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How to Make Changes to Existing Child and Spousal Support Orders in Louisiana

Your divorce may involve a number of complicated financial calculations that may ultimately have a substantial impact on your quality of life once you separate from your spouse. Most notably, one spouse may owe the other spousal support and/or child support. The calculations for those types of support usually get based on both parties’ incomes–and those calculations may change along with job changes or other life changes.

Do you need to change your existing child support or spousal support arrangement? Contact an attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and the process for filing those changes in Louisiana. 

Spousal Support

Spousal support is the amount that one spouse pays out to another following the divorce. Usually, this occurs when one spouse does not have a source of income, or has sacrificed his or her career in order to prioritize family. Temporary spousal support usually gets paid out immediately after separation but before the divorce. Usually, this amount gives the receiving spouse a chance to manage immediate expenses, including housing and food. 

Post-divorce spousal support may be paid either for a predefined length of time or indefinitely, depending on the circumstances of the divorce. It may depend on a variety of factors, including the both spouses’ standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s income, and the receiving spouse’s ability to be financially self-sufficient following the divorce. It may also be paid out based on factors like one party’s contributions to the other’s educational successes or the specific needs of a parent with primary custody of minor children.

How to Modify Your Spousal Support Arrangement in Louisiana

You have two options for modifying your spousal support arrangement: negotiating directly with your former spouse to arrive at an agreement that works for both of you, then presenting those modifications to the court; or taking the request to court directly, without trying to come to an agreement yourselves ahead of time.

In general, you can apply to modify spousal support if:

  • One spouse has a significant change in income
  • Assets or debts change dramatically for either party
  • One party suffers substantial financial hardship that would necessitate a change in the spousal support arrangement
  • Retirement

If you believe that you may have grounds for a change in spousal support, consider consulting an experienced divorce attorney to learn more about how those changed life events could impact the spousal support arrangement and whether you should file a petition to modify. In most cases, the courts will approve a change in spousal support if you can show substantial changes or challenges. An attorney can help you determine the significance of that change and whether it will be worth your while to modify the current arrangement. 

Child Support

Child support is an arrangement in which one spouse pays the other financial support in order to aid in the raising of minor children. Ideally, a child support arrangement is designed to provide the best possible situation for the child. The amount assigned may be based on the specific needs of the minor child as well as the income of both parents and which parent has primary custody.

Some child support arrangements require the noncustodial parent to pay for specific bills or needs: medical expenses or a percentage thereof, educational expenses, or expenses related to extracurricular activities, for example. Others, on the other hand, will simply require one parent to pay a percentage of his or her income to the other. 

In general, child support lasts until the child turns 18 (19 if the child is still in high school and living at home), the child gets married, or the child dies. However, that does not mean that you are trapped with exactly the child support arrangement you made at the time of your divorce until then. As your life circumstances change, you may have the right to modify your child support arrangements.

How to Modify Child Support Arrangements in Louisiana

Child support arrangements may need to change for a variety of reasons. You may need to make a change if:

  • Either you or the child’s other parent has experienced a significant change in income
  • Either you or the child’s other party has seen an immense change in assets or debts, creating a change in financial status
  • The child has faced an immense change in expenses, including complex medical bills or other increased expenses that couldn’t have been predicted at the time of the initial order
  • The custody arrangement between the parents has changed, altering the amount of time each parent spends with the child
  • Your tax filing status and/or deductions have changed significantly
  • You or your former spouse retired
  • Either parent has suffered immense hardships, including financial hardships, that necessitate a change in support

If you have a significant change in your income or financial status, or a change in your custody arrangement that changes the amount of child support you should have to pay, start by talking to an experienced divorce attorney. Some minor changes might not create a significant enough change in your arrangement to be worth it. Other, more complex changes may mean a substantial change in your child support arrangement. 

Often, the courts must adhere to a specific formula when it comes to child support. An attorney can help you present your case to the court, ensuring that the right factors get taken into account and that you can modify your child support arrangement according to your changing needs. Having an attorney on your side will also ensure that your financial needs, and those of your child, are carefully evaluated as part of the child support arrangement. If you and the child’s other parent agree on an appropriate arrangement ahead of time, the courts will often be more likely to approve that arrangement. 

Do you need to modify an existing spousal or child support arrangement? Betsy A. Fischer, LLC can help. Contact us today at 504-780-8232 to learn more about how your child support or spousal support arrangement may need to change based on changes in your financial status and how to accomplish those goals.

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