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What is standard of living and its impact on spousal support?

It's no secret that two incomes are better than one. However, when it comes to a dissolution of marriage, income isn't usually the sole reason behind a divorce. While the lure of a single life calls to many, it can be hard to reconcile the change in standard of living. For some, it results in a real disparity between spouses.

For this situation, spousal support can be ordered in a divorce decree to help balance financial differences between spouses. Oftentimes in a marriage, one person will sacrifice personal and career-success in lieu of the other spouse's success in those areas. While a standard of living won't be the same, with two incomes reducing to 1 in the divorced person's new household, it still can be a fair and equitable division of the assets.

So how does standard of living come into the equation if standard of living of two cannot compare to single standard of living? It applies most to the wealthy, as one person may have made most the money and the other spouse reared the house. However, there is also artificial standard of living which is determined based on if the couple was living above or below their means. Each will have different potential impact on determining standard of living.

There isn't an easy way to transition from a double person standard of living to a single standard. However, adjusting for standard of living with spousal support can make the separation fair and equitable. Not all divorce decrees will include a spousal support determination. Some spousal support is temporary and some to be paid out in the long-term.

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