Many people have heard of “alimony” from the movies and television. Generally, it is the idea that sometimes one spouse from a marriage will have to pay some of the living expenses of the other spouse. The reasoning is that one spouse has become dependent on the other spouse over time, and this dependency is one which a court should consider ameliorating. In Louisiana, a divorce lawyer generally does not use the term alimony; here this idea is known as “spousal support. ”
There are two main types of spousal support: interim and final. Final spousal support is typically the money owed by one spouse to the other spouse moving forward, after the marriage has legally ended. Interim spousal support is the money owed by one spouse to the other spouse during the marriage (and sometimes for a few months afterward). This article will deal specifically with interim spousal support.
Interim spousal support is ordained at least in part by the Louisiana Civil Code, and specifically article 113. Article 113 explains the circumstances in which this type of award may be granted, and provides a divorce lawyer with a few general ideas about how this legal mechanism works.
For one thing, the spousal support award is not one which is given automatically by the court, but rather one which requires the spouse (or their divorce lawyer) in need to request it. The basis of its total value, and whether or not it is granted, generally revolves around three analyses by the court: the needs of the spouse who is asking for the support, the ability of the other spouse to pay for those needs, and the lifestyle which the married couple had previously.
Some people are surprised to learn that the “lifestyle” of the married couple has any bearing on the determination of a spousal support award. Keep in mind however, that “lifestyle” does not always mean that one spouse is accustomed to purchasing fur coats or taking limo rides. In many cases, a married couple has developed a reliance on services or is accustomed to paying for certain expenses that are far more commonplace and pedestrian. Remember also that the gist of spousal support is that one spouse is arguably in a much more superior position than the other spouse financially.
For example, let’s take the clichéd story of a very rich husband and his homemaker wife. Let’s say that at the behest of the husband, the wife decides that she is going to get braces for her teeth. She has to have the braces on for four years. Because the wife does not work, the husband pays for the braces. Two years into the treatment, the husband hires a divorce lawyer to end the marriage, and at that time the wife petitions the court for interim spousal support. If the wife in this case is required to make regular payments for her braces (which can be quite expensive), this very well might be an example of a lifestyle “luxury” which would increase the money her husband would have to pay her in spousal support.
Will Beaumont has offices in Metairie and New Orleans, LA. The above article is meant as a general explanation of the law, and not as legal advice.
Interim spousal support is routine requested, as the standard for getting it is less strict than final. For help with this, see Metairie divorce lawyer Will Beaumont at: Beaumont Divorce of Metairie, 3814 Veterans Memorial Blvd #302, Metairie, LA, 70002 (504) 834-1117 .