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Divorce Law in Louisiana

How to Find a Louisiana Divorce Attorney

If you’re like most Louisiana residents, you admire the works of Louisiana native son, Louis Armstrong. His “It’s a Wonderful World” is a universal favorite. Armstrong’s father abandoned him and his family in the year after he was born. In addition, he knew divorce 3 times, yet he must have also known peace and joy as when he wrote this universally beautiful song.

Armstrong wrote:

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

We’ve included these 10 lines of lyrics to remind you that it does get better; you won’t always feel the way you do as you consider and going through divorce.

If you’re having a hard time and are considering divorce or looking to find a Louisiana divorce attorney, we wrote this article for you.

In this article (which is based upon Louisiana divorce law), we’ll discuss:

  • Louisiana specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce; and
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Louisiana divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find one and how to prepare to work with him or her.

Louisiana Divorce Law Specifics

  • If you want to file for divorce in Louisiana, you must have been a Louisiana resident for at least the last year.
  • Louisiana has both “no-fault” and “fault” divorce.
  • Louisiana uses the terms, “petitioner” and “plaintiff” to refer to the spouse who files the initial divorce papers and “respondent” and “defendant” to describe the other spouse.
  • In Louisiana, divorce papers are filed in Judicial District Court of the appropriate parish.
  • In some cases, alimony is available.
  • Child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.
  • Louisiana is a community property state so marital property will be divided 50/50, unless you and your spouse agree otherwise.

What You Need to Know About Divorce

In this section, we’ll highlight the aspects of divorce that will help you this most. Of course, we’ll emphasize that life does get better.

  • It gets better. You won’t always feel like this.
  • Always use “compromise, collaboration, communication, and cooperation” as the foundation for all decision-making, even if you really want to make a Voo Doo doll of your spouse.
  • Don’t hire a shark-like attorney. An attorney, who angers your spouse (or you), will push you into court. Only hire a divorce attorney who is willing to work collaboratively.
    • If you and your spouse can’t work out a settlement agreement with the help of your lawyers, you’ll have to go to court.
    • This means that the court takes over and determines who gets what and how custody is handled. You lose control and your court costs and fees will skyrocket.
  • Everyone needs someone to talk to. Don’t attempt to use your children or your lawyer as a sounding board or therapist; instead consult with a therapist.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Louisiana Divorce Lawyer?

Even Louisiana attorneys, who go through divorce, hire their own divorce attorneys. One mistake may cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars and time with your children.

If you give up any marital rights during divorce, you will be forever barred from asserting them.

How to Find and Select a Louisiana Divorce Attorney

The most popular way to find a lawyer is to ask loved ones for referrals and/or enter “How to Find a Louisiana Divorce Attorney” into Google.

To make sure your attorney is qualified and a good fit, ask questions about working collaboratively; avoiding court, if possible; fees; the process; what to expect; communications; and how long everything will take.

You’ll be happier if your expectations are properly set and if you’re comfortable with your attorney.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

Here is a quick checklist to help you to prepare to work with your divorce lawyer:

  • Remember that your feelings of distress will lessen and you will feel good again.
  • It’s okay to wait to file divorce; for example, if you feel the same way in 6 months you can always file then. Consider reconciliation.
  • Consult with a therapist, who specializes in helping people going through divorce.
  • Make a “wish list” of everything you would like in the divorce (e.g. property division, spousal support, living arrangements, and child related matters). Make this list with the understanding that compromise is required.
  • Make a list of questions to ask your divorce attorney at your meeting.
  • Gather financial and legal documents such as prenuptial agreements, life insurance policies, tax returns, financial account statements, debts, bills, expenses, and income.

And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

– Gilbert K. Chesterton

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