One of the issues you will need to negotiate in your divorce is spousal support (also known as alimony). This form of support is made from one spouse to the other after the divorce, for a specific amount of time (or indefinitely).

Here are a few frequently asked questions about spousal support under Louisiana law.

What is spousal support?

Spousal support is a type of support made from one spouse to another designed to allow the recipient spouse to maintain a reasonably similar standard of living to what they enjoyed during the marriage.

There are three types of spousal support available in Louisiana:

  • Interim support: Support paid from one spouse to the other during the divorce process.

  • Periodic support: Support paid from one spouse to the other after the divorce that is intended to last for a specified amount of time, or until certain conditions are met. This is the most common type of support in Louisiana and is used most frequently when a lower-earning spouse is capable of supporting themselves eventually but needs time and financial assistance to get there.

  • Permanent support: This form of support is rare, but may be awarded to spouses who need help financially for an indefinite time. This is most likely to be an option for a spouse of advanced age or a spouse who suffers from a disability that prevents them from working.

Is spousal support the same thing as alimony?

Yes—alimony and spousal support are two words for the same legal concept.

How do courts determine spousal support/who is eligible for spousal support?

There are a variety of factors courts will weigh to determine if you will receive spousal support, and in what amount. These include:

  • Fault: Because Louisiana is a fault divorce state, you can include grounds for divorce in your divorce petition. If you are at fault with issues such as addiction, adultery, or domestic violence, a court may determine you will not receive spousal support.

  • Finances: Courts will carefully evaluate the financial circumstances of each spouse coming out of the divorce. They will look at earning capacity, means of income, and the impact of child custody on a party’s ability to earn money.

  • Age-related factors: Age, health and the duration of the marriage are all important factors in determining eligibility for and amount of spousal support. The longer you were married, the more likely you are to receive support, and in larger amounts. If you are in poor health, especially at an advanced age, you are also more likely to receive support.

  • Domestic violence: If there was a presence of domestic violence in the relationship, the victim is more likely to receive spousal support.

  • Time: The amount of time a person needs to start fresh with new employment or training will also dictate whether they receive spousal support and in what amount.

For more information about spousal support awards in Louisiana and what you need to know for your case, contact our legal team today.