When a court considers the marital standard of living as relevant to a rehabilitative award, the standard of living generally requires a rehabilitative award high enough to maintain a standard of living similar to that experienced during the longer, gray area marriage.
The classic example of the marital standard of living impacting an award of rehabilitative alimony is illustrated by a fairly long marriage with a high standard of living resulting in a permanent award rather than a rehabilitative award.
Other cases indicate that the marital standard of living may be sustained through an award of rehabilitative alimony.
25) The wife in Burrill had also stayed home with the children during the marriage and required a permanent alimony award to maintain the marital standard of living.
If the emerging trend (as discussed later in this article) of minimizing the importance of the marital standard of living continues, disparity in the earning abilities of the parties may become the single most important factor when seeking a permanent alimony award.
The appellate courts seem to be changing the emphasis regarding the marital standard of living factor.
The law is well settled that an increase in alimony solely because of the increased financial ability of the obligor is sustainable only in the event that at the time of the entry of the final judgment, the obligor did not have the present financial ability to pay, and the obligee was, thus, required to accept a lower amount of alimony or a corresponding decrease in the marital standard of living
Marital standard of living is not itself dispositive in determining a rehabilitative alimony award.
This was insufficient to maintain the marital standard of living, compelling a conclusion that a rehabilitative award could not serve its purpose of establishing that capacity for self-support.
These agreements carry great weight with the courts in conjunction with considerations of earning disparity and the potential for rehabilitation of the recipient spouse to self-support at the marital standard of living.
In doing so, the court emphasized, inter alia, the impossibility of maintaining a semblance of the marital standard of living on such a salary, given the establishment of an extremely high standard during the marriage based upon joint earnings in excess of half of one million dollars annually.
There the Second District specifically noted the impossibility of the recipient wife, with her substantially disparate earning capacity, ever approaching the marital standard of living.