Divorce Attorney in Bossier City
Divorce Attorney Practices
Table of Contents
Are you looking for a divorce lawyer in Bossier City, LA?
Divorce is never enjoyable, but a long, drawn-out battle over alimony, child support and custody can make it infinitely worse. If you have children, their lives and futures are as uncertain as yours during divorce proceedings. During this time, there’s potential emotional fallout for everyone involved, as well as financial consequences for you if you misstep.
For this reason, you need an experienced divorce lawyer in Shreveport and Bossier City like Christopher Stahl. When you are making the decision to pursue custody or even simply dealing with separation of property, you want a lawyer by your side that you can trust. With his extensive experience in many areas of family law, Mr. Stahl can help you navigate the rocky ground of divorce court, and help you get a fair settlement.
How Do I Get A Divorce in Bossier City or Shreveport, LA?
There are two different kinds of divorces in Louisiana: no-fault and fault-based. To begin divorce proceedings, you must file a petition for divorce in the parish you or your spouse reside in.
What is a No-Fault Divorce in Louisiana?
- The vast majority of couples choose to go through a no-fault divorce. A judge can grant this type of divorce if:
- You and your spouse live apart for 365 days if you have children under the age of 18, or
- You and your spouse live apart for 180 days with no children under the age of 18. Some states will allow a couple to live under the same roof during this separation period, but Louisiana requires that one person leave the marital house.
In addition to separation, to obtain a no-fault divorce, you and your spouse must agree on everything from child custody, if you have children, to spousal support. If you disagree during the proceedings, a judge will ultimately make the final decision; this is where most of your costs will accumulate. This is another reason why it’s important to retain a divorce attorney in Bossier City or Shreveport as soon as possible; you may need to negotiate with your spouse during the divorce proceedings to ensure as smooth as possible.
What is a Fault-Based Divorce in Louisiana?
A fault-based divorce can occur when your spouse commits a crime or other offense against you. A judge will grant a fault-based divorce if:
- Your spouse commits adultery,
- Your spouse commits a felony and a judge sentences them to incarceration or hard labor,
- Your spouse physically or sexually abuses you or your child, even if they did not receive criminal charges for the abuse, or
- A judge issued a protective order or injunction during your marriage to protect you or your child from abuse.
What is a Covenant Marriage?
A covenant marriage is a specific type of marriage that only exists in three states: Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona. When you enter into a covenant marriage, you agree to pre-marital counseling, and also agree on more strict rules governing any future divorce should a separation occur. The idea is that couples in a covenant marriage will be less likely to file for divorce due to more obstacles in their way.
What it boils down to is that couples in a covenant marriage cannot seek a no-fault divorce. They must have grounds for divorce, which could be:
- Felony conviction,
- Abandonment for a year or more,
- Physical or sexual abuse of spouse or children,
- Separation for at least two years, or
- Separation of one year from a signed legal separation (eighteen months if the couple has underage children), without hope of reconciling.
The couple also agrees, before getting married, to seek marriage counseling before petitioning for divorce.
Why Do I Need A Divorce Attorney in Bossier City or Shreveport?
Whether you are seeking a no-fault divorce, a fault-based divorce, or you want to leave a covenant marriage, you need to retain the services of a divorce lawyer in Shreveport, LA like Christopher Stahl as soon as possible. The earlier an attorney is involved in your case, the less headache and hassle you’ll have to endure later.
First of all, a divorce lawyer in Bossier City, LA can help you decide what type of divorce you need to pursue in the first place.
If you are not in a covenant marriage, you need to decide if you want to go through a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. As we stated above, most couples choose the no-fault option; however, in cases that involve abuse or criminal activity, fault-based proceedings might be necessary to protect one spouse from another.
Why Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer in Shreveport or Bossier City for a No-Fault Divorce?
During no-fault divorce proceedings, an attorney can help you negotiate with your spouse and their lawyer before you go in front of a judge.
If at all possible, you want to agree on everything with your spouse before you see the judge; after all, the judge’s decision is final, and they may not decide in your favor. You can always continue negotiating with your spouse and their lawyer.
For instance, if you and your spouse can agree on a child custody arrangement between you, especially if you adhere to this schedule before you legally divorce, the judge will simply make it official.
During the separation period, if the schedule does not work for you, your child, or your spouse, you can always revisit it without hassle, and have the most beneficial plan already worked out when you speak to a judge. If you cannot agree and allow a judge to decide for you, and if the schedule doesn’t work for you, you would need to return to court in order for the judge to adjust the arrangement.
Even if you and your spouse do agree on everything, it is still beneficial to have your own divorce attorney in Shreveport, LA during this time. This way, your attorney can help you document any disagreements with your spouse so that if a judge does have to decide on any part of your divorce settlement, there will be a clear chain of events leading up to that point.
It is also important to note that you need your own attorney; if your spouse hires an attorney, that is their attorney, who will work in their best interests. You need a divorce attorney in Shreveport or Bossier City who will work in your best interests.
Why Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer in Bossier City or Shreveport for a Fault-Based Divorce or Divorce from a Covenant Marriage?
If you are in a covenant marriage, or if you and your divorce attorney in Bossier City, LA choose a fault-based divorce, you will need to decide which grounds for divorce are appropriate. This will normally be relatively apparent; if your spouse commits adultery, that will be your grounds for divorce. If a court incarcerates them, or if they abuse you or your children or even their children from another relationship, that will be your grounds for divorce. Sometimes, more than one of these things occurs. Your attorney will help you decide which of these grounds for divorce will work best for you, and which will be the easiest to prove in court and get you your divorce most quickly.
In a fault-based divorce, even more so than a no-fault divorce, you need your own attorney. Do not share one with your spouse.
What Does A Divorce Attorney in Bossier City or Shreveport Do?
The process for the majority of divorces is much the same. Here, we will describe the general steps taken during a divorce:
- Filing. You file a petition for divorce with the clerk of court in your parish. A divorce lawyer in Shreveport, LA can help you draft this and get it notarized.
- Service. The sheriff’s office will serve your spouse notice of your filing. In a more amicable divorce, you and your spouse can waive this service. However, if you do not waive it, your spouse will have 15 days to respond.
- Discovery. In an amicable, no-fault divorce, this is part of the rather nebulous middle-part of the divorce where you and your spouse discuss custody arrangements and separation of property. In a fault-based divorce, this will certainly require attorneys. You and your spouse will each disclose property and assets.
- Settlements, Negotiations, and Mediation. This is the stage of the divorce where a couple can settle their disagreements with the help of lawyers or mediators. In a no-fault divorce, this is not as necessary.
- Trial. A few weeks after service, you will contact the judge’s office to schedule a court date for a hearing. On that day, the judge will finalize your divorce and/or hear your disputes. Your attorney can help prepare you for this process, especially if there are multiple disputes for the judge to hear.
- Judgement of Divorce. After he hears and decides on any disputes you have, the judge will likely grant the divorce and sign a judgement of divorce. After this, you are officially divorced.
How Do I Find a Divorce Attorney in Shreveport, LA?
Finding a divorce attorney in Bossier City or Shreveport is relatively easy these days. There are a wide variety of divorce attorneys in northwest Louisiana; the trick is finding a divorce attorney in Bossier City that is skilled, thorough, and can help you navigate an emotionally trying time.
It’s important to talk to more than one divorce attorney, but not too many; three is a good number. From there, you need to know about the attorney’s experience with your specific situation. For instance, Christopher Stahl has plenty of experience with a variety of divorce cases, as well as child custody.
It’s also important to have a divorce lawyer in Shreveport or Bossier who will be candid with you. At the beginning of a divorce proceeding, nothing is certain, and if you have an attorney making significant promises to you, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to keep them.
How Much Does A Divorce Attorney in Bossier City, LA Cost?
Attorney fees and other costs are an important factor in divorce proceedings. Divorce is already an emotionally and financially draining process without the added stress of hiring an attorney.
The truth is that it’s almost impossible to give an accurate estimate on costs in a divorce. Costs will vary on a case-to-case basis during a divorce in northwest Louisiana. At the very least, there will be an average fee of $450 to file the initial petition for divorce; this will vary depending on the parish you are in.
From that point, you’ll need to pay attorney’s fees. In a no-fault divorce that doesn’t require a lot of legal work, this will be lower. In a highly contested divorce, especially if there are children involved, these costs could be relatively high.
The average cost of a divorce in Louisiana is $10,000. However, it’s important to remember that that number includes data from extremely expensive and complicated divorces as well as more simple, no-fault divorces. Talk to your attorney about their fees and payments.
Contact The Law Offices of Christopher M. Stahl
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