Divorce Law in Baton Rouge, LA
Divorce Law refers to the legal termination of a marriage and often involves working through several complicated issues.
Are you facing a costly divorce in Baton Rouge, Louisiana? Does your estranged spouse have an attorney? Usually, couples going through a divorce are unable to compromise on most items and reach an agreement on their own. Thus, many couples go through mediation or the court system to resolve their case.
Issues Involved in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Divorce Law
There are many complicated issues that you need to settle during the divorce process. Many of these elicit strong emotions from one party or the other, resulting in volatility.
One of the most challenging issues in the divorce law process is dividing property, debts and assets. In many states, like Louisiana, anything you and your spouse purchased over your marriage is subject to division. This includes things such as real estate, bank accounts, cars, stocks, etc. Some states split marital property evenly, while others go along an equitable split. In the latter, the judge weighs the contribution each spouse made to the marriage and uses that information to decide the disposition property, which may not equate to a perfect 50/50 division of your property, debt, and other assets..
Both parents are responsible for paying for the care of their children. There is a child support guideline that helps determine how much each parent should contribute based on their income and the amount of time they spend with the children. Child support pays for things such as healthcare, food, clothing and other basic needs.
Under Louisiana law, the incomes of both parents are factored into child support calculations in Baton Rouge. The court will determine the total amount that was contributed to the child while the marriage was intact. Each parent is responsible for a percentage of that amount after the divorce. If you do not pay your child support, Louisiana’s Child Support Enforcement can garnish your wages or seize your property. In addition, you could lose your driver’s license or even go to jail on contempt charges.
Alimony, or spousal support, can vary dramatically depending on the marriage, and Baton Rouge, LA divorce law court looks at multiple factors when determining the amount and length of alimony, including:
- A spouse’s need and the other spouse’s ability to pay
- The age and health of each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s earning capacity and level of education
- The division of property
- Parental responsibility of the children
- Sole investments and assets of either spouse
Under Louisiana statute, spousal support is permitted for Baton Rouge divorces. Support is most commonly temporary, although permanent support is allowed in rare circumstances. The goal of most arrangements is to provide support to a formerly dependent spouse while they become financially self-sufficient.
Child Custody and Visitation
Child custody is perhaps the most emotional issue during a divorce that involves children. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the court bases all decisions on what is in the best interest of the child. Keeping this in mind may help navigate the rough waters of custody.
Louisiana legislation lays out numerous factors to be considered in custody decisions. A Baton Rouge judge will look at all of these factors, including:
- The potential for harm or neglect by either parent
- The capacity for each parent to provide for the child, both materially and emotionally
- The moral fitness of each parent, and any substance abuse issues or criminal history
- The preferences of the parents and the child
Generally, Baton Rouge, Louisiana courts award joint legal custody giving both parents the legal right to make decisions for the children, such as education, medical care and religious practices. Legal custody has nothing to do with physical custody or visitation. Joint custody does not mean both parents split time with the child evenly, just as Sole legal custody does not bar the non-custodial parent from visiting the child.
The Process of Going Through Divorce Law in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Are you leaning towards getting a divorce from your partner? If so, it is important to understand the necessary steps of the divorce law process.
Step 1: File the Divorce Law Petition
The divorce law process begins when one spouse files a legal petition to terminate the marriage. The petition must include:
- A legal reason for divorce (grounds for divorce)
- A statement that shows at least one spouse meets the state’s residency requirements for divorce
- Other statutory information your state requires
Most states offer the option for filing a no-fault divorce, which does not require a legal reason for the divorce.
No-fault divorce is permitted in Louisiana and does not require any claims of irreconcilable differences. Baton Rouge spouses must simply live separately for at least 180 consecutive days before filing for divorce. However, this required separation is extended to 365 days if the couple has any children who are minors.
Step 2: Request Temporary Orders
The divorce law process in Baton Rouge can take several months, but temporary orders can be requested and approved for a multitude of reasons, including:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Property restraining orders
- Status quo orders
Request temporary orders as quickly as possible so you are not absent the resources or protection that you need.
Step 3: Serve Your Spouse and Wait for Their Response
If you are the one who files a petition for divorce, you must have your spouse served with their divorce law papers and then file a proof of service with the courts. If your spouse accepts the service, then they need to fill out an affidavit to that effect. However, in many cases, the petitioner must hire a process server or sheriff to formally serve the petition on the other spouse. It is this third party who then records the proof of service.
Step 4: Try To Come to an Agreement
The best outcome for anyone going through this process is to have an uncontested divorce, meaning both spouses agree on all issues.
This can be reached between both partners or with the help of a mediator. Not only will this save each spouse money, but there will typically be a lot less animosity.
Step 5: Go To Court
If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, then the case continues before a Baton Rouge, LA judge. While there is some benefit to having a judge hand down orders, it may also be a detriment as there is little to no control of the agreement by the parties.
Baton Rouge divorces are under the jurisdiction of the Family Court of East Baton Rouge Parish. The court is located in the District Courthouse in downtown Baton Rouge.
Step 6: Receive the Judgement of Divorce
The divorce law trial will end with the official judgment of divorce, ending the marriage. This final dissolution of marriage sets out the details about property and debt division, child custody and all relevant issues between the couple.
Work With an Experienced Baton Rouge, Louisiana Divorce Law Attorney
If you are going through a divorce and are unable to reach an agreement with your partner, you should hire an experienced Baton Rouge divorce law attorney. A lawyer will fight for you and make sure you get what is yours. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Louisiana state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!