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What is the purpose of spousal support?

Divorce can be an expensive proposition. Property division might leave one individual without the residence in which he or she resided during the marriage, with retirement accounts diminished, and with valuable items of personal property in the hands of an ex-spouse. Child support, too, can be costly. But the expenses associated with a divorce do not necessarily end there. Many Louisianans also have to pay spousal support, which can be expensive and last for a lengthy period of time.

So what is the purpose of spousal support, also referred to as alimony? In short, alimony attempts tolevel the economic playing field when a divorce occurs. Courts don't want one spouse to be left destitute post-marriage, especially when a non-wage earner sacrificed his or her own career to further that of a spouse or to raise children. Additionally, a court may take an interest in allowing a party to a divorce to maintain the standard of living he or she enjoyed while married.

In the past, awards of spousal support were almost exclusively made to women after divorce from their husbands. However, as the economic landscape has changed and more women have entered the workforce, alimony is now being awarded to men on a regular basis. Therefore, those who are entering a divorce may want to consider seeking alimony, especially if he or she forewent work in exchange for raising a family.

Divorce is rarely an easy matter to settle. It takes careful planning as well as strategic negotiating and litigating. Those who find themselves contemplating marriage dissolution, or who are already in the early stages of divorce, may want to consider consulting with an experienced family law attorney to determine what more they can do to protect their financial future.

Source: FindLaw, "Spousal Support (Alimony) Basics," accessed on July 1, 2016

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