Alimony, also called spousal support, may become an important part of your divorce. The primary purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses can keep the same living standard they enjoyed during the marriage, even after the divorce. Spousal support refers to court-ordered payments that one spouse must make to another spouse during or after their separation or divorce. In Louisiana, family court judges can award spousal support to one spouse who needs financial support during or after the divorce.
The spouse who receives alimony must not have committed any marital misconduct before the divorce is finalized. We have recently seen a shift in how courts handle spousal support requests. With more dual-working spouses, many courts are becoming more resistant to awarding spousal support. If you would like to receive spousal support, you will need to work with an experienced lawyer who can present evidence that you need spousal support going forward.
Consult With a New Orleans Alimony Lawyer
Are you considering getting divorced and wondering about whether you will receive alimony or need to pay alimony? If so, we recommend consulting with one of our experienced divorce lawyers. At Arnona Rose, Attorneys at Law, we are committed to helping our clients understand Louisiana divorce laws and how the spousal support process works. We will apply them effectively to your situation.
Interim Spousal Support in Louisiana
There are several types of spousal support in Louisiana. Louisiana judges have discretion when awarding spousal support, including temporary or interim spousal support. Interim spousal support is a temporary order that can be replaced later by a final spousal support order when the divorce is finalized. Awarding an interim spousal support order allows the spouse receiving the financial support to enjoy a sense of normalcy during the divorce process.
When one spouse has been out of the workforce for a significant time frame, interim spousal support provides him or her with the necessary funds to get back on their feet after the divorce. Judges consider the capability of both parties to find gainful employment after the divorce. They also consider each spouse’s availability of funds. In Louisiana, interim spousal support stops when the court finalizes your divorce or 180 days after your divorce is finalized, whichever occurs first. The court can extend interim support after this time frame, but they will need to provide a compelling reason.
Contractual Spousal Support in Louisiana
Contractual spousal support refers to a support amount that both spouses agreed upon before they were married. When a married couple drafts and signs a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that includes a clause related to alimony. The couple may agree that should they divorce, neither spouse will receive alimony payments. The couple may agree that should they divorce, one spouse will receive a specified amount of support payments each month. Louisiana courts typically uphold alimony agreements made in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements unless they find that they are unconscionable or violate another aspect of state contract law.
Final Spousal Support in Louisiana
Final spousal support is a type of support order that does not have an end date. Even though final spousal support orders can be canceled or changed, they are not intended to be temporary. When courts award spinal spousal support orders, the spouse receiving the spousal support is usually not found to be at fault for the dissolution of the marriage.
Factors Judges Consider When Deciding to Award Spousal Support
Our clients often ask us to predict whether they will have to pay alimony or they will be entitled to alimony. The alimony award depends on the specific facts in each case and the judge’s analysis of relevant factors. In Louisiana, judges hearing divorce cases do not use a formula to determine whether to award alimony. Instead, Louisiana judges consider many different factors when determining whether to award alimony or deciding how much alimony to award a spouse and how long the spouse should receive alimony. Some of these factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- Whether the spouses’ incomes are currently unequal
- The disparity between both spouses’ incomes at the time of the finalization of the divorce
- The amount of wealth and means that the spouse already own and how easily it will be to sell or buy those assets
- Whether one or both spouses have military benefits or other types of public financial benefits
- How long it will take for the spouse to request spousal support to get the training or education he or she needs to find gainful employment. They will also consider how long a job search will take for the person requesting spousal support
- Whether one or both spouses have any qualifying disabilities
- The general health and age of both spouses
- Whether abuse or domestic violence occurred during the marriage
- Whether adultery occurring during the marriage
- The tax consequences of awarding spousal support
Freedom From “Fault”
In Louisiana, judges will consider whether the spouse requesting spousal support is free from fault. Judges will not award a spouse alimony if he or she caused the divorce. If you seek spousal support, your spouse may claim that you are not entitled to support because your actions caused the divorce. “Fault” means any misconduct that rises to the level of previously recognized, fault-based grounds for divorce, such as:
- Conviction of a felony
- Public defamation
- Intentional non-support
- Cruel treatment or excesses that make living together insupportable
- Habitual intemperance (drunkenness)
Contact an Experienced New Orleans Spousal Support Lawyer Today
At Arnona Rose, Attorneys at Law, we offer potential clients consultations to discuss their divorce cases with us and ask us questions. Whether you are seeking spousal support, or you are concerned you will be expected to pay spousal support, our law firm will assess your case. We will present evidence and legal arguments on your behalf to ensure you are being treated fairly by the court. Our law firm also represents clients seeking to modify or enforce their alimony orders. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.