The Cosenza Law Firm understands the needs of divorcing couples. Good advice is the first thing they need.
When a couple separates or divorces, the law governs custody of children, child support and the support of a needy spouse. The law also governs the division of marital property and marital debt. There are laws that determine when you may divorce, the procedure you must follow, and what proof you need. If you or your family lives in the Baton Rouge area, you should consult a Baton Rouge divorce lawyer. The Cosenza Law Firm is ready to assist you.
Sometimes there has never been a family unit. Children may be born to parents who hardly know each other. Fathers may deny paternity and refuse to pay child support. Single mothers and single fathers may struggle with the burdens of parenthood. Grandparents may find themselves raising their grandchildren. The law provides relief to these children and to the people who are raising them. A Baton Rouge family attorney can assist you with these problems.
Louisiana has “no fault” divorce. However, the law requires a spouse who wants a divorce to live apart from the other spouse for a period of time. If there are children, the separation must last for at least 365 days. If there are no children, the required period of separation is 180 days. There are different rules and longer waiting periods for “covenant” marriages.
Louisiana also has “fault” divorce.. The “fault” that entitles a spouse to an immediate divorce is adultery, conviction of domestic abuse, or conviction of a serious crime and imprisonment.Child Custody
Louisiana law presumes that joint custody is in a child’s best interest. This does not mean that in all cases courts will split physical custody 50-50. It does mean that courts will encourage custody plans that maximize each parent’s opportunity to be with their child.
In joint custody, courts usually appoint one of the parents to be the “domiciliary” parent. The “domiciliary” parent has the authority to make important decisions in the child’s life such as where the child goes to school and what doctor he or she sees. If the non-domiciliary parent believes the domiciliary parent is doing the wrong thing, he or she can go to court and ask the judge to intervene.
In contested cases, judges may order an evaluation of one or both parents. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide the judge with expert opinions concerning what kind of custody arrangement will most benefit the child. The goal is always to achieve a custody plan that enhances the child’s well being.Child Support
The amount of child support one parent pays to the other depends on factors such as:
With this information, courts use tables to calculate child support. Judges may not deviate from the tables without very good reasons. In the vast majority of cases, if the table says a parent must pay $X in child support, that is what the judge awards.
Parents who work overtime, are self-employed , or work on a commission basis may not have stable income. In such cases, judges usually look at the parent’s earnings history to come up with a fair figure. For such parents, there is rarely a perfect solution. However, a parent whose circumstances deteriorate can return to court and ask for relief. The same rule applies if a parent begins to earn significantly more money. The other parent can always return to court and ask for more.Marital Property
Married couples are subject to Louisiana’s community property regime. In this regime, spouses are co-owners of all property acquired during marriage and co-obligors for all community debt. Upon divorce, spouses will usually want to divide up their former community of assets and obligations.
Married people may own more than one type of property. They may owe debt to more than one creditor. It can be difficult to achieve a fair division of multiple pieces of property and numerous debts. The law gives judges flexibility when dividing things up between the spouses. A spouse who is awarded the former family home may be ordered to pay the mortgage. If there is only debt, the judge may order each party to pay particular ones so that each pays 50% of the whole.
If a Baton Rouge court granted your divorce, consult with an attorney serving the Baton Rouge area about your property issues.Alimony
The phrase “spousal support” has replaced the term “alimony” but the concept remains the same. There are two kinds – interim and final.
Interim support may be awarded to a spouse if (1) he or she is not able to maintain the economic status quo after a separation occurs and (2) the other spouse is able to pay it. Interim support does not go on indefinitely. It ends upon divorce although it may continue for a period of time if the court is considering a request for final support.
Final support is the exception not the rule. Divorced spouses are expected to return to the marketplace and earn a living. Those who lack job skills may receive a monthly payment for a limited period of time while they train for a job. Sometimes a spouse is unable to work because of age or health. In such cases, final alimony may be awarded for a longer period of time. However, in all cases, the person seeking final support must be without financial means. A person who can sell assets to support himself is expected to do so.High Net Worth Cases
Couples living in the Baton Rouge area who have high salaries or who have accumulated wealth have special needs when it comes to divorce. Their marital estates may include a family home as well as commercial real estate, interests in one or more businesses, art or antique collections, trusts, life insurance, and annuities. There may be serious tax consequences to manage. There may be significant exposure for interim or final spousal support. Dividing these marital estates and deciding on when to pay spousal support and how much often requires the assistance of experts such as CPAs and appraisers. A Baton Rouge divorce attorney with the Cosenza Law Firm can assist you with the division of your marital estate.Your Next Step
The information provided above is not a substitute for sound legal advice. If you are in a dispute with your partner or spouse about your marriage, children, or property, you should always consult with a lawyer who practices family law. A family law attorney with the Cosenza Law Firm can evaluate your facts in light of the applicable law and give you options for action. Call them today at 225-381-8181.
We understand the specific needs and problems of the family law client. We know how judges approach family law matters. We know the law. Because our practice is devoted exclusively to family law, we concentrate our efforts on what is important to you. Competing demands upon an attorney’s time are important factors to consider when shopping for a lawyer.
The Cosenza Law Firm promises that your family law case will get our full attention.