Getting a divorce in New Jersey affects every area of your life. In addition to the emotional toll and the impact on your relationships with family members and friends, decisions made during this time can impact you financially for years into the future. To maintain your marital standard of living, contact our experienced New Jersey divorce attorneys.
‘Marital standard of living’ refers to your lifestyle during your marriage. It includes the degree of comfort you experienced regarding where you lived, the hobbies, vacations, and other recreational activities you enjoyed, and your overall financial security. Find out how marital standard of living is calculated in New Jersey and its role in determining spousal support and child support payments.
Determining Marital Standard of Living In A New Jersey Divorce
When filing for a divorce in Ocean County, certain legal documents are required by the New Jersey Courts. Alongside a divorce petition, you must complete a Family Part Case Information Statement (CIS). This sets forth the financial details surrounding your marriage and your current financial situation. This information is then used to determine your marital standard of living and the amount awarded in spousal support and child support.
Information Used To Determine Marital Standard Of Living
During a divorce consultation, we will explain the process for filing a divorce, the paperwork required, and the basic types of information needed from you in filling out a CIS. This information generally includes the names and addresses of both parties involved, the date of the marriage, when you separated when a divorce petition was filed, and issues currently disputed in the case.
In addition to general facts surrounding the situation, a CIS also contains detailed financial information. This financial information is then used in determining the marital standard of living. Information requested includes:
- Each party’s current individual income, assets, and benefits;
- Their current total expenses;
- Average expenses during the marriage;
- The total amount of marital property, assets, and debts;
- Any special needs either party has, including whether there are children from the marriage and the amount of child support needed.
Calculating Joint Lifestyle Costs
Once a completed Case Information Statement (CIS) is filed with the court, along with the appropriate supporting documents, it provides a framework for calculating the marital standard of living. A key area the court will look at is overall expenses. These include:
- Housing costs, such as rent or home mortgage payments, utility bills, and overall upkeep;
- Transportation costs, such as payments on any vehicles you own, gas, maintenance, and taxes;
- Personal needs, such as food, household supplies, health care, insurance, recreational costs, and expenses related to the care and education of children.
These costs are divided into two columns: Joint Lifestyle and Current Lifestyle. Joint Lifestyle includes monthly amounts spent on the above during your marriage and establishes the marital standard of living. The court will compare this amount to Current Lifestyle costs, each party’s income, and their overall ability to pay.
Under the New Jersey Statutes (NJ Rev Stat § 2A:34-23), marital standard of living is one of several factors that are considered by the court in determining spousal support and child support payments. The goal is to ensure that both you and your child are provided for and that you continue to enjoy the same quality of life after divorce as you did during the marriage.
Request A Consultation With Our New Jersey Divorce Attorneys Today
Decisions made during divorce proceedings can impact your quality of life for years into the future. At New Jersey Family Law Group, we are dedicated to ensuring you get the total amount of spousal support and child support you need to maintain your marital standard of living. Serving clients throughout New Jersey, call 732-240-9555 or contact our office online and request a consultation with our New Jersey divorce attorneys today.