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posted on 3/27/22

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that the judge of your divorce proceedings will essentially have discretion to determine what is a fair division of all marital assets. In some cases, it may still be a 50-50 split, as it would be in other states. However, it is not limited to being equal, and courts can consider a number of factors in determining what a fair share for each spouse is. One of the factors that judges can consider in making this determination is known as the marital standard of living.

What is the Marital Standard of Living?

The marital standard of living is determined based on the after-tax income that each spouse would require to maintain the same standard of living that they have enjoyed in the marriage while separated. The marital standard of living is generally classified as high or medium high. The marital standard of living is determined by taking the total combined net income for the past three to five years. Anomalies in income may be left out of this calculation. For instance, if the total income for the couple over a three-year period was $500,000, and they paid $125,000 in taxes, their total income for that period would be $375,000. That would equal out to $10,416 per month. The court will then deduct the total estimated actual expenses for that time period. The remaining amount will be the marital standard of living. If the spouse’s financial needs outweigh the calculated marital standard of living, then spousal support can be awarded. However, if both spouses will be able to maintain or exceed the current marital standard of living, then there is no need for support.

Marital Standard of Living for Our Model Family

In our model family, both spouses now have successful careers. The husband has built a successful electrical engineering business over the course of their marriage, and the wife has a successful corporate career. Part of the calculation will be whether the business is marital or independent property. If the husband’s business is considered marital property, the wife will be entitled to an ownership share, a payment or asset equal to her share, or the business will be liquidated in order to pay her her share. This would impact how assets are distributed and whether there is a need for spousal support. However, given that she seems to have a lucrative career of her own, it is very likely that both spouses will be able to match or exceed their current marital standard of living on their own. In this case, the court would not see a need to award such support. If, however, one spouse has additional financial needs, then spousal support may still be awarded.

Contact Glasgow & Olsson

If you are ready to make a change and file for divorce, you do not have to navigate the process on your own. Contact Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule a consultation and take the next step forward.

Link to part 1 of the series The Model Family