Will I Get Spousal Support After My Louisiana Divorce?
Whether you’ve separated from your spouse or still considering separation and heading for divorce, financial issues are likely among your top concerns. Depending on your situation, you might receive spousal support to help you get back on your feet after your Louisiana divorce.
Spousal support is court-ordered payments to a spouse after separation or divorce. This is the same throughout all states, but each state handles matters of spousal support, also called alimony or palimony, differently. Below, we provide an overview of the types of spousal support and the factors and considerations that impact whether you get support, and how much you receive under Louisiana law.
Types of Spousal Support
Like most states, Louisiana law potentially entitles a spouse to two types of support: interim support and final periodic support.
Interim Spousal Support
This refers to support paid to you while you are waiting for the finalization of your divorce. Under Louisiana law, interim spousal support ends when the court makes a final judgment about spousal support or 180 days after your divorce is finalized, whichever comes first. Sometimes Louisiana courts extend interim spousal support, but you need to provide a compelling reason.
Final Periodic Spousal Support
This refers to the courts final judgment regarding spousal support. The paying spouse must pay support based on the agreed-upon terms in the support order. Final periodic spousal support ends if it becomes necessary, if your ex-spouse dies, or if you remarry another person. You can waive spousal support and either party may request a modification if circumstances have changed.
Some divorcing couples agree to a lump sum payment for a support obligation after divorce. This is a signed and enforceable contract that lays out the terms of support, specifically when and how much the paying spouse pays. In these situations, spousal support ends per the terms in the contract.
Factors Impacting Whether You Get Spousal Support
The court will weigh several factors to determine if you get spousal support from your ex. They include:
Louisiana is a fault divorce state which means, you can blame your partner as the cause of divorce and vice versa. In fact, under Louisiana law grounds for divorce include separation, adultery, and a felony conviction. When both you and your partner agree to separate, fault doesn’t factor into whether you receive spousal support.
Some examples that would make a spouse at-fault include adultery, addiction, and domestic violence. If you are at-fault in your divorce, you cannot collect spousal support. If your spouse is at fault, the court might award alimony to you as a form of punishment. To receive support, you must be free of fault regardless of your partner’s fault.
The court evaluates the financial situation of you and your partner including income and financial obligations. Additionally, the court looks at each party’s means of income and their earning capacity, as well as the impact of child custody on a party’s ability to earn money. Those who have custody of children are likely to receive spousal support, especially in situations where someone has to stay home to care with young children or special needs children.
Time Needed for You to Start Fresh
The philosophy behind awarding a partner spousal support is to give the recipient time to get the education or training they need and to seek employment to support themselves. The court will weigh the time you need to get settled with a new job, even if that means additional schooling. The broad goal of the court is to allow each partner to maintain the same lifestyle they were living during their marriage.
Age, Health, and Duration of Marriage
The court evaluates each partner’s age and health, as well as the length you were married. The longer you were married, the more likely you are to receive support if you are not at fault for the divorce.
The court typically does not order support that would cause negative tax consequences for either party. They will carefully review the tax implications before awarding spousal support.
Presence of Domestic Violence
The court will carefully examine any domestic violence charges, the impact of violence, and how long you or your spouse experienced abuse. If your spouse abused you, it’s likely you will receive spousal support.
Considerations for the Amount of Support You Receive
Louisiana law does not specifically provide guidelines for awarding a particular amount of spousal support. Interim spousal court is usually based on the lifestyle you were living during your marriage. In regard to final periodic spousal support, the court will look at the above factors, but they have discretion for setting an amount. Expect to prove the court with proof of income for current and past earnings. Ultimately, the court will look at the ability of your spouse to pay and your need.
Additionally, if your partner tries to lower his or her income to avoid paying spousal support or to pay a lower amount, the court will not reduce the amount of support for their attempt at fraud.
Contact Betsy A. Fischer, LLC Today to Learn More About Spousal Support
Worries about finances as you go through your divorce can be overwhelming. If you are the lower-earning partner, Louisiana law entitles you to spousal support in many situations as long as you are not at-fault for the divorce. A skilled attorney understands the nuances of Louisiana divorce law and can help you understand your rights regarding spousal support after divorce.
Betsy A. Fischer has been helping clients through the difficult events in their life, including divorce, for almost three decades. If you’re considering separation or divorce, or your spouse has filed, you need a competent and supportive divorce lawyer who can help ensure you get the spousal support you need to move on with your life. Contact Betsy A. Fischer, LLC online today, or call 504-780-8232 to discuss the circumstances of your divorce and the best strategies for your case.