What Is a Wife Entitled to in a Divorce in Louisiana?

An image of the material benefits that a wife can get in a divorce

In a divorce in Louisiana, a wife is entitled to several rights and benefits. These include an equal division of marital property, spousal support (also known as alimony) based on factors such as financial need and the standard of living during the marriage, and potentially, child support if there are minor children involved. The specific entitlements may vary based on individual circumstances and the court’s discretion.

What Is a Community Property State?

Spouses are holding their own little white home
Dividing property during divorce can be challenging, as it often involves assessing and distributing assets and debts accumulated during the marriage.

Louisiana is a community property state, meaning all assets acquired or purchased by spouses during the marriage are considered their joint property regardless of whose name is indicated in the documents. These include real estate, vehicles, bank and retirement accounts, furniture, electronics, jewelry, etc.

Spouses may decide on the community property settlement after divorce in Louisiana in advance, and in this prenuptial agreement, the terms of distribution will be determined in detail.

If there is no agreement between spouses, according to Louisiana community property laws, all joint assets and liabilities of a couple are divided during the divorce, and each spouse is entitled to an equal net value. It is also possible that property may be distributed not 50/50 if the court considers it fair. The decision on the division proportion may depend on:

  • Spouses’ income.
  • Employment opportunities.
  • Special needs related to age or health,
  • Who is going to be a custodian parent, etc.

What Is Separate Property in Louisiana Divorce?

Typically, assets and liabilities acquired by each spouse before the marriage are considered their separate property. They should not be divided during the Louisiana State divorce process, as well as inheritance or gifts made to one of the parties before or during the marriage.

Surely, there may be exceptions, especially when spouses conclude Louisiana separate property agreement, which allows them to determine independently which assets will be considered personal or joint. If judicially approved, such an agreement shows the rights of a wife and a husband regarding joint or separate property and establishes how it should be divided in case of a divorce.

If the parties had their own funds before marriage, but they put them in a joint account, it will likely be considered not separate but joint property subject to division. A house inherited by one of the parties can also pass from personal to joint ownership if it became a family home during the marriage and was maintained by both spouses.

Are Wives Entitled to Spousal Support in Louisiana?

Female hands holding a dollar sign indicating spousal support in divorce
In Louisiana, both husbands and wives may be entitled to spousal support, depending on the circumstances and the financial needs of the spouses.

According to the Louisiana spousal support law, a wife can be entitled to financial support, called alimony, during or after the divorce. The judge can award it for a short period of time, necessary for a requesting spouse to maintain their standard of living during the divorce process, or for a long term if the wife cannot provide for her own needs due to her health status or other reasons.

Permanent spousal support is terminated if one of the spouses dies or when the dependent spouse who receives alimony remarries or starts to cohabitate with another person.

The financial rights of a wife allow her to get spousal support in an amount not exceeding one-third of the paying spouse’s net income. However, in specific cases, such as when one party or children become victims of abuse, and the paying spouse is at fault, it may be higher than the mentioned amount.

The sum of alimony payments will be affected by:

  • The fact of how long the marriage lasted.
  • Age, health conditions, and income of spouses.
  • The necessity to get an education and employment.
  • Availability of separate assets.
  • Financial ability of the paying spouse.
  • The presence of domestic abuse issues in the case, etc.

Are Wives Entitled to Child Custody in a Divorce?

A child stands between parents who argue about child support after a divorce
Child custody in a divorce is typically determined based on the best interests of the child, and it is not automatically granted to either the husband or the wife.

According to Louisiana child custody laws, most often, spouses are entitled to shared custody of minor children. Divorce in Louisiana with a child presupposes that spouses should resolve issues regarding children’s custody and support before or during the divorce process. A couple can come to an agreement out of court. If the judge finds that this marital agreement is in the best interests of the child, it will be approved.

In contested cases when parents cannot resolve disputes on their own, the judge may decide on 50/50 custody and child support in Louisiana. It is also possible that one parent may get sole custody and the other the visitation rights. When making a decision, the judge will take into account, among other factors:

  • Age of children and their place of residence before the divorce.
  • The attitude of both parents towards children and facts of violent behavior, if any.
  • The ability of parents to financially support children and cover their basic needs and health insurance.
  • The mental and physical condition of each spouse.
  • Spouses’ abuse of psychoactive substances, alcohol, etc.
  • Opinion and desires of a child if their age is sufficient.

Therefore, various laws in Louisiana guide the entitlements of a wife in a divorce. If you would like to get detailed information on your rights during your specific divorce case, it is reasonable to address a professional family lawyer who will guide you through the process.