New Orleans Spousal Support Lawyers
Handling alimony concerns in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana
Spousal support is a court order that requires that one spouse, usually the spouse whose finances are strongest, pay the other spouse money on a regular basis. Some spouses are entitled to additional financial help either during the divorce or after the marriage ends – to help a spouse whose ability to earn an income is limited or significantly less than the ability of the other spouse.
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans spousal support lawyers understand the different types of support awards, when each spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support or ordered to pay spousal support, and the factors that determine the amount and length of spousal support. Many times, we are able to negotiate a spousal support agreement that is then entered into the court records as a court order. When you and your spouse cannot negotiate a spousal support settlement, our New Orleans family lawyers argue your rights before the family law Judge assigned to your case.
What is interim spousal support in New Orleans?
Interim spousal support is a way to help ensure the divorce negotiations are fair. During the divorce, the spouse whose finances are stronger should not be able to pressure the less financially secure spouse into a settlement – just because his/ her finances are different. During the divorce, the spouse who lives in the home and takes care of the children the majority of the time – still needs to be sure the mortgage is paid, there is food on the table, and there is enough gas in the car to get to work.
Interim spousal support is authorized by Louisiana Law. Either spouse can file a motion for interim spousal support with the court. The court will consider the following factors:
- The needs of the spouse asking for support
- The ability of the other spouse to pay
- Whether there is also an interim or final child support obligation
- The standard of living of the spouses during the marriage
The entry of an interim or final support award requires that the person seeking support be “free from fault.” Generally, fault means adultery, incarceration for a felony, domestic violence, or a protective abuse order.
The award will last during the divorce and will end 180 days after the divorce judgment is rendered – unless there is good cause for extending the interim support award. The order for final support will only begin when the interim support award terminates.
How is the amount of interim spousal support calculated?
If the spouses cannot reach an agreement on their own, then the court will determine the amount of interim spousal support. Normally, agreements are based on what the court will likely enter – if no agreement can be reached.
The amount of interim spousal support is based on each spouse filling out an income and expense sheet. An Orleans Parish Income and Expense Sheet can be found here. Our New Orleans spousal support lawyers help you fill out the sheet. We begin by explaining that the expense side of the sheet should be based on your standard of living during the marriage. If you cannot meet your expenses, and your spouse is able to pay the expenses you cannot meet, then an interim spousal award should be entered in your favor.
What is final periodic spousal support in New Orleans?
The amount of final periodic spousal support provides that the spouse who needs financial help can file a motion for support, provided he or she is not at fault – as discussed in the interim spousal support section.
A final periodic support order considers the following factors:
- 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 upon 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.
Louisiana law also provides that a spouse is presumed to be entitled to final periodic support if the divorce judgment is based on any of the following:
- The other spouse has committed adultery.
- The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor.
- During the marriage, the other spouse physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking divorce or a child of one of the spouses, regardless of whether the other spouse was prosecuted for the act of abuse.
- After a contradictory hearing or consent decree, a protective order or an injunction was issued during the marriage against the other spouse to protect the spouse seeking the divorce or a child of one of the spouses from abuse.
The presumption of the right to support also applies if the court determines that a party or any child of either spouse was the victim of domestic abuse committed by the other party during the marriage.
The amount of final periodic support should not be more than 1/3 of the paying spouses’ net income – unless certain conditions are met (generally, that there has been a finding of abuse of either a child or spouse).
How is the amount of final periodic spousal support calculated?
Generally, the same factors that are used to determine the amount of interim spousal award (a review of the income and expenses of the spouses along with a review of any child support obligations) are used to determine the amount of final periodic support. Periodic payments are usually weekly, bimonthly, or monthly.
A final periodic spousal support order can be modified if there is a material change in circumstances of either spouse. Material changes include changes in the ability of the obligor spouse to pay or the income or needs of the spouse receiving the support. Changes can include financial changes, health considerations, and other factors.
A final periodic spousal support order can be terminated when it is no longer necessary.
- A remarriage by the obligor spouse is not grounds for ending or changing the amount of support.
- The spouse receiving support will lose her/his right to final periodic support if the receiving spouse dies, remarries, or lives with another person “in the manner of married persons.”
- Spousal support also ends if the paying spouse dies.
Final periodic support does not end without a court order unless a certain time frame has been laid out in the final support judgment.
Do you have a spousal support lawyer near me?
The Law Office of James A. Graham is located in New Orleans and serves all of South Louisiana.
If you cannot come to our office, we schedule phone or video conferences when needed.
Our family lawyers understand how all your financial issues – spousal support, child support, and the division of your marital property affect each other. We fight to obtain the maximum financial recovery so you can move comfortably into the next phase of your life.
Contact our experienced New Orleans spousal support lawyers today
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our lawyers understand all the arguments for and against the payment of spousal support. We are skilled at examining each spouse’s income and expenses including unreported income and unusual needs such as healthcare costs. We are respected for being strong advocates and skilled family law negotiators. You can trust that we will get the fair results you deserve when spousal support is being claimed. Please call or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in New Orleans.