Considering Divorce? Here's what you need to know:
Updated: Jun 7, 2021
I am not a big fan of The Grateful Dead, but they have a song where one of the lines is “I may be going to hell in a handbasket, but at least I’m enjoying the ride.” I’ll attribute such a Zen outlook to the use of LSD because most folks I deal with on a daily basis want to get off “the ride.” Of course, when it comes to divorce, “the ride” is almost always bumpy.
Divorce is rated by most “experts” as the 2nd most stressful event in someone’s life, second only to death of a loved one or yourself, either way death always wins. Only dark adult humor hear folks. In any event, even if you have not made peace with your mortality, somewhere between 40-50% of Americans finds themselves in a domestic divergent situation of some kind within their lifetime.
Everyone’s situation varies. Maybe your husband is cheating with your best friend, his best friend, or both. It’s the 21st Century and pretty much anything goes these days . . . not that there’s anything wrong with that. Of course, the aforementioned scenario also applies to your wife if you’re a guy. Perhaps your lifelong partner developed objectophilia resulting in an impasse in therapy because your spouse who was fixated on your shoes developed a new irresistible attraction to the therapist’s shoes. The point is that if your spouse is cheating on you, then you’re probably madder than a mosquito in a mannequin factory. Alternatively, maybe everything just fell apart after years of attacks on your self-confidence and arguments regarding your mother. Whatever the cause, you find yourself lost in a wilderness of overwhelmingly negative emotions and probably an excess of food and/or booze.
Never fear! We can help you make the right decisions to ensure a brighter future. You can trust us, because we, unlike your unyielding spouse, care about helping your future and want to help you build a better life outside of whatever situation ensued. We are on your side. So, stop talking to your neighbor, mailman, best friend, grandma or anyone else about your situation and face the inevitable!
Divorce, like most stressful things in our life, is usually postponed until the last possible second. Why handle something in the present when we can push it off to the future? After all, divorce requires A LOT of decisions, who gets which assets/debts, the kids, the iguana, the yacht, the summer house on the private island and on and on…. Even if you are not a multi-billionaire like the fictitious scenario we just threw at you, your situation requires MANY incredibly stressful decisions.
The phrase I most often hear from my family law clients when they walk through the door is, “I need to get a divorce. It’s not going to be complicated, and we agree on everything.” While we applaud your optimism, please NEVER say this phrase to any attorney, paralegal, legal assistant or even the receptionist. First of all, we won’t believe you and will probably tag your file with a big star which in our profession, is not a compliment.
In other words, divorce is hard. People’s feelings get hurt, good intentions become screaming matches in the Walmart parking lot because Fred, your soon-to-be former spouse just got a new girlfriend, or boyfriend, or both. It’s not that we don’t believe you, we just know how hard divorce is in the vast majority of cases. BECAUSE of this truth, we promise to try and help you navigate the entire ordeal with the accuracy of a sea captain in a hurricane. Furthermore, we just may be able to get the boat for you in the process.
All American Law Firm of LA is here to help if you need a divorce in the Shreveport Bossier City area. First things first, you need to know some facts about filing for divorce in Louisiana.
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
Have you lived separate and apart? Meaning has one of you moved OUT of the matrimonial home. Matrimonial home refers to the place you lived with your spouse, children, giant macaw, or however you made a home.
Do you have kids? Because if you do have “ankle biters,” it may take longer to extinguish the flames of your binding contract, a/k/a, your marriage license. But IF you have kids, you are used to waiting twice as long for everything anyway.
Louisiana Civil Code Art. 102 and 103 provide two options for filing of your Petition for Divorce, which will be the beginning of the process. Below is a breakdown of what each Petition means. If you live in the Shreveport Bossier area and are going to file for divorce, we can help you determine which one is the best course of action to get you out of your current situation and on a beach in Mexico with your new Tinder match.
A La. Civil Code Article 102 divorce applies when you have not lived separate and apart for the amount of time required by law prior to filing for divorce. This divorce is a “no-fault divorce”. Don’t worry you can still blame your spouse; it just won’t matter to the Court. How a 102 breaks down:
· You or your spouse should move to a new place PRIOR to the service of the petition. Meaning, the sheriff has to serve the other person AT A DIFFERENT ADDRESS, other than your own.
· Once the petition has been filed and service has been made on your spouse (or your spouse can waive formal service), you will be required to live apart for 6 months before the judgment of divorce can be made final. This means you cannot move back in with your spouse and no late night “booty calls” if you get lonely! I mean, you should not want to have anything to do with your spouse, but just in case, don’t do it !
· It’s the same scenario as above. Yep, living separate and apart needs to happen.
· However, if you have kid(s) under 18 years of age, instead of separating for 6 months you will need to be separated for 1 full year before the judgment of divorce can be finalized.
· Custody agreements will need to be made, which will be covered in a separate blog. Custody arrangements can be as simple or as complex as the couple chooses to make it. We suggest you do not take out your innate disappointment and anger on your spouse when it comes to custody because it may cause irreparable damage to your kids.
La. Civil Code Article 103 the couple has been living separate and apart for 6 months (no kids) or 1 year (with kids) prior to the divorce suit being filed. Here are some tips if you seek a 103 divorce:
· You have to prove you have not been living together! Seems simple enough but courts are sticklers for things like honesty.
· You have to know where your spouse is located so they can be served with the Petition for Divorce (or waive service if they want to get divorced as bad as you do). If not, you do not know their whereabouts, things get more complicated, but we’re sticking to the basics in this blog.
Here are some other tips to assist you in racing down your path to freedom:
· If you want to fight, there are lots of empty parking lots and/or abandoned buildings, don’t do it through your children! In other words, if you’re getting a divorce, make sure you act in a more mature fashion that your minor child when it comes to custody.
· If you want to fight, do your fighting in court. WARNING! It will get incredibly expensive if you decide you want to fight over stuff like those glasses and plates you bought at Walmart for $30.00 that have been sitting untouched in your cabinet for the last twenty (20) years.
· Assets: Make a list of any and all property: houses, bank accounts, retirement accounts, crypto currency investments (your spouse swore would make y’all rich), vehicles, beachfront property in Costa Rica, your swamp land where the Sasquatch lives, open prairie, beautiful desert property in Death Valley, or any other items of significant value. FYI, you will BOTH have to disclose anything and everything for the partition of the community of acquets and gains (what most folks call “community property). We’ll cover splitting up that vast financial empire you and your spouse have acquired in more detail in another blog.
· Debts: Yes, most of these can be split as well, so be sure to compile a list of who you owe and what you owe. Before you ask, the answer is “No. You will not be able to stick your spouse with all debts while you get all assets.” As a general rule, courts try to split the assets and debts in a 50/50 fashion unless there are credits owed.
· Compile your personal income and your spouse’s personal income because they will be necessary to determine child/spousal support.
· If you have kids, custody will be an issue. You and your spouse do not have it all worked out on custody despite what you may think. Even if you do, chances are something is going to happen that will change your perspective. Custody is usually the most likely scenario that will result in your spontaneous combustion due to rage, but the court will be interested in the “best interest of your child(ren),” not your sudden transformation into the outlaw Josey Wales (maybe the best Western ever made).
· BE RESPONSBLE, I know this is a harsh statement on your quest for eternal vengeance, but it is the best way to get through this process as fast as possible.
· Feel like you want to follow your former significant other? Before attempting an amateur stakeout session, talk to your attorney about whether or not a PI should be hired. It will also save your clothes from dirt while trying to hide out in a flower bed incognito style like some special forces commando.
· Did your soon to be former spouse do something ridiculous? Well, we are not surprised. After all, you are getting divorced, and they are crazy. However, your attorney is the one who needs to prove your former spouse is crazier than a three legged cat trying to cover up litter on an icy pond! Before doing something equally ridiculous in retaliation, calmly pick up your phone and call All American Law Firm of LA, LLC!
If the idea of divorce sticks in your craw like hair on a biscuit, let us help you if you live in the Shreveport Bossier City area. Whether it’s a simple divorce because “what happens in Vegas” did not stay in Vegas, or whether you made another wonderfully impulsive decision that you regretted after sobering up, or whether you are in a relationship and it is time to move on, our goal is to help make divorce as painless as possible for you and to “get it over with” as quickly as the law and facts dictate.
Legal Disclaimer: Warning! The rest of this blog contains legal jargon that is likely to create impulses to engage in self-harm. Small children and adults afflicted with a sensitive nature should be protected from reading this blog. All jokes aside, this blog content is made available for EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law. This guide is NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE specific to your case!! No representation of accuracy is made about the information presented in this guide; the law changes constantly, and new developments in the law may not account for any changes in the law. There is no attorney client relationship between you and us. This law firm does not wish to represent anyone desiring representation based upon viewing this answer in a state where this site fails to comply with all laws and ethical rules of that state. This answer should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.