Written by attorney Richard Thomas Gallagher Jr.

Understanding Spousal Support in Louisiana

Louisiana divorce law recognizes two types of spousal support, or alimony: interim and final.

What is interim spousal support?

Interim spousal support is money provided to one of the spouses during the divorce proceedings. The purpose of interim spousal support is to allow a spouse to seek a divorce without fear that their standard of living is going to decrease dramatically.

With this purpose in mind, the court's attempt to maintain the standard of living the spouse enjoyed during the marriage during the divorce proceedings. This means that the courts will look at what the family spent during the marriage in trying to calculate the amount of interim spousal support.

However, this need for support is balanced against the other spouse's ability to pay. Interim spousal support typically lasts only while the divorce is proceeding, but may last six months beyond the date of the divorce.

For example, if you have kids, you must wait 12 months to get a divorce. So, if you and your spouse separate on January 1, 2008, and you filed divorce on January 2, 2008, the soonest you could get divorced would be January 3, 2009. If you asked for interim spousal support, you would receive - and your spouse made significantly more income than you did, you would receive spousal support during the divorce proceedings (in other words, from January 2, 2008 through January 3, 2009).

What is final spousal support?

Final spousal support is used to support one of the spouses after the divorce is completed. However, it is much harder to get this under current Louisiana law than it used to be. First, it is based on the needs of the spouse. This means it only covers basis necessities like food, clothing and shelter. Second, it is usually temporary.

Final spousal support will only be used to give the spouse time to get back on his or her feet and possibly further his or her education.

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