A couple’s finances during their marriage can be complicated, and this does not necessarily change if they divorce. There may be times when one spouse earns significantly more or less than the other. If this is the case, the court may order the higher-earning spouse to pay periodic support to the lesser-earning spouse.
Under Louisiana state statutes, the court will consider a variety of factors when determining how much to award in spousal support and how long support should last. Some of these factors include:
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
- How long it would take the receiving spouse to obtain sufficient employment
- Each spouse’s financial obligations, including custody and support of a child
- Each spouse’s health and age
- How long the marriage lasted
- Any tax consequences incurred by either spouse, and
- Whether domestic abuse was an issue
- The court will consider these and other factors when issuing a spousal support award. Different parishes may handle spouse support cases differently.
Ultimately, support will be based on the needs of the receiving spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay. The court cannot award spousal support that exceeds one-third of the paying spouse’s net income unless domestic abuse was an issue. Also, if the receiving spouse was at-fault for the divorce, they could be denied spousal support altogether.
Spousal support can be a contentious issue, but it is one that courts will try to approach as fairly as possible. Spousal support in Louisiana is not meant to punish either spouse, but rather to put both spouses at a relatively even and fair financial level that they can move forward from post-divorce.