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3 factors that influence spousal support awards in Louisiana

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Family Law |

During marriage, spouses generally combine their resources to enjoy a higher standard of living together than they could have on their own. They share their income and their assets. In some cases, one spouse makes financial sacrifices for the benefit of the other or the entire family. For example, one spouse might leave their job after the couple has children so that they don’t have to pay for daycare. Other times, one spouse might work a part-time job or may deprioritize their career so that their spouse can focus on theirs.

Those sacrifices can benefit the whole family but may also lead to challenges if the spouses divorce later. Someone who has made financial sacrifices for the family might request spousal support. What factors may influence a judge’s ruling on a litigated spousal support request in Louisiana?

The economic circumstances of each spouse

Two of the most important considerations when a judge evaluates a request for spousal support involve the economic circumstances of the individual spouses. A judge must carefully consider whether someone truly needs the financial support to maintain their own household. They must also consider whether the other spouse has the capability of paying support. Judges may consider the earning potential of each spouse if they sought out gainful employment and any separate property belonging to just one spouse.

The length of the marriage

The longer that couples have remained married, the greater the impact economic sacrifices could have on a dependent spouse. Someone who has been out of the employment arena for more than a decade has substantially reduced opportunities when compared with someone who has only gone a year without outside employment. Longer-term marriage can also mean more years of unpaid support in the home. Longer marriages are more likely to result in spousal support orders and may also see the orders last for longer and involve higher amounts of financial support.

The fault of the spouses

The actions of either individual during a marriage can lead to the other filing for divorce. A family law judge can consider the marital misconduct of both spouses when deciding whether spousal support is appropriate. Acts of domestic violence can potentially influence a judge’s determination on spousal support. If someone abused their spouse, they may not be eligible for support. On the other hand, acts of abuse toward a dependent spouse can influence a judge’s opinion on a support request.

Other factors, including child custody arrangements, can also influence spousal support orders in Louisiana. Learning more about the factors that guide key divorce decisions may benefit those preparing for the end of a marriage in Louisiana.