HOW WILL SPOUSAL SUPPORT AFFECT MY DIVORCE?
If you made the decision to divorce your spouse, you may be concerned about your financial future. This is especially true for spouses who earn less or are not currently employed.
An amicable split can sometimes turn argumentative once money enters the discussion, as it may have done with conversations during a marriage. What can spouses who are not the primary breadwinner expect during the divorce?
Spousal support options
Louisiana offers two types of spousal support: interim spousal support and final periodic spousal support.
Interim support is often for spouses who don’t have the necessary income to maintain their lives while finalizing the divorce. It allows both spouses to continue living as they did during the marriage as much as possible for up to six months.
Final support is for spouses who are not found at fault for the breakup. A divorce court would determine one spouse has a need for support and the other spouse has the capability to fulfill that need.
Tax changes could make negotiations rocky
Previously, divorced individuals who paid spousal support could write off those payments on their taxes, while those who received support had to include the payments as taxable income. However, as of January 1, 2019, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) changed tax rules so the inverse is the case. Now, recipients can write off those payments.
While that may seem like good news, sometimes it can cause more fighting during the divorce process. Because payments are taxable income for payers, they may try to negotiate smaller payments to protect their own financial future post-divorce.
They may also suggest alternative payment options. These options are not necessarily disadvantageous for recipients, but it may be useful to review those offers with a divorce attorney who can determine if the agreement would meet your financial needs.
Spousal support negotiations aren’t always a battle but the delicate nature of discussing money can make the process tricky. Understanding what your options are and how they can affect your divorce can help you be prepared to advocate for your financial future.