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Making The Complex Understandable

More women may be paying alimony in divorces

The most recent census in 2010 found that just 3 percent of Americans receiving alimony were men. However, in a survey two years later by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, nearly half of the respondents said that they were seeing an increase in the number of women paying alimony to their ex-husbands.

One case that made it to a court of special appeals shows that if a woman brings in substantially more money than her ex-husband, she may indeed be ordered to pay him spousal support, at least for a set period of time. In that case, the court upheld an award giving the ex-husband 18 months of rehabilitative alimony based on the disparity in the couple's incomes. However, it ruled that this disparity was not enough to grant the husband indefinite alimony, which is what he was seeking.

The man reportedly recently left his $75,000-a-year job to get a master's degree, with a goal of ultimately being able to earn more money. The wife's income was not noted. However, her income and assets reportedly derive from two trusts that she inherited. The court ruled that the income disparity was enough to warrant temporary but not indefinite alimony.

Different states have varying types and names for alimony or spousal support. Louisiana has interim and final periodic spousal support. Interim support is designed, according to the Louisiana State Bar Association, to "maintain the status quo in both spouses' living conditions, to the extent that this can be accomplished" during and up to six months following the divorce. Final support may be awarded to a spouse, assuming that he or she is not at fault for the divorce, if "the spouse requesting the support has a need and the other spouse has the means to provide for that need."

If one person is going to be significantly impacted financially by a divorce, he or she has every right to seek money from his or her spouse, at least until that person is able to get back on his or her feet. Louisiana family law attorneys can work to help ensure that their divorcing clients' emotional suffering is not compounded by financial suffering if the other spouse has the means to make that possible.

Source: American News Report, "Who Pays for Alimony?" Doug Lynch, Dec. 22, 2014

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