3 Vital Aspects to Know About Divorces in Louisiana
Divorces are never a pleasant experience for any family. Oftentimes, the whole process can be an emotional and financial roller coaster that affects not only the husband and wife but also the children.
Depending on different variables, such as the involvement of children, local rules/customs, or whether or not the involved parties are in agreement, additional costs can rack up even before you discuss alimony and child support payments.
Nevertheless, having an overview of the process can help alleviate some of the stress incurred by any surprise costs or additional hurdles along the way. In this article, we will share three aspects of divorces in Louisiana that you should know:
On average, divorces in Louisiana cost about $10,000.00. The majority of the cost comes from attorney fees, while the other portions will go to filing paperwork and distributing documents to the involved parties. An average fee of $450.00 will also be charged to the party just to file the initial petition for divorce, depending on which parish the petitioner resides.
No-Fault vs Fault-Based Divorces
Most couples opt to file a no-fault divorce, meaning that both parties are in agreement that the marriage has broken down and place no legal blame on each other. If they have no children, spouses must prove that they have lived apart for at least 180 days before the divorce can be finalized. If children are involved, the separation period can go up to a year.
Some states allow married couples to live together under one roof and still consider it a separation. However, in Louisiana, one of the spouses must leave the marital home. It must be noted that the separation period starts once the petition has been filed, which means that you cannot use the days before the filing to satisfy this requirement, unless the petition is later amended.
Let the Law Office of Chris Stahl handle your divorce
The spouses must agree about every issue, such as child custody (if there are children involved) and property division, among others. Should any disagreement arise, the court will conduct a trial after which a judge will be the final decision maker. Keep in mind that this is where most of the costs pile up. Before filing a petition, it’s best to discuss the terms with your spouse to ensure a smooth transition.
If a no-fault divorce is not an option, then the petitioner will have to prove misconduct on the part of the spouse. In Louisiana, a petitioner will have to prove that the spouse has committed adultery, has committed domestic abuse, or has been convicted of a felony. Proving these grounds at court will definitely increase costs, but will be important if one spouse is vying for custody of children and/or properties.
Covenant Marriages are a distinct type of marriage now existing only in three states: Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona. Spouses who entered into matrimony through Covenant Marriages will have to undergo a more specific procedure to grant their divorce. Because of this distinct type of marriage, the couple cannot file for no-fault divorces. To end the marriage, the petitioner must prove that the other party is guilty of any of the following:
- Felony conviction
- Abandonment for at least 12 months
- Physical or sexual abuse committed by one spouse to the other or their children
- Separation for at least two years
Additionally, the couple must also agree to receive counseling as part of the process, and in general the length of time before a final divorce is received is doubled.
If you happen to be a parent, and need legal representation regarding child custody in Louisiana, contact The Law Office of Christopher M. Stahl today.
Children also have their rights, especially during divorce processes. After all, they are entitled to the protection that they need.