Frequently asked Divorce, Child Custody, and Family Questions

Divorce is a difficult matter.  The complex laws are made even more complicated by the large amount of emotions involved in every decision.  It is our goal to answer any and all of the questions that you may have.  If you have a question that is not covered on our website or is specific to your unique situation, give us a call at 985-240-9773.  We want to help you.
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  • Who pays the legal fees in a divorce?

    Simply put, in almost all Louisiana cases, each party pays their own costs and fees.

    This means – you pay for your attorney and filing fees and other costs, and your spouse pays for their attorney and filing fees and other costs.

    Who pays filing fees in a Louisiana divorce?

    If you want to file the divorce, be prepared to pay the filing fees and service costs – even if you don’t have an attorney.

    If you need to file an answer to a divorce, you are responsible for the filing fees.  The same thing with each time you want to contest something, file a motion for contempt, or attempt to change a prior court order.  Or, if you want to oppose a filing, fight a motion for contempt, or fight any filing in the divorce proceeding.

    A simple uncontested divorce may result in very few filing fees, but a contested divorce with child custody, child support, and/or property separation issues could result in filing fees really adding up.

    How much do filing fees cost?

    The next question is – well, what are the filing fees?  These are court dependent and set by the clerk of each court.

    You can check out the filing fees for St. Charles Parish, Jefferson Parish, St. John the Baptist Parish, Orleans Parish, Lafourche Parish, Terrebonne Parish, or other parishes at the Clerk of Court’s website or by calling the appropriate office.

    How much does a divorce lawyer cost?

    With regard to attorney fees – this is case-specific and will be dependent on a variety of factors.

    Most family law attorneys charge an hourly rate, but they can vary very much from lawyer to lawyer.

    The other factor is how much time the attorney spends on the case. Spouses arguing over everything from alimony and child support to minor things such as who gets the Yeti cooler can cause attorney’s fees to add up quickly.

    Who pays divorce attorney fees in Louisiana?

    In most divorce cases, each party is responsible for paying their own attorney’s fees.Divorce FAQ: Who Pays all of the Fees?

    In an at-fault divorce, the at-fault party will not be ordered to pay the fees of the other party simply as punishment for cheating or other marital misconduct.

    If one party continues filing unnecessary motions or drags proceedings out by refusing to cooperate, the judge may award attorney’s fees to the other party.  In these cases, the fee award would not pay for the entire divorce, just the extra time and court appearances caused by the bad faith of the party.

    In some cases where one spouse makes much more money than the other, the judge may order the higher-earning spouse to pay the attorney fees of the other spouse.  Simply because it would not be fair for one party to battle against a high-powered attorney without be able to afford counsel of their own at all.

    However, the judge will usually deduct what was paid for the attorney from your share of the joint assets when the property division is final.  Therefore, ultimately, the lawyer was paid out of your share of the money.

  • Can we use the same attorney during a divorce to save money?

    Divorce is expensive – both emotionally, physically and financially.  One way you may consider saving a few bucks is to reduce attorney fees by both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse using the same divorce attorney for legal representation.

    You wonder “Should we share a divorce attorney?

    Can you use the same lawyer in a divorce in Louisiana?

    Bad news – sharing a divorce lawyer is not possible in Louisiana.  You and your spouse – even if everything is agreed upon – are opposing parties in a divorce lawsuit.  This is an unwaivable conflict of interest for any attorney. The Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct do not permit an attorney to represent both parties in a lawsuit.

    Your Metairie Divorce Attorney cannot represent you and your spouse.  Neither can your Destrehan Divorce Lawyer. You and your spouse need to have a separate family law attorney in Louisiana.

    An attorney owes the client many duties including confidentiality, impartiality, and must look out for their client’s best interest.  This cannot happen if the attorney represents both sides – which is why the conflict cannot be waived.

    Even if spouses agree, sharing a divorce attorney in Louisiana isn’t just a bad idea, it’s not allowed.

    How can I save money in a divorce?

    Now, what does happen from time to time is one party retains an attorney and the other does not. Even in these situations, the attorney is not allowed to give any legal advice. The party without an attorney should remember the attorney is not there to protect their interests or ensure fairness.Can we save money by sharing a divorce lawyer?

    When to hire your own divorce lawyer

    If your situation includes:

    • complex finances,
    • spousal support,
    • child support or child custody issues,
    • an imbalance of information, money, or power

    Don’t be cheap - consult with a family lawyer before signing a settlement agreement as it could save you plenty more in the long run!‚Äč 

  • How much will the child support payment be?

    The breakup of any marriage is an emotional and often confusing time. 

    Many questions, thoughts, concerns, and fears you never knew you had start bubbling up to the surface. 

    You're looking for some clear guidance and answers to help you start the process of moving on to your new tomorrow. 

    I'm Loyd Bourgeois, an attorney practicing family and divorce law out of Luling, Louisiana and I'm here to help you get some answers to your frequently asked divorce and family law questions. 

    How much will I get/pay in child support?

    This is another frequently asked question of parents going through a divorce.  Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to this because each case is fact-specific. 

    Typically, courts will look at the gross income of both parents, how many children are involved in the divorce and other special circumstances in determining the amount of child support.

    A person's expenses are not part of the equation in determining child support because if that was the case, you could make your expenses match what you're earning to drive down your child support.  Would not be fair to your children. 

    What next?

    We want you to have our free divorce and family law guide, 16 Sensible and Smart Actions to Help Guide You in Planning and Preparing for your Louisiana Divorce.  Just click and complete the request form on the page, we'll email you this free important information.  

  • Who gets custody of the children?

    The breakup of any marriage is an emotional and often confusing time. 

    Many questions, thoughts, concerns, and fears you never knew you had start bubbling up to the surface. 

    You're looking for some clear guidance and answers to help you start the process of moving on to your new tomorrow. 

    I'm Loyd Bourgeois an attorney practicing family and divorce law out of Luling, Louisiana, and I'm here to help you get some answers to your frequently asked divorce and family law questions.  

    Who is going to get custody of the children?

    This is one of the most frequently asked questions of parents going through divorce, "Who's going to get the custody of the children?" 

    In Louisiana, custody can be determined primarily two ways; one is by consent of the parties where you and the other spouse agree on an arrangement that benefits and is beneficial and works for both of you and the children. 

    The other way is having a judge decide custody

    If the parents can't agree, which is not always possible, it will go to court and a judge will make a determination based on the best interests of the child. 

    What's next?

  • What is the difference between Joint Custody and Sole Custody?

    These two terms are often misunderstood when the care and decision making concerns of children are at stake in a divorce or child custody case.  While often used, each has a very specific meaning under Louisiana Law!

    What is Sole Custody?

    Sole Custody vs Joint CustodySole Custody means one parent has the sole, legal care and decision-making ability for a child.

    Sole custody is rare and is usually limited to situations where one parent is unfit or incapable of having any form of responsibility for a child -- for example, due to drug addiction or evidence of child abuse.

    With sole custody, the other parent may have periods of visitation.

    What is Joint Custody?

    Joint Custody means both parents share the care and decision-making ability for a child.

    Joint custody is preferred in Louisiana.

    Even if one parent has more actual physical custody of a child than the other, the custody is likely joint, with each parent able to exercise parental rights during their periods of custody (not visitation).

    If you are going through a divorce or have questions about your custody agreement, give us a call at 985-240-9773.