Frequently Asked Family Law Questions
No matter what family law issue you have encountered, you are going to have questions. At the law firm of Weems, Schimpf, Haines, Shemwell & Moore (APLC), we pride ourselves on providing the answers you need to make the decisions that are right for you.
While every case is different, here are answers to general questions people often have about divorce and other family law matters.
Will My Divorce Go To Trial?
Divorces rarely go to trial. Most are resolved through negotiation or a form of alternative dispute resolution like mediation. Many people prefer it this way as it empowers them to create their own outcomes. Negotiated outcomes tend to be less stressful, less time-consuming and less costly than going to trial.
However, there are cases where a trial is necessary because of one party’s unwillingness to act fairly or rationally. At the outset of the case, it may not always be clear that this will happen, so it is valuable to have a lawyer who is skilled at and will prepare for trial even while pursuing a more amicable resolution.
How Much Does Divorce Cost?
The cost of divorce will depend on the complexity. A divorce in which the couple’s assets are limited to a home and modest savings will tend to cost less than a divorce in which a couple is battling over child custody and the division of businesses, multiple real estate holdings, art collections and other assets. After reviewing the specifics of your case, your attorney will be able to provide a more accurate estimate of divorce costs.
How Long Does A Divorce Take?
Like cost, the length of the divorce process also depends on the complexity. The more matters there are to resolve, the longer it will likely take to resolve them. A case resolved through negotiation typically takes less time than a case that goes to trial. That being said, the shortest possible duration for a Louisiana no-fault divorce is 180 days.
Who Gets The Kids?
Neither parent is favored under Louisiana law. The goal is to do what is in the best interest of the child. Barring extenuating circumstances, child custody arrangements will likely allow the child to have a continuing relationship with each parent.
Is Property Divided 50-50?
Louisiana is one of the few states that divide property in a divorce in accordance with community property laws. Typically, community property is divided equally between spouses. Spouses are able to keep their own separate property, which is property acquired prior to the marriage, as well as inheritances and gifts.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
There is no legal requirement to hire a lawyer. However, Louisiana family law is particularly complex. Further, there is much more to these matters than just what it says in law books. An experienced lawyer will not only know the law but understand courts, judges, opposing lawyers and the other parties and factors that will play a role in your case. A lawyer who handles these matters daily will be able to find the most effective and efficient strategy for achieving your goals. If you are concerned about cost, bear in mind that a skilled lawyer can ultimately save you money and time by avoiding costly wrong turns and slip-ups.