What is a Marital Standards of Living Assessment?

The marital standard of living (often referred to as MSOL) is essentially a measure of the lifestyle enjoyed by a couple during marriage. It is most often used during a divorce case to help determine how much support one party should pay the other. 

Several things go into this evaluation.

Marital Standard of Living Assessment: Income

As you can imagine, the total income of the two parties is one of the most important factors. The lifestyle of a family with an annual income of $50,000 per year will be very different from one that makes $300,000 per year. 

That said, one thing to keep in mind is it’s rare for both parties to be able to enjoy the same standard of living once separated. That’s largely because living expenses are now doubled. Whether you have a $200,000 house or a $500,000, it’s always easier to just pay for one home than two. 

Another thing to consider is increases in income. Let’s say the standard of living used to be a lifestyle based on $50,000 a year. If the higher-paid party (who is the one giving support to the other) suddenly gets a huge promotion and starts making $125,000 a year, they won’t necessarily need to increase their support by a proportional amount, ie. 2.5x as much. However, the courts might make them increase support to help the other party reach that same lifestyle enjoyed at the $50,000 a year point. 

Marital Standards of Living Assessment: Savings and Retirement

Income isn’t the only factor that comes into play. The amount of money regularly contributed to things such as savings and retirement can also come into play.

For example, let’s say after taxes a family brings home $80,000. They are very frugal and like to save money, so they put away $50,000. 

In that case, they’re essentially living on just $30,000 a year. 

This will be considered during the MSOL assessment. It will be noted that the lifestyle didn’t include a lot of eating at restaurants, going on lavish vacations, owning expensive cars, etc. In this case, the amount of support necessary may be lower, since the lifestyle didn’t require as much cash. 

MSOL Assessment: Both Spouses Matter

Sometimes it seems like the party giving support to the other is the “loser.” They’re going broke just trying to pay the support deemed necessary so the lower-paid party can enjoy the same lifestyle they used to have.

This isn’t how it’s meant to be. Assuming one didn’t get a major increase in income, there shouldn’t be a huge disparity between their lifestyles. If one is able to comfortably live similar to how they used to and the other is almost bankrupt, there’s an imbalance that needs to be remedied. 

A material standard of living assessment isn’t a black-and-white thing that can be figured out in a day or two. It takes a lot of digging to understand how the family lived, and what kind of support is necessary to help both parties still be able to live as close to that previous lifestyle as possible. For more personalized guidance, click here to contact Von Esch Law today.

Courtesy of Cuselleration

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act? There’s a lot we can say about it, but this article will keep things brief and high level. We’ll talk about three main things: what the act is, who enforces it, and what it means to you. 

What is the American Disabilities Act?

Often referred to as ADA, the American Disabilities Act was put in place to help protect the rights of people with disabilities. These protections fall under several areas:

  • Jobs
  • Transportation
  • Communications
  • Public Accommodations
  • Access to state and local government programs and services

The act is divided into five titles, and each of the five titles is enforced by a different agency.

Who Enforces the American Disabilities Act?

Title I refers to employment, and thus is protected by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. As you would expect, the purpose of this title is to prevent employers from discriminating against someone just because they have a disability. Part of this comes into play with having employers restructure jobs or make changes to a job site to accommodate the person’s needs. 

Title II refers to state and local governments. An example of the type of protection involved is transportation systems such as bus or rail. The system must be able to accommodate for the needs of people with disabilities. It is enforced and regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Title III is public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, bars, golf courses, movie theaters, etc. The idea is these places should have the facilities necessary to allow people with disabilities to access these sites. Like Title II, it is also regulated by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Title IV refers to telecommunications. Telecommunications companies must be able to offer specific services to accommodate people with disabilities. For example, those with hearing or speech disabilities should still be able to communicate via telephone.  Title IV is regulated by the Federal Communication Commission. 

Title V is for miscellaneous provisions for the ADA as a whole.  

What Does the American Disabilities Act Mean for You?

The short answer is – it depends. 

Do you manage a restaurant? That falls under Title III, so it would be good to make sure your facility is accommodating to people with disabilities. The most common ones that people think of are wheelchair ramps and having big enough bathroom stalls that a wheelchair can fit. 

Did you have someone with disabilities apply for a job? If so, Title I may be more of what you’re interested in. Be aware that if they are the best candidate and you hire them, you may need to make changes to your job site or restructure the job to accommodate their needs. 

At a high level, the American with Disabilities Act isn’t too difficult to comprehend. However, as you get into the details of what qualifies as a disability and what rights people have, it gets more convoluted. If you need a defense for the ADA or have questions call us at 714.456.9118 or send us an email at info@voneschlaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Courtesy of Cuselleration