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What are the divorce support laws?

Financial support of former spouses and the couple's children is an important divorce issue in Louisiana that can have long-term consequences. This can determine whether a family can pay for daily living expenses, education and health care, and whether they can have a reasonable standard of living.

The parent without custody, or primary or physical custody when joint custody was awarded, usually has the responsibility of paying financial support for their minor children. Courts use the state's child support guidelines for setting the amount of support. A court may depart from these guidelines for the child's best interest and if it issues a written or oral justification.

Child support may include contributions for parts of medical insurance, medical costs that are not covered by insurance, tuition for private schools and expenses for extracurricular activities. A court may also issue a support modification order if there was a material change in a parent's circumstances since the last order was issued.

There are two types of spousal support in a divorce. First, interim spousal support may be granted to a spouse without sufficient income for their maintenance pending the outcome of the divorce, so they can continue to keep their standard of living. This support may last up to six months after divorce.

Spousal support may also be awarded to a former spouse who was determined to be free from fault for the end of the couple's marriage. Spouses seeking this support must demonstrate that they have a need and their former spouse has the financial ability to provide for that need.

These issues may be resolved in mediation or in other settlement negotiations. Divorce issues can also be complicated or contentious and prolong this process. Regardless of the ease or difficulties of ending a marriage, an attorney can help a spouse learn about their rights and pursue a fair and reasonable decree in negotiations or court litigation.

Source: Louisiana State Bar Association, "Divorce," Accessed Feb. 25, 2018

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