What factors do the courts use to calculate spousal support?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2024 | divorce

When couples part ways in Louisiana, the court might award spousal support, also known as alimony, to one of the spouses. This financial assistance is particularly important when that spouse has been economically dependent on the other one throughout the marriage.

To determine the amount and duration of spousal support, there are six factors that the courts can use.

1. Income disparity

One primary factor courts consider is the income difference between spouses. If one spouse earns a lot more than the other, the court may order spousal support to balance the financial scales.

2. Duration of marriage

The length of the marriage also plays an important role. Longer marriages often result in higher amounts of support, as the court aims to help the financially dependent spouse maintain a standard of living similar to that during the marriage.

3. Earning capacity and potential

The court examines each spouse’s earning capacity and potential. Courts consider factors such as education, skills and job market conditions to assess whether the dependent spouse can achieve self-sufficiency.

4. Health and age

The health and age of both spouses are important considerations. If one spouse has health issues or is nearing retirement age, they might require more financial assistance.

5. Contributions to the marriage

Non-financial contributions, such as homemaking or supporting the other spouse’s career, are also valued by the court in determining spousal support. This recognizes the varied roles within a marriage and helps the court reach a fair resolution.

6. Custody arrangements

Custody arrangements can impact the amount of time each parent spends with their children and affect their ability to earn income or pursue career opportunities. The court considers this when making support decisions to reflect the practical realities and financial circumstances of both parents.

Understanding these factors helps divorcing couples anticipate potential spousal support outcomes and helps them prepare for the financial changes that may come after their divorce.

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