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What is the role of the “standard of living” in a divorce?

When you are going through a divorce in Illinois, you will likely hear the term “standard of living.” It is important to understand what this means and how it relates to the different areas of your divorce agreement, especially alimony. This standard is used to help make many decisions, and the court relies on it to be fair and just in how it allocates your assets and assigns spousal support.

The Huffington Post reports that standard of living refers to the economic level of life you were used to enjoying when married. In general, it is the aim of the court to help both parties maintain their same lifestyle after the divorce. This is not possible in some cases where income is not high enough, but in high income situations, it is possible. Steps are usually taken to ensure the standard of living remains unchanged.

Often this is done through the assigning of alimony payments. The standard of living may be used to determine where to set obligation amounts and can even be used in the future to help with adjustments. Initially, it is used to help prevent claims that you are not receiving enough money because if the standard of living is met, then you have no basis for your claim. In the future, it can be used to prevent overpayments or exorbitant support amounts. If you are receiving alimony, for example, and you suddenly start earning more, then the court may lower the amount you receive to help keep your standard of living balanced with what it was when you were married. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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