When a marriage ends, one spouse is often left with less income than he or she needs to maintain the lifestyle he or she was accustomed to while married. In this situation, spousal support can be sought. It is intended to ensure that, at least for a period of time, both spouses can live in a financial situation similar to what existed during the marriage. Sometimes spousal support is available on a more long-term basis in order to provide a basic expense level of assistance.
Mr. Cosenza can help you determine whether you or your spouse is entitled to temporary or permanent support. Such situations are rarely cut and dried. Mr. Cosenza has experience negotiating support arrangements that take into consideration the many factors involved. He also has experience litigating support issues.
There are two types of spousal support that a Louisiana court can award to a party that needs it: Interim Periodic Support and Final Periodic Support. Most people are familiar with the term “alimony”. Louisiana has eliminated the use of the term “alimony” in favor of “support”.
Unlike child support, where the amount is determined by a formula, the amount of periodic spousal support that a party may receive, both Interim and Final, is dependent upon many factors. Courts have wide discretion in setting the amounts.Interim Spousal Support
The amount that a party receives as Interim Spousal Support is intended to provide the recipient with sufficient funds to maintain the standard of living to which they became accustomed during the marriage. Divorce, in most cases, has a dramatic and negative effect on the economics of the family. Interim Spousal Support rarely achieves its goal although it can lessen the financial shock of separation.
Interim Support terminates when the court renders a judgment of divorce. If a claim for Final Periodic Spousal Support is pending at the time the divorce is granted, the Interim Support award terminates upon rendition of a judgment awarding or denying Final Spousal support or 180 days from the divorce judgment, whichever occurs first.Final Spousal Support
In order to get Final Periodic Support, a spouse has to prove: (1) that he or she is free from fault prior to the filing of a proceeding to terminate the marriage; and (2) that he or she is in need of support.
This type of spousal support may last for a significant amount of time, although it is subject to reduction or termination in the event of a change in the circumstances of either spouse. This kind of support usually involves payments that are less than the amount paid for interim spousal support. Its goal is to meet only the basic needs of a former spouse.
Final periodic spousal support is limited, by law, to no more than one-third of the payor spouse’s net income. Even if a former spouse can prove that he or she was without fault, an award of support is not automatic. Even if an award is made, it may not be permanent. Courts may limit the duration of an award.
Before making any award, the court must consider certain factors such as:
- Living expenses of the parties
- Income and assets of the parties
- Debts the parties owe
- The parties’ ability to earn a given wage
- Whether their ability to work is affected by custody of children
- How long it will take to educate or train a party to enable them to go back to work
- The parties health and ages
Whether you are the spouse seeking support or the spouse that is expected to pay it, the Cosenza Law Firm can assist you in making your best case to the court. Call our Gonzales office 225-647-6644 or our Baton Rouge office 225-381-8181 or send an email to arrange a consultation.