Baton Rouge Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is among the top 10 most stressful life events that anyone can go through. Not only is divorce heartbreaking, but it often involves complete family separation, community property partition, and financial instability for many spouses. It’s nearly impossible for a person to handle both the emotional and legal side of divorce alone. That’s why it’s so important to hire a Baton Rouge divorce lawyer to handle the legal issues while you focus on healing and moving onto better things.
At the Law Offices of Ossie Brown, we offer a variety of family law services including contested and uncontested divorces, child custody arrangements, and child support agreements. The goal of our Baton Rouge family law attorneys is to protect your legal rights and help you manage family disputes as smoothly as possible, given the circumstances.
Call a Baton Rouge divorce attorney at 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation today.
How Many U.S. Marriages End in Divorce?
About 50% of all marriages in the United States eventually end in divorce. However, both marriage and divorce rates have been on a steady decline over the past two decades.
2021 data from the CDC indicated that there were more than 1,985,000 marriages in the United States, which equals a marriage rate of 6 per 1,000 total population. In the same year, there were over 689,000 divorces, equaling a divorce rate of 2.5 per 1,000 total population. Since the year 2000, there has been a notable decrease in both marriage and divorce rates, with marriages decreasing from a rate of 8.2 and divorces decreasing from a rate of 4.
What Are the Most Common Reasons Why People Get Divorced?
Both marriage and divorce have been an area of intense study, especially by psychologists. After all, everyone is eager to understand what contributes to the longevity of a healthy marriage as well as the primary factors that lead to eventual separation. The leading causes of divorce according to more than 1,500 Americans involved in a 2005 study include:
- Lack of commitment
- Frequent conflicts
- Marrying at a young age
- Unrealistic expectations regarding marriage or a partner
- Imbalances in the relationship
- Inadequate marriage preparation
- Domestic abuse
- Financial instability and disputes over money
- Disagreements concerning household and domestic responsibilities
- Limited family support
- Religious differences
Fault Based vs. No Fault Divorce
Louisiana grants both fault and no-fault divorce proceedings. No fault divorces are those caused by irreconcilable differences between the spouses and the general deterioration of the relationship. In other words, neither spouse acted wrongfully which caused the deterioration of the marriage.
Meanwhile, fault based divorces are those caused by the wrongful actions of one or both spouses. Wrongful actions that warrant immediate divorce could include domestic abuse, adultery, receiving a felony conviction, etc.
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce
- Article 102 divorce in Louisiana mandates that both spouses live apart for at least 180 days before the finalization of the divorce if there are no minor children involved. If there are minor children involved, then the spouses must live apart for at least 365 days.
- Article 103 divorce in Louisiana mandates that both spouses live apart for at least 180 days before the finalization of the divorce, if there are no minor children involved. If there are minor children involved, then the spouses must live apart for at least 365 days.
Fault Grounds for Divorce
In a fault-based divorce, one or both spouses will have to gather evidence to prove to a judge that the other spouse committed wrongful acts that caused the overall deterioration of the marriage. The wrongful acts have to meet one of the following grounds for fault-based divorce:
- One spouse committed domestic violence and/or sexual abuse towards a person in the family home (whether that be the other spouse or a child).
- The other spouse committed adultery.
- The other spouse was convicted of a felony and has received a death sentence or imprisonment at hard labor.
- The filing spouse issued a protective order to protect themselves or their child.
How to File For Divorce in Louisiana
If you’re ready to begin the divorce process in Louisiana, you need to start by filing a divorce petition in the parish that you and/or your spouse lives in. You can also file a divorce petition in the parish that you and your spouse last lived in as a married couple according to Louisiana law (La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3941 (2022)).
If you’re unsure where your local court is, check out the Louisiana State Bar’s self-help page. All you have to do is select your parish at the bottom of the page to find your nearest courthouse.
If you or your spouse files an Article 102 divorce in Louisiana, then you will also need to file a Rule to Show Cause. The Rule to Show Cause basically proves to the court that divorce papers have been served to the non-filing spouse, the 180 day separation is complete, and the spouses have lived apart for the duration of these 180 days. The non-filing spouse has the right to respond and prove (AKA: show cause) why the divorce shouldn’t be finalized. The non-filing spouse can also file other incidental matters at this time, such as child custody, child support for minor children, and alimony.
Types of Divorce Cases
There are two main types of divorces: contested cases and uncontested cases. No matter what type of divorce you’re enduring, our divorce lawyers in Baton Rouge can help you get your affairs in order in a timely manner.
A contested divorce occurs when spouses fail to reach a consensus regarding the specifics of their divorce, including matters like child custody arrangements, spousal support, and the division of marital assets. Such divorce proceedings tend to be more complex, costly, and lengthy.
Hiring divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown is a must for these types of cases. We are dedicated to safeguarding your legal rights, offering unwavering support throughout the family court process, and striving to achieve the most favorable divorce resolution possible.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses reach a consensus on all aspects of their marital dissolution. Typically, uncontested divorces are quick, relatively cordial, and cost efficient resolutions. Some people even refer to an uncontested divorce as a “no court divorce,” because if both parties agree on all legal issues, there is usually no need to spend a fortune on lawyers and sit in court. Even still, it’s always advisable to seek legal counsel from a family law attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, just in case.
What is a Covenant Marriage?
Louisiana law (RS 9:272) states that a covenant marriage is a solemn commitment made by a husband and wife to remain together in matrimony indefinitely, regardless of the challenges that may arise. Only three states in the United States recognize covenant marriages, including Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona.
When entering into a covenant marriage, the two spouses are required to sign a declaration of intent, which outlines the following provisions:
- The husband and wife are committed to a lifelong union.
- Both spouses have openly and fully disclosed any information that could potentially impact the marriage adversely.
- The spouses have participated in premarital counseling together.
- In the event of marital conflicts or difficulties, the spouses are obligated to exhaust all efforts to preserve the marriage, including seeking additional marital counseling.
- The husband and wife must undergo premarital counseling under the guidance of a religious clergy member, such as a priest, rabbi, or minister.
Can You Get a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage?
In a covenant marriage, dissolution is possible; however, Louisiana law stipulates that couples must first undergo marital counseling. If counseling fails to yield results, separation in a covenant marriage is permitted under the specific circumstances described in RS 9:307, which include:
- Adultery committed by one spouse.
- A spouse’s commission of a felony punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
- Physical or sexual abuse of a spouse or child by the other spouse.
- One spouse’s absence from the home for a period exceeding one year, with a refusal to return.
- Both spouses living apart without reconciliation for a minimum of two years.
If you find yourself in a covenant marriage and seek a way out, it is vital to reach out to an experienced divorce attorney in Baton Rouge, LA. At the Law Offices of Ossie Brown, we can safeguard your legal rights, assist you in substantiating one of the aforementioned circumstances within your marriage, and guide you through the divorce process successfully.
What is Divorce Mediation?
If both spouses don’t agree on all aspects of family separation, marital asset division, and/or community property partition, but they don’t have the financial means to hire a lawyer, divorce mediation may be a cost-efficient solution.
Divorce mediation is when two spouses work out their disagreements with a neutral third party, called a mediator. These mediation sessions can happen in person or online, so they can be a good solution for ex-spouses who live in different states.
The mediator will help the spouses decide cordially on legal issues such as child custody, child support, alimony, community property partition, and more. The mediator can’t offer legal advice; in fact, many mediators encourage the spouses to hire a family law attorney to assist them as well.
Why You Need a Baton Rouge Divorce Lawyer
In a perfect world, all of us want a no-court divorce. Court orders and lawyers and extensive paperwork can make an incredibly stressful situation even more unbearable, but unfortunately, even the most amicable divorces require lawyers and courtroom visits.
You may need to hire a divorce attorney in the Baton Rouge area if the following issues apply to your situation:
- You Have Minor Children. Leaving a marriage with children is incredibly complicated, as you will have to decide on a child custody arrangement and child support plan with the other spouse. When emotions are already running high, it’s nearly impossible to handle these family law matters alone without expert legal counsel and neutral mediators. Our Baton Rouge, LA attorneys will help you come up with the most logical custody arrangement with your child’s best interests in mind.
- You Need Spousal Support. It’s very common for one spouse in the marriage to be the main breadwinner, while the other stays home with the kids or just makes very little money. So when a divorce happens, one spouse will have a natural financial advantage over the other. That’s when spousal support, AKA alimony, comes into play. The spouse who makes the most money will have to make court-ordered monthly payments to the other spouse upon the finalization of the divorce. Our divorce attorneys can help you obtain a fair alimony agreement so that you can continue living the same quality of life even after your divorce.
- You Have Marital Assets and/or Property. In Louisiana, property division will fall into two main categories – community property or separate property. Division of property is very confusing, especially in an already complex divorce case. It’s important to hire a legal professional to handle this for you.
- You Have Prenuptial Agreements or Postnuptial Agreements. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements lay out the legal rights and guidelines of each spouse in the event of a divorce. Navigating the legal jargon in these documents adds yet another layer of confusion and stress to the average divorce case. Allow our Baton Rouge divorce lawyers to navigate the complexities of these agreements for you.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Divorced in Louisiana?
The answer to this question depends on how complex your divorce case is. Generally speaking, contested divorces that involve minor children are the most expensive. They typically require extensive legal counsel on both sides, as well as numerous courtroom visits. Uncontested divorces are generally less complex and more affordable, but still, both spouses may end up hiring attorneys just to protect their legal rights.
Pricing structures for divorce attorneys vary depending on which law firm you go with. Some attorneys charge hourly fees, flat fees, or retainer fees. The best way to get a specific divorce price tag in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is to call a law firm and schedule a consultation.
There are divorce filing fees as well, which vary depending on the parish you file in. Generally, filing fees cost anywhere from $300 to $600 in Baton Rouge, LA. If you’re currently enduring financial issues, you may be able to file an affidavit with your parish courthouse to proceed with the case in forma pauperis (IFP). If the court grants the affidavit, then you can have your fees deferred until the finalization of the divorce.
By the time it’s all said and done, the average divorce can cost upwards of $10,000 per spouse.
Call a Baton Rouge Divorce Lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown TodayIf you’re enduring a divorce and family separation, it’s crucial to hire strong legal representation. At the Law Offices of Ossie Brown, we have the best divorce lawyers in the Baton Rouge area. We can ensure that even the most complex divorce and child custody proceedings go smoothly, and end in the best interests of our clients. Additionally, we will protect your legal rights every step of the way. Not only does our law firm handle family law matters, but we handle personal injury and criminal defense cases as well. No matter your legal issue, we can help you get through it. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown Today.
Let us review your case at no cost to you. We want to take the time to get to know you and understand your legal goals and objectives.
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The attorneys at The Law Offices of Ossie Brown are skilled in several practice areas and ready to discuss your case. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.