What if My Spouse Spends Too Much Money?

Ordinarily, to the extent martial expenses reflect marital lifestyle, the focus should be on actual expenditures during the marriage - not on the applicant spouse’s “estimated” expenses based on the “wishes and desires” for a particular lifestyle. Marriage of Hoffmeister (1987) 191 CA3d 351, 362-363, 236 CR543, 549-550; Marriage of Smith (1990) 225 CA3d 469, 487-488, 274 CR 911, 921.

However, the “actual” martial standard of living (“actual martial expenditures) takes on REDUCED SIGNIFICANCE where the evidence shows that standard was UNREASONABLE IN LIGHT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES DURING THE MARRIAGE. Here, the point of reference should be based on what would have been a REASONABLE standard of living prior to separation. Marriage of Smith, supra, 225 CA3d at 485-486; Marriage of Simpson (1992) 4 C4th 225, 235. Support BELOW the actual martial standard of living is warranted where the parties lived BEYOND THEIR MEANS during the marriage. If the evidence shows, e.g., the supporting spouse worked excessive hours during the marriage, or borrowed heavily to support a higher-than-income lifestyle, the support award should reflect what would have been a REASONABLE martial standard of living based on the parties’ average income (rather than actual expenditures). Marriage of Smith, supra, 225 CA3d at 485-486; Marriage of Weinstein (1991) 4 CA4th 555, 565-566.

Average income is the measure of martial standard of living is particularly appropriate where, as here, there was evidence the parties lived beyond their means. Marriage of Ackerman (2006) 146 CA4th 191.

If you are going divorce in Santa Barbara, or have spousal support questions in Santa Barbara, call Santa Barbara Divorce Lawyer Marcus Morales today at (805) 422-7966

Divorce is tough, get a tough lawyer.
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