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HE (OR SHE) WHO HESITATES IS LOST - DIVORCE LAW

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From April 2010, Sophisticated Woman Magazine - REALITY SHOWS US that divorce has been with us for centuries and will be with us into the foreseeable future. One of the issues that must be addressed when contemplating divorce is whether spousal support is due in connection with the dissolution of the marriage or not. If so, in what amount? 

There is an old Chinese proverb that says, "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." I saw this played out recently in a marriage dissolution case that came to me late in the process. It turned out that one of the spouses, the husband in this case, had issues with control and manipulation of his spouse in the marriage. When the wife decided to leave the marriage, he convinced her that she did not need an attorney and that he would hire one to take care of the legal work for both of them. A petition for divorce was filed by the husband in which the issue of interim spousal support was not addressed. I immediately filed a pleading to put that issue before the court. However, months of entitlement to this interim spousal support were lost because she trusted the husband to treat her right (fool me twice).

Louisiana law provides the right to either spouse to claim interim spousal support (formerly alimony pendente lite) during the period between the filing of suit for divorce and the judgment of divorce. Louisiana Civil Code article 113 provides that a spouse may be awarded an interim spousal support allowance based on the needs of that spouse, theability of the other spouse to pay, and the standard of living of the spouses during the marriage. Absent a pending demand for final spousal support, an award of an interim spousal support allowance terminates six months after the rendition of a judgment of divorce. The spouse seeking interim spousal support bears the burden of proving his or her entitlement to it. This type of support is designed to preserve and continue the status quo insofar as maintenance and support are concerned.

In the example above, the wife lost those months of support because she hesitated in learning what her rights were on this issue.

In the unfortunate event that your marriage seems destined to terminate, don't hesitate to seek legal counsel to learn what your rights are to make sure you don't miss out on important deadlines and benefits.

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