Getting New Orleans and Metairie residents the alimony they deserve
Ending a marriage is even tougher than it seems on the surface. Depending on one person for a long time and suddenly having that safety net ripped away can be jarring for both men and women. This is why getting the spousal support you deserve during and after a divorce is important — so your safety remains during the pendency of the divorce.
Spousal support doesn’t come easy for everyone. There are a lot of gray areas when it comes to deciding if you will be awarded spousal support at all in Louisiana. A good New Orleans family law attorney can help you fight for the support you deserve during a tough separation.
How do you calculate spousal support in Louisiana?
First, what is spousal support? More commonly known as alimony, spousal support is money paid by one spouse to another during or after a divorce.
Calculating alimony in Louisiana depends on what kind of spousal support the court deems is appropriate for the recipient. But before going into what kinds of spousal support you can receive, New Orleans and Metairie residents should know what factors play into making those determinations.
The biggest factor in deciding alimony is fault. Fault can be determined as a number of factors and can be explained in more detail in the divorce page, but the three main “at-fault” factors are:
- Length of physical separation
- Felony Conviction
A Louisiana court will look to see if the spouse requesting alimony has either committed one of these violations or if they are indeed a victim. When this has been settled, then the judge will decide what kind of alimony will be rewarded.
How does adultery affect alimony in Louisiana?
This is a common question you’ll find in alimony cases because unfortunately, adultery is all too common in the United States. Surveys have shown one in every five American men have committed adulterous acts and one in every ten women have done the same.
Adultery, as defined by legal experts, is when a married person engages in sexual activity with someone who isn’t their legal spouse. If adultery occurred during your marriage and before a divorce has been filed, then adultery will play a big factor in how a judge doles out spousal support — specifically final alimony, which will be explained further in depth later. Adultery is considered a fault ground for both convenient marriages and standard marriages in Louisiana.
Interim Spousal Support in Louisiana
After a judge has determined who is or isn’t at fault for breaking up a marriage, then they will decide what kind of spousal support to give and how much is appropriate. However, when it comes to determining interim spousal support in Louisiana, the “fault ground” factors don’t play much of a part.
Interim spousal support or temporary alimony is any alimony paid during the divorce proceedings. In order to receive this temporary assistance, a Louisiana judge will look at the following factors:
- Which spouse has a lesser ability to pay
- The need of the claimant
- The capacity of the higher-earning spouse to pay
- The standard living of both spouses during the marriage
Like the name explains, interim spousal support is only temporary. The temporary alimony will cease payments once a final periodic spousal support has been determined or 180 days after the divorce is finalized — whichever comes first. When given good reason, a court can extend temporary alimony past its normal 180-day limit.
Final Periodic Spousal Support in Louisiana
In most cases of spousal support in Louisiana, a requesting spouse is looking to receive final periodic spousal support or permanent alimony. Final periodic spousal support in Louisiana can only be awarded to a spouse who has not contributed to the end of a marriage through a “fault ground”.
If this applies to you, a Louisiana judge will look at the following criteria when deciding the amount awarded:
- Financial obligations
- Earning Power
- Child custody
- Time allotted for job training and education
- Length of the marriage
- Tax consequences
- Any domestic violence
When all of these factors have been taken into consideration, the requesting spouse will receive a final alimony or one lump-sum payment depending on what the court decides. Unless the requesting spouse has been a victim of domestic violence, the court may not award more than one-third of the paying spouse’s income.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence, then there is a possibility of receiving more than one-third of your ex-partner’s income.
How long does spousal support in Louisiana last?
In the case of interim spousal support, the payments will last up until final alimony has been awarded or 180 days after the finalization of the divorce — whichever comes first. In the case of final periodic spousal support, a Louisiana judge will determine when payments become unnecessary. Three common factors for ending final periodic spousal support are:
- The innocent party remarries
- Either party dies
- A Louisiana judge determines the innocent party has cohabited with another person
These factors do not apply to the paying spouse with the exception of death. If the paying spouse remarries or goes into another habitual relationship, the alimony doesn’t stop.
If neither spouse is deemed to be “at fault” in the ending of a marriage, a Louisiana judge can still award final periodic spousal support to the lesser earning spouse based on the factors listed above.
Louisiana Spousal Support FAQs
Can I get reimbursed for financial contributions during a marriage in Louisiana?
Yes. In Louisiana, a spouse can seek to be reimbursed for “investing” in their spouse. This includes any education or training paid for to affect the earning power of the other spouse.
Does getting my name changed affect spousal support in Louisiana?
No. While you should request this at the hearing so your name can be legally changed, it will not affect anything in regards to spousal support.
Does reconciling with my spouse affect alimony in Louisiana?
Yes. This is a tricky subject with a lot of gray areas because many spouses will look to reconcile just so they can erase any fault and receive alimony. If this applies to you, contact a New Orleans family law attorney now.
Can you receive back pay from spousal support in Louisiana?
Yes. Spousal support is supposed to be granted when a spouse files a petition, not when the order is granted. So if there was a significant amount of time between filing your petition and the order being granted, a spouse is entitled to that alimony.
What if my spouse doesn’t pay their alimony on time in Louisiana?
First and foremost, contact a New Orleans family law attorney today if your spouse is behind on payments. A court can order an employer to garnish wages for spousal support and even hold the delinquent spouse in contempt of court.
How do I get the spousal support I deserve in New Orleans and Metairie?
You contact Metairie and New Orleans family law attorney Candice Bennatt. She will make sure you receive the spousal support you deserve and that it is paid on time. Call 504-777-3500 today for a free consultation.