How long does a divorce take in Louisiana?
Unless there are extraordinary circumstances a couple must live separate and apart for 365 days if they have minor children or 180 days if there are no minor children before the divorce can be made final. There are two ways to go about filing for divorce. One is called a 102 divorce. The other is called a 103 divorce. A brief overview of each follows.
BASIC FEATURES OF A 102 DIVORCE
Very common type of divorce where spouses must live separate and apart for the required period of time without reconciliation from the date of filing before a final judgement of divorce will be granted. The advantages of a 102 divorce is that the community property will cease retroactive to the date of filing and that you can begin to resolve the "incidental matters" of child custody, child support, alimony, temporary use and occupancy of the family home and cars, and division of community property. Hopefully, all of these matters are resolved either through agreement or by trial within the six month waiting period.
BASIC FEATURES OF A 103 DIVORCE
Most commonly used where the spouses have already lived separate and apart for the required period of time before any papers were filed. The parties can normally get a final judgment of divorce within one month of the papers being filed. A 103 divorce can also be used when there are allegations of adultery or where one spouse has been convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labor.
How much will it cost me?
It's hard to say. Depending on your particular circumstances some law firms may charge a fixed fee. A fixed fee may vary from one client to the other depending on the situation, but a set fee is decided before the process begins. Some law firms bill on an hourly basis with fees ranging from $125.00 to $225.00 per hour. Don't let the rates scare you. A lawyer with a higher hourly fee may have more experience and be able to settle your case is less time. Court cost will normally run between $300.00 and $500.00 for a simple divorce. A ballpark figure for most uncontested divorces without trial preparation would be $3,000.00 in out-of-pocket expenses. However should your divorce become contentious it may range from $4,000.00 to $10,000.00 or more.
Do I have an advantage if I file for the divorce first?
In most cases it does not make a differences, but in cases where children are involved the answer may be yes.
What is a temporary order & how are they obtained?
This is an Order of the Court that is only in place until the court can give the matter a full hearing. It starts with a proceeding in which one side will request some kind of relief, such as custody and support, before the final judgment of divorce has been made. Since the divorce process can be quite lengthy at times, many disputes must be resolved on a temporary basis. Without temporary orders it is very difficult to have somewhat of a normal life during the process.
Should I tell my attorney things I know will hurt my case?
Absolutely. Nobody is perfect and in all divorce cases both sides will have positives and negatives. Your attorney needs to know everything, and complete honesty is the best policy. There is nothing worse for an attorney than to find out that their client was not truthful when it's too late. Remember you should always hope for the best but be sure that you and your attorney are prepared for the worst.
How should I prepare for meeting with an attorney?
It will be helpful for you to gather certain documents in preparation for your first meeting with your attorney. Locate and copy your important documents including:
•Income tax returns,
•Your last two paycheck stubs.
It is also helpful to write down any questions you may have. Often meeting with an attorney is like talking to the doctor and five minutes after you leave you remember the question you wanted to ask, so it is helpful to have them written down. Remember especially in this situation there is no such thing as a stupid question. So be sure to ask whatever is on your mind.