When a California court makes a determination about long-term or permanent alimony, it must evaluate a number of considerations stipulated in the California Family Code. One of those considerations focuses on the standard of living that the couple experienced during the marriage.
A couple's standard of living is an assessment of the value or cost of what it takes to keep that couple provided with their needs and able to access their wants and desires. Mortgage payments, grocery bills, insurance premiums and other fixed costs are generally considered needs. Luxury items such as vacations, expensive clothing, and other non-necessities are considered wants or desires.
When evaluating a couple's marital standard of living, a court will look at how each member to the partnership contributed to maintaining that standard of living. While some partners directly contribute financial resources through earned income and wages, others contribute organizational and supportive resources to the management of the relationship. Each individual partner's earning capacities can be factored into how and how much each provided to reaching the shared standard of living.
Generally, through an award of alimony, a court will try to keep a person near the standard of living that he or she experienced during the marriage. At the end of divorce proceedings, a person should not be destitute or unable to provide himself with his basic needs; however, alimony considers many factors other than standard of living to ensure that a person is sufficiently provided for in the years following a separation or divorce.
Alimony is the payment of support from one former partner to another. Whether a court will award it in a particular divorce case will depend on that court's evaluation of many factors codified in the state's law. Attorneys who practice family law can help their clients review their standard of living and many other aspects of their situatiion to assess their likelihoods of being awarded alimony.