Types of Spousal Support

There are three types of support in Louisiana: interim support, periodic support, and permanent support. La.Civil Code Art. 111. Interim support is spousal support that one spouse pays to the other during the divorce process. Periodic and permanent support is available to spouses after the divorce.

The divorce process in Louisiana can take as long as one year or more. If you’re used to your spouse working full-time and paying household expenses, you might not be ready to support yourself. In this case, you are entitled to interim spousal support if you need financial help and the higher-earning spouse can pay support. This is based strictly on need and ability to pay. Fault in the divorce is not considered.

Interim support awards are temporary and end when the judge finalizes the divorce. If post-divorce support isn’t appropriate, the law allows a judge to extend the interim award for 6 months after the divorce. 

Periodic post-divorce support is available in cases where the lower-earning spouse can be self-supporting, but needs time and financial assistance to achieve financial independence. The court presumes that each spouse will work after the divorce, but if one spouse stayed home during the marriage and lost valuable job skills or training, the judge will award periodic support during the transition. Unlike interim support, this is only available to a spouse who is not at fault in the dissolution of the marriage. 

Permanent spousal support is rare, but judges can award it to spouses who need financial help for an indefinite period after the divorce. For example, if a spouse is of advanced age or suffers from a disability that prevents that spouse from working, the court may order permanent spousal support. Again, this is only available for a spouse who is not at fault in the dissolution of the marriage.

Periodic and permanent spousal support ends when one of the spouses dies or the supported spouse remarries. A court can also terminate support if it finds the supported spouse is cohabiting with a third party in a “marriage-like” relationship.

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