To end a marriage, it is necessary to file a lawsuit called a petition for divorce. That lawsuit must either be served on the other spouse or that spouse will have to execute a document called a waiver stating that they are waiving service. Depending on what kind of divorce is obtained, a hearing before the judge may or may not be required. Once a judgment is signed by a judge, the legal proceeding is completed and the effects of the marriage will end and relate back to the initial filing date of the lawsuit.
In Louisiana, there are only four (4) grounds for divorce. Louisiana has done away with legal separations. The grounds for divorce are as follows: the other spouse has committed adultery, the other spouse has committed a felony and sentenced to death or imprisonment at hard labor; the spouses have already been separated for a period of six (6) months and do not have minor children; the spouses have already been separated for a period of one (1) year and have minor children; the spouses have not already separated for the time periods but anticipate that they will remain separated.
There are also other related ancillary divorce issues that may be agreed to by the parties. This includes dividing community property between the spouses (partition of community property): child support: alimony (spousal support): child custody and injunctive relief to prohibit disposing of community property or prevent harassment. If there is agreement on these ancillary issues, agreements and stipulated judgments will need to drafted and filed. If there is no agreement on these ancillary issues, it will be necessary to litigate these issues in court before a judge.
The area of divorce law practice involves specialized legal procedures and local rules which must be followed. All divorce laws and procedures much be complied with to obtain a judgment of divorce. Pleadings must be in proper form and the case must be presented to the Judge Not all attorneys have experience in handling divorces cases so it is important to retain an attorney that has experience in this specialized field of law.
At our initial office conference, you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire to provide our office with accurate information regarding your potential case. An attorney will discuss and make recommendations regarding the above legal issues as well as give you an estimate on fees and costs. If you decide to retain our firm and our firm accepts your case, a written contract shall be executed If an issue is uncontested and non-problematic, normally a flat fee will be charged in advance of any work. If a matter is contested or problematic, a retainer will be charged in advance of any work. The attorney will then bill you on an hourly basis from said retainer. Estimated court costs will be required to be paid in advance as well.