Major Changes to Divorce Law in 2018

Significant Changes to Divorce Law in 2018

The Louisiana Legislature has made major changes in laws regarding immediate divorce and interim and final spousal support.  The changes below came into effect August 1, 2018, and are of utmost importance to those considering divorce or in the divorce process. 

IMMEDIATE DIVORCE FOR PROTECTIVE ORDERS 
Louisiana Civil Code Art. 103

A civil or criminal protective order or injunction 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, is now grounds for an “immediate divorce”. 

This new law provides immediate relief to victims, granting them a divorce from their abusive spouse without the required separation period in no-fault divorces. 

INTERIM SPOUSAL SUPPORT 
Louisiana Civil Code Art. 113

All awards of interim spousal support shall terminate one hundred eighty days from the Judgment of Divorce. 

Interim spousal support is 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.

Interim spousal support is awarded to ensure that the spouse seeking support is able to maintain the same lifestyle during the pendency of divorce, as the spouses maintained prior to filing for divorce.  The party receiving interim spousal support can now depend on this additional support for 180 days after the Judgment of Divorce is signed. 

FINAL SPOUSAL SUPPORT 
Louisiana Civil Code Art. 112

When a spouse is awarded a judgment of divorce based on:

1. The other spouse has committed adultery;

2. The other spouse has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death 
or imprisonment at hard labor; OR

3. A protective order has been issued between the parties during the marriage.

That spouse is presumed to be entitled to final spousal support.

Further, 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 sum awarded may exceed one-third of the obligor’s net income and may be awarded as a lump sum.

ATTORNEY FEE’S AND COSTS IN ABUSE CASES
Louisiana Revised Statutes 9:314

The court may assess against the perpetrator of domestic abuse all court costs, attorney fees, costs of enforcement and modification proceedings, costs of appeal, evaluation fees, and expert witness fees in an action for divorce granted pursuant to a protective order, or in an action in which the court determines that a party to a divorce or a child of one of the spouses was the victim of domestic abuse committed by the perpetrator during the marriage, and in incidental actions.

If you believe you are entitled to spousal support, or need assistance in a divorce or domestic abuse matter, contact our office today for a free consultation. 

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