How does adultery factor into spousal support? - Stanley-Wallace Law - slidell louisiana

“Alimony” sometimes sounds like a dirty word thanks to horror stories of how it’s used in messy divorce proceedings. But in reality, alimony is simply money that one spouse pays to the other during and/or after the divorce to make sure that one spouse doesn’t get sent to the poor house. 

What’s commonly known as alimony is called spousal support in Louisiana, and there are two general types: 

  • Interim periodic spousal support: temporary payments from one spouse to another while the divorce is being finalized (or up to six months after it’s final), to make sure that neither falls into financial trouble because of the divorce proceedings. It’s calculated based on the payee’s financial needs and the paying spouse’s ability to make payments – and also based on the standard-of-living you both had while you were married. 
  • Final periodic spousal support: an order for one spouse to pay the other for a set period of time after the divorce is final. 

If infidelity was a factor in ending your marriage, then you’ll want to know how exactly adultery plays into the formula for divorce settlements and spousal support payments. 

If adultery was involved in your marriage, it will likely play a role in who gets what in the divorce. Why? Because Louisiana is a “fault” divorce state, meaning that one spouse could be to blame for the divorce. 

There are three reasons you can file for a standard divorce in Louisiana: 

  • Adultery
  • A felony conviction: one spouse has been convicted and sentenced to jail time
  • Protective Order – one spouse has a current protective order against the other spouse.
  • Separation: You’ve lived apart for 180 days – or one year if you have children. 

If you were the one who was unfaithful during the marriage, then you must evaluate your chances of receiving spousal support under the two different types: Interim and Final.  

For interim spousal support, who was at fault for the break up of the marriage is not an issue.  The only thing that is determined is if the requesting spouse has the need for spousal support and if the proposed paying spouse has the ability to pay.  This is done by looking at each spouse’s income and their expenses.  

If you are seeking final spousal support then you must prove: 1) you have the need; 2) the other spouse has the ability to pay; and 3) that you were not at fault for the break up of the marriage.  This is where your adultery can hurt you. If are proven to be at fault for the breakup of the marriage, you may not receive final spousal support.  

One thing is certain if you’re going to pay spousal support or receive spousal support in Louisiana: The amount of spousal support paid cannot exceed one-third of the person’s net income. 

As you can see, spousal support — and divorce proceedings in general — can be complicated and overwhelming. That’s why you need an experienced family law attorney on your side. Contact Stanley Wallace Law today for help.