The following article will cover:
- The recognition of spousal support in Louisiana, explaining who is generally required to pay based on income and expenses.
- Factors considered in determining the amount and duration of spousal support, including income, financial obligations, earning capacity, and the effects of domestic abuse.
- How spousal support obligations can be modified or terminated if there are material changes in circumstances or if it is no longer necessary.
Is Spousal Support Recognized in Louisiana? If So, Who Is Generally Required To Pay?
The determination of who pays spousal support, as well as the amount of support, depends on the calculation of the different incomes and expenses. Typically, the person with the greater income pays spousal support to the person with the lesser income. However, if the person with the greater income also has higher expenses, this could reverse the typical roles of payer and recipient.
Spousal support is recognized in Louisiana. In a divorce proceeding or thereafter, the court may award interim or final periodic support to a party who is in need of support and who is free from fault prior to the filing of a proceeding to terminate the marriage, based on the following:
Interim Spousal Support
A court may award interim spousal support based on the needs of the party, the ability of the other party to pay, any interim or final child support obligation, and the standard of living of the parties during the marriage. An award of interim spousal support terminates one hundred and eighty days from the rendering of a divorce judgment, although it can be extended beyond one hundred and eighty days for a valid reason.
An award of interim spousal support or final periodic support may be modified if either party’s circumstances materially change and shall be terminated if it is no longer necessary. The subsequent remarriage of the payer spouse does not constitute a change of circumstance.
The obligation to pay final periodic support does not begin until an interim spousal support award has ended.
Final Periodic Support
A spouse who has not been at fault prior to the filing of a petition for divorce and who needs support, may be awarded final periodic support. The award is based on the needs of that party and the ability of the other party to pay.
In determining the amount and duration of final support, the court considers all relevant factors, including:
- The income and means of the parties, including the liquidity of such means.
- The financial obligations of the parties, including any interim allowance or final child support obligation.
- The earning capacity of the parties.
- The effect of custody of children on a party’s earning capacity.
- The time necessary for the claimant to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment.
- The health and age of the parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The tax consequences to either or both parties.
- The existence, effect, and duration of any act of domestic abuse committed by the other spouse upon the claimant or a child of one of the spouses, regardless of whether the other spouse was prosecuted for the act of domestic violence.
A spouse is presumed to be entitled to final periodic support when awarded a judgment of divorce pursuant to Article 103(2), (3), (4), or (5), or when the court determines that a party or a child of one of the spouses was the victim of domestic abuse committed by the other party during the marriage.
The amount of support awarded under this Article shall not exceed one-third of the obligor’s net income. However, if the divorce was based on abuse, or a protective order was issued, or if the court determines that a party or a child of one of the spouses was the victim of domestic abuse committed by the other party during the marriage, the sum awarded may exceed one-third of the obligor’s net income and may be awarded as a lump sum.
An award of either interim spousal support or final periodic support ends upon the remarriage of the recipient, the death of either party, or a judicial determination that the recipient has cohabited with another person in a manner resembling marriage.
The obligation of final spousal support can be modified, waived, or extinguished by a court of competent jurisdiction, or by a formal or acknowledged private agreement by the recipient.
The right to claim spousal support after a divorce is subject to a three-year time limit, which begins to run from the latest of the following events:
- The day the divorce judgment is signed.
- The day a judgment terminating a previous judgment of spousal support is signed, if the previous judgment was signed in an action initiated either before the signing of the divorce judgment or within three years thereafter.
- The day of the last payment made, when the spousal support obligation is initially performed by voluntary payment within the periods described above and no more than three years has elapsed between payments.
How Is The Amount Of Spousal Support Determined In Louisiana?
The amount of support may be modified if the circumstances of the payer or the recipient materially change, and it will be terminated if it is no longer necessary.
For more information on Spousal Support Awards In Louisiana, a free initial consultation with The Law Offices of Williams & Williams PLC. is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (318) 731-9182 today.