SPOUSAL SUPPORT

MARRIED PEOPLE PROBLEMS

MARRIED PEOPLE PROBLEMS

Under Louisiana law, “Married persons owe each other fidelity, support, and assistance.” This is really the basis under which spousal support and community property laws are construed.  For example, a wife who doesn’t work during the marriage certainly “supported” her husband’s work by doing whatever she did while he was away, therefore ½ of what he earns is hers.  Also, a wife who earns significantly more money than her husband certainly should “support” him once the marriage is over, so spousal support would be awarded in the husband’s favor.  The laws do not allow a spouse who cheated or lacked “fidelity” to collect final spousal support

MUTUAL DUTIES

Under La. C.C. Art. 98, "Married persons owe each other fidelity, support, and assistance."

TEMPORARY + FINAL SPOUSAL SUPPORT

  • When a divorce proceeding is pending, the court may award interim periodic support to a party. 

  • Additionally, the court may award final periodic support to a party who is in need of support and who is free from fault prior to the filing of a proceeding to terminate the marriage.

TIMING OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT

  • An interim allowance may extend or be awarded after the divorce judgment.  

  • Final periodic support may be awarded before the divorce judgment.

FUNDAMENTAL CRITERIA

R.S. 9:326. Determination of Income for Spousal Support; Evidences states…

            “A. Each party shall provide to the court a verified income statement showing gross income and adjusted gross income, together with documentation of current and past earnings. Suitable documentation of current earnings shall include but not be limited to pay stubs or employer statements. The documentation shall include a copy of the party’s most recent federal tax return. A copy of the statement and documentation shall be provided to the other party. When an obligor has an ownership interest in a business, suitable documentation shall include but is not limited to the last three personal and business state and federal income tax returns, including all attachments and all schedules, specifically Schedule K-1 and W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and amendments, the most recent profit and loss statements, balance sheets, financial statements, quarterly sales tax reports, personal and business bank account statements, receipts, and expenses. A copy of all statements and documentation shall be provided to the other party.

            B. When a party alleges that income is being concealed or underreported, the court shall admit evidence relevant to establishing the actual income of the party, including but not limited to all of the following:

(1) Redirected income.(a) Loans to the obligor by a business in which the obligor has an ownership interest and whether the loans will be repaid. There shall be a presumption that the loans are income of the obligor which may be rebutted if the obligor demonstrates there is a history of similar past loans being made and repaid in a timely manner with market interest rates, or the current loan is at market interest rates and is fully paid in accordance with a commercially reasonable time. The amount by which a commercially reasonable repayment amount exceeds the amount actually repaid shall be treated as income.

(b) Payment made by the obligor or by a business in which the obligor has an ownership interest to a person related by blood or affinity in the form of wages or salary. There shall be a presumption that the payments are income of the obligor, which may be rebutted if the obligor demonstrates there is a history of payments preceding the separation of the parties or the filing of an action to establish or modify spousal support, or that the payments are fair market value for services actually performed.

(2) Deferred income. Recent reductions in distributions of income, such as salary, bonuses, dividends, or management fees as a percentage of gross income of the business of the obligor. There shall be a presumption that past distributions of income will continue, which may be rebutted if the obligor demonstrates business conditions justify a reduction in distributions.

(3) Standard of living and assets. The current standard of living and assets of the obligor both prior and subsequent to the establishment of a spousal support order, to establish the actual income if the amount claimed is inconsistent with his lifestyle.

            C. When the income of an obligor cannot be sufficiently established, evidence of wage and earnings surveys distributed by government agencies for the purpose of attributing income to the obligor is admissible.

            Added by Acts 2009, No. 378.”

 

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office: 337-233-3616 / cell: 337-258-4491

ADDRESS

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Lafayette, LA 70501

©2019 BY CLAIRE BERGERON, ATTORNEY AT LAW, LLC