Pam, the wife
Fred was offering much less alimony than his $230k salary would afford.
Pam, our client, was given an opportunity to go back to school, move to a new city and given a permanent alimony settlement to allow her a comfortable lifestyle in the new location.
Fred and Pam had a long-distance marriage for the last ten years of their union. She lived in a small town in North Carolina where she was raising their children, while he had relocated to South Florida for his job. When Fred first relocated, he was making about $90,000 annually. Based on this, he sent home about $3,000 a month for expenses.
Ten years later, when they decided to file for divorce, Fred was still sending home $3,000 a month-even though his income had climbed to almost $230,000 a year. In alimony cases, however, the court considers previous lifestyle. Therefore, Fred was only offering alimony of $2,400 a month. We turned it down.
In many ways, Pam was an ideal client. As they filed for divorce, she announced her intention to return to school and earn a degree in the healthcare field. As the divorce case proceeded, Pam remained in school, earning top grades and excelling in her studies.
She graduated just as the case was going to trial. In her small town in North Carolina, however, there were no career opportunities in her chosen field. Our challenge was to first prove to the court that Pam’s previous lifestyle had been forced on her by Fred’s allowance-it was not her chosen lifestyle. Second, we had to show that, to be successful in her new career, Pam would have to move to a metropolitan area, in this case Atlanta. Finally, we had to demonstrate that a comparable lifestyle in Atlanta would cost more than Pam’s old allowance. In other words, we were asking the court to base its alimony payment on a projected lifestyle in a new city.
Ultimately, the judge agreed with our reasoning and granted Pam permanent alimony in an amount sufficient to support her lifestyle in her new home.