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What does “standard of living” mean?

In a North Carolina divorce situation, you may hear the term “standard of living.” This is used by the court in different ways to help ensure fairness when it is making decisions. Understanding what the term means and how it is used can help you to better prepare for your day in court.

According to The Huffington Post, standard of living refers to the manner in which you are accustomed to living. Basically, it is the idea of maintaining your same living conditions despite the divorce. It generally plays a bigger role in high-asset divorce situations because it is much easier to maintain this standard when there is more assets and income involved. However, it can also play a role in lower income divorce situations.

The court will often look to the standard of living to set the basic level at which each spouse should live. It is most often used when it comes to alimony. Alimony is a payment you get from your spouse to help you afford your lifestyle. The court may use your standard of living as the guideline when setting alimony. It may also be used to make adjustments in the future should incomes or living situations change. For example, if you never worked when married but decide to get a job after the divorce, then your alimony may be adjusted with your new income in mind so you remain at the level set by the standard of living decided during your divorce. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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