Divorce Lawyer Explanation of Final Spousal Support Awards in Louisiana and Code article 112(B)(5)
Final spousal support is typically subject to much more scrutiny than interim. This being said, it is often a topic of discussion for a divorce lawyer and so this article attempts to explain it in a general sense.
When a married couple ends their marriage in Louisiana, there can be a veritable host of issues for a divorce lawyer to resolve. Community and separate property needs to be parsed out, child custody and the visitation rights over those children need to be addressed, and spousal support concerns may have to be broached.
“Spousal support” is the phrase used here in Louisiana to describe what is more commonly known in other states as “alimony.” The gist of this legal concept is that there may be situations where one spouse just cannot maintain a base standard of living without the help of the other spouse. An easy and stereotypical example is one where the husband is a rich businessman and the wife is a homemaker. The wife has probably spent her whole life financially dependent on her spouse, and it would be simply unjust to “pull the rug” out from under her just because her husband and his divorce lawyer request this.
Louisiana courts do not consider awarding spousal support in a vacuum. There are a number of resources for them to consult in making this determination. One common source of authority is Louisiana Civil Code article 112. This article has eight separate factors for the court to look at in evaluating a final spousal support situation. Today’s article deals specifically with one of those factors, factor (5). Factor (5) is “the time necessary for the claimant to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment” before awarding final spousal support.
Notice that factor five uses the word “claimant.” This is because when one of the parties to a marriage needs or desires spousal support, they cannot just wait for a court to award it, they (or their divorce lawyer) actually need to ask for it. That said, factor (5) asks a court to look at the immediate to long term employment future of the spouse seeking support. This could be highly relevant in a number of scenarios. Let’s say for example that the homemaker in our above example is actually attending law school. In fact, she is getting ready to study for the bar exam (the bar exam is the test which you must take to become a lawyer after graduating from law school.)
Now, given the history of the spouses during the marriage, it seems pretty clear that the husband may not be relieved of supporting his soon to be ex-wife. However, given that the wife’s education and training allows for a presumption that her earning capacity and job situation is about to change drastically, a court and each party’s divorce lawyer may consider this relevant under article 112 and specifically section (5).
In another, opposite example, let’s say that the spouses are much older. In this instance, because it is much more unlikely for the non-working spouse to have the time, energy, inclination, or ability to launch a brand new career or life path, a court very well might consider factor (5) less important.
This article is written to be general information only; it should not be taken as formal legal advice. Will Beaumont. New Orleans.
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While this article focuses on just one of the factors in spousal support, it may be worthwhile to contact a divorce lawyer, New Orleans has numerous firms that may be able to provide more information.