What Happens If I Can’t Afford My Alimony Payments in Louisiana?

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When times are tough and you’re struggling to make ends meet, it can be incredibly overwhelming. Unfortunately, this is only exacerbated when you and your spouse divorce and are ordered to pay spousal support. When circumstances change, and you can’t afford your alimony payments, you may be at a loss for what to do. Luckily, the following blog answers some of the most common questions you may have regarding these matters and why you must connect with a Monroe, Louisiana alimony lawyer as soon as possible.

How Is Alimony Determined?

There’s a common misconception that the lower-earning spouse in each marriage will automatically be awarded alimony upon the finalization of their divorce. However, this is far from the truth, as the recipient spouse must request payments in the petition. If the paying spouse disagrees, the courts will determine whether or not they need spousal support and, if so, how much the amount is.

As such, the factors the courts will consider when determining alimony payments in Lousiana include the following:

  • Both party’s income
  • Both party’s earning capacity
  • The financial and domestic contributions of each spouse
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The health and age of each party

It’s crucial to also keep in mind that Louisiana does consider adultery. Essentially, if the requesting spouse committed adultery, they will be barred from collecting alimony. Similarly, the courts will likely grant victims of domestic violence alimony, regardless of other elements present in the case.

What Should I Do if I Can’t Afford My Alimony?

If you cannot afford to pay your alimony, you may wonder what will happen. In many instances, the inability to pay the court-ordered amount stems from job loss. If you lose your job, it’s essential to understand that your obligation does not automatically end. In many instances, the courts will not grant a reduction until 90 days following your termination or layoff. This is because they want to ensure you make a reasonable effort to seek new employment.

In the event you are no longer employed or your circumstances otherwise change, such as welcoming a new baby into the world, you can request a modification through the court. After reviewing your circumstances, the judge may agree to reduce or revoke your spousal support obligations.

You should understand that if you cannot prove that you’ve made a reasonable effort to find a new job or your termination was your own fault (such as breaking company policy or committing a crime like fraud), the courts will likely deny your modification request. This is because had you followed the rules, you would still be responsible for providing support for your spouse.

It’s important to understand that you cannot stop paying alimony because you cannot afford it without permission from the court. You can be found in contempt of court and ordered to pay additional fines for the missed payments. However, it’s imperative to connect with an experienced attorney as soon as possible during these circumstances.

When you are struggling financially, Breithautp, DuBos, & Wolleson can help. We understand how complex these matters can be, which is why we are dedicated to fighting for you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your circumstances.

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