You must live separate and apart from your spouse for twelve months if you have children under the age of 18, and six months if there are no children under 18. There are exceptions to these six and twelve month rules. In cases involving adultery, these time requirements may be waived. In cases involving protective orders, the twelve month requirement may be reduced to 6 months.
Probably not. Other issues may come into play, including, but not limited to: Spousal support / Alimony, Child support, Use of the family home, Protecting your property rights.
Joint custody is presumed by Louisiana divorce law to be in the best interest of the children. Sole child custody is usually awarded in cases involving physical or emotional abuse or substance abuse. Child custodial arrangements are always determined on a case by case basis depending on what the court deems to be in the best interest of the children.
Child support is statutorily mandated based on percentages (ratios) of gross income. Child support also includes medical expenses, medical insurance and child care, if necessitated by work. Child support may also include private school tuition and extra curricular activities.
The correct legal term for alimony is spousal support. There are two kinds of spousal support: Interim (temporary) Spousal Support; and Final (permanent) Periodic Support. Both of these can be extremely complicated issues based on the lifestyles to which the parties are accustomed and the availability of money to sustain them. Education, as well as work and earning history may also factor into spousal support determinations.
Hopefully not. Many things associated with a divorce settlement are not strictly mandated by the law. They are often achieved through agreements reached between the divorcing parties which are then sanctioned by the court. This is why the expertise of an experienced divorce lawyer such as Samuel & Coleman can be crucial. If an agreement cannot be reached, all unresolved issues will be decided by the judge.
No. There are significant differences in the way divorce proceedings are conducted in the parishes around New Orleans. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect:
Divorce proceedings in Jefferson Parish are conducted using a system of Hearing Officers and Domestic Commissioners. Hearing Officers and Domestic Commissioners are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the elected District Judges in Jefferson Parish.
Hearing Officers are lawyers trained in mediation whose job is to assist the divorcing parties and their attorneys to reach an amicable settlement of the divorce issues. Sessions with the Hearing Officers are scheduled in advance of any court proceedings and generally last about 90 minutes. If an amicable settlement is reached during one of these sessions, the Hearing Officer will then reduce it to writing, thereby making it legally binding when signed by the Domestic Commissioner.
The Domestic Commissioner is essentially an appointed Judge with the authority to adjudicate certain family law matters which include divorce, exceptions and protective orders. In some cases, rulings by the Domestic Commissioner on exceptions and protective orders can be appealed to the District Judge assigned to the case.
If no agreement can be reached on one or more issues, the Hearing Officer will make a recommendation which becomes an interim judgment. If either party disagrees with this judgment, he or she has three (3) days to file an objection and request a hearing before the District Judge. If no objection is filed within this time, the interim judgment becomes a final judgment.
Divorce proceedings in St. Tammany Parish are handled in a system similar but not identical to Jefferson Parish.
Divorce proceedings in New Orleans are relegated to the three (3) most recently elected Judges. These Judges handle only family law cases at the beginning of their terms. All decisions rendered by the judges are binding. In come cases, their decisions may be reversed through appeal to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Divorce proceedings in other metro parishes which include St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, Plaquemines and Terribonne are not handled by Hearing Officers, Domestic Commissioners or the most newly elected Judges. Family law cases in these parishes are assigned, along with a variety of other cases, among all of the sitting, elected Judges.
Initial court costs for filing a Petition for Divorce vary from parish to parish. The basic filing fee for just a simple divorce, excluding any issues involving child support, community property, spousal support, etc., as of September 2016, is $400.00. However, additional fees can be required for all subsequent proceedings which might include child custody, child support, spousal support or alimony, community property partition and protective or restraining orders.
For more information about the cost of divorce proceedings in the metro New Orleans area parishes click on your parish below:
All of the information about Family Law and Divorce Law presented on this website is very general and intended to give the reader a basic understanding of these complicated and often misunderstood areas of Louisiana law. Do not make any decisions based on this information without consulting a qualified licensed attorney.