When a couple decides to file for divorce, lifestyle analysis is the systematic reconstruction of income/expense inflows and outflow pre- and post-separation. The analysis establishes the parties’ marital standard of living, used as a benchmark in reaching a divorce settlement.
Many recent court judgments have underscored a number of universal needs concerning lifestyle analysis. Litigants, divorce attorneys and family court judges must understand and appropriately consider “lifestyle,” In addition, developing a uniform approach to analyzing marital lifestyle, conveying the lifestyle analysis data to one’s adversary and ultimately, to the court are critical.
One common problem arises when one party, in contemplation of divorce, unilaterally alters the historical spending practices of the family. For example, if the supporting spouse moves out of the marital residence and refuses to provide adequate support for the spouse and dependent(s), the action may artificially reduce expenditures. In situations where spending is inconsistent with the historical marital standard, the periods of unusual expenditures should be excluded from the analysis. As an alternative, the lifestyle analysis results will provide data that is accurate, if you look at financial records in an earlier time frame to calculate spending more indicative of the marital lifestyle.
For assistance with preparing the lifestyle analysis you should enlist the services of a forensic accountant with experience in these areas. They can guide you through the process and provide you with fair and reasonable representation of the actual spending during the period desired.