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Should you ask for spousal support in a divorce?

If you are facing a divorce, you may have concerns about how you will live independently with separate finances. This situation disproportionately affects spouses who have left the workforce to raise children and may need job training or education to become self-supporting. 

Consider these factors when deciding whether to negotiate spousal support, sometimes called alimony, in your divorce agreement. 

Paying the bills after separation 

Louisiana awards interim support when one spouse cannot make ends meet with separate finances during divorce proceedings. This temporary payment ceases when the court finalizes your divorce agreement. If you are unable to budget to pay the mortgage or rent an apartment, this type of support can help you get on your feet. 

Pursuing educational opportunities 

Could you boost your earning potential by going back to school or taking advantage of vocational training? You may be a candidate for periodic post-divorce support, the most common form of alimony in Louisiana. The court can award periodic support for a limited time so you can pursue the education you need to become financially independent. 

Living separately with a disability 

When one spouse cannot work because of advanced age or medical problems, such as chronic illness or injury, the court may award permanent spousal support. If you have a debilitating physical or mental health issue, you are a likely candidate for alimony in Louisiana. 

Surviving domestic abuse 

If your spouse was physically or emotionally abusive during the marriage, the judge will consider this history when determining spousal support. Louisiana guidelines limit alimony awards to no more than 30% of the higher-earning spouse’s income. However, the court can exceed this threshold in cases involving domestic violence. 

Regardless of financial circumstances, the judge can limit spousal support in some circumstances. For example, a person who committed a felony or adultery during the marriage is not eligible for alimony under Louisiana law. In addition, either party can request a change in alimony if his or her financial situation significantly changes. 

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