Alimony & Spousal Support Attorney in Shreveport, Louisiana

Spousal support in a divorce can be complicated, contentious, and stressful. While divorce is the end of a marriage, it’s also the beginning of a new chapter of your life. How that chapter reads can be affected by alimony determination, and what is awarded will often depend on your attorney’s expertise.

If you are considering filing for divorce, have started the process, or have been served divorce papers, let the Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap help you navigate spousal support. I proudly serve clients in Shreveport, Minden, Bossier City, Mansfield, and communities in Bossier, Webster, and DeSota Parishes in Louisiana.

What is Alimony and Spousal Support?

Alimony and spousal support are terms used interchangeably and refer to: court-ordered payment one spouse pays the other during the divorce process or for a period after the divorce is final. Alimony provides financial support for the lower-earning spouse during the time needed to begin generating income lost in the divorce. And while it’s commonly thought that the wife is the recipient of spousal support, that’s not always the case. According to MarketWatch, 45% of matrimonial attorneys in a 2018 survey noted an increase in women paying alimony.

Louisiana law defines three types of spousal support:

  1. Interim support is awarded during the divorce process and terminates when the divorce becomes final or for up to six months afterward. 
  2. Periodic support can be awarded to the lower-earning spouse to allow him/her time to become financially independent. This support is often awarded to a spouse who, for example, stayed home to raise children. The lower-earning spouse will need to return to the workplace, but he/she needs time to make up for lost employment and training.
  3. Permanent support is rare but provides support for an extended period after the divorce if the receiving spouse is disabled, elderly, or otherwise unable to work.

Periodic and permanent support ends when the supporting spouse dies, when the supported spouse remarries or, often, when the supported spouse cohabitates with someone even if they are not married.

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How Much Support is Paid and For How Long?

The amount of spousal support depends on the circumstances of the receiving spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay, but it cannot exceed one-third of the payer’s net income unless the payer committed domestic abuse during the marriage. The court considers nine factors in deciding how much support will be paid and for how long:

  1. The income and means of the parties, including the liquidity of such means;
  2. The financial obligations of the parties, including any interim allowance or final child support obligation;
  3. The earning capacity of the parties;
  4. The effect of custody of children on a party’s earning capacity;
  5. The time necessary for the claimant to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment;
  6. The health and ages of the parties;
  7. The duration of the marriage;
  8. The tax consequences to either or both parties; and,
  9. The existence, affect, and duration of any act of domestic abuse committed by the other spouse upon a claimant or a child of one of the spouses, regardless of whether the other spouse was prosecuted for the act of domestic violence.

Spousal support will not be awarded to an at-fault spouse. Fault includes adultery, felony conviction, or physical or sexual abuse of the other spouse or a child of one of the spouses.

Spousal support can be modified if the financial circumstances of either party change or ended if it is no longer needed.

How is Spousal Support Paid?

Alimony is most often paid by income withholding from the paying party’s paycheck. The automatic bi-weekly, monthly, or semi-annual withholding is paid to the court then forwarded to the recipient. If the paying spouse has assets but not a regular paycheck, or if the receiving party is to be reimbursed for financial contributions to the paying spouse’s education or career, the court could order a lump sum payment.

How Hiring Legal Counsel Can Help

Spousal support can be complicated because values placed upon financial contributions during a marriage can be somewhat arbitrary. An experienced attorney can help, whether you are the paying spouse or the recipient. Furthermore, laws addressing spousal support vary by state so it’s important to hire an attorney that understands the nuances of your local laws.

Spousal Support Lawyer in Shreveport, Louisiana

If you’re thinking about divorce or in the process of obtaining one, I can help. The Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap has successfully guided men and women in Shreveport, Minden, Bossier City, Mansfield, and surrounding communities through the divorce process, tackling spousal support awards, and modifications. Don’t wait. Your initial consultation is free, so call today.