spouse and you can prove that your child became accustomed to a high standard of living, your child support payments will probably increase. Whenever the combined annual income of both spouses exceeds $300,000, judges in North Carolina assess child support in a different way compared to the usual formula. They may consider expensive extracurricular activities enjoyed by the child, such as horseback riding or expensive sports. They may also assess whether or not a child attended private school.
To some degree, marital standard of living can also affect child custody. If one spouse leaves the marriage with more financial resources, the judge may decide that they should have custody in order to maintain the lifestyle that the child has grown accustomed to. In addition, the spouse who retains ownership of the family home stands a strong chance of winning primary custody, since judges are reluctant to force children to move, attend a new school, and leave their friends behind.Enlist the Help of a Qualified Divorce Attorney Today
If you have been searching Mecklenburg County or the surrounding areas for a qualified, experienced family law attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We frequently handle high net worth divorces in North Carolina, and we are more than familiar with the various problems associated with marital standard of living. Connect with us at your earliest convenience, and we will develop an action plan based on your unique circumstances. Our offices are conveniently located in Charlotte, Mooresville, and Monroe so do not hesitate to book a consultation today.