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Standard of living and spousal support

Imagine you and your spouse enjoyed fancy meals, expensive homes and luxurious vacations on a regular basis during your marriage. If you're planning to get a divorce, a Georgia family law court may seek to ensure that both of you enjoy the same standard of living you've grown accustomed to during your marriage. That is, if that standard of living was real and not artificially created through credit.

When wealthy people get a divorce, if there is a so-called less-moneyed spouse, this spouse will usually receive a generous award of alimony so that he or she can continue a standard of living close to the level that he or she enjoyed during the marriage. This outcome will only apply to couples that have an enormous amount of disposable income or when one spouse has extensive personal assets.

If the spouses enjoyed an artificially created standard of living by purchasing things on credit -- or if they were living above their financial means -- the court will not issue an award of alimony that seeks to maintain this artificial lifestyle. Instead, the court will review the spouse's true state of financial health and, if it chooses to award alimony, it will do so reasonably so that the paying spouse can actually afford it.

Finally, there could be a situation in which the spouses were living below their means. In this case, an alimony award could be provided to reimburse a spouse for his or her sacrifices to save for the future.

Is alimony an issue in your divorce? Whether you're the paying spouse or the receiving spouse, you'll want to learn as much as you can about Georgia family law to determine your legal rights and options.

Source: FindLaw, "How Does 'Standard of Living' Impact Spousal Support?," George Khoury, accessed May 16, 2018

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