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 income taxes? Who claims the children on taxes during divorce?

    Divorce FAQ: Who pays the taxes? Who claims the children?

    Who is responsible for paying income taxes during the divorce?

    The simple answer is – check with your accountant or tax advisor.

    The tax rules change frequently and having your CPA advise on what you need to do in your situation is best.

    The last thing you want – after a tough divorce – is the IRS banging on your door!

    Generally speaking, each person is responsible for their own taxes.

    This means you are responsible for your taxes and your spouse is responsible for their taxes.

    Now, how you file (married, single, head of household, etc., and joint or separate) will be dependent on your specific situation at the time of filing.

    Who claims the children as tax deductions after divorce or separation?

    Claiming a dependent child on your tax return can provide or increase certain breaks, including dependent or child tax credits, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and possibly a more favorable filing status.

    With regard to children, again – generally speaking – the right to claim the children as a dependent is governed by IRS rules.

    The rules say only one parent can claim a child in any given year for tax purposes.

    Two kids – great – in most cases – each parent claims one.

    What about if you have one kid or three kids – who gets to claim them then?

    In most cases, your divorce decree will spell this out – alternate years or have one parent claim all if most advantageous but pay a sum of money to the other – or some other agreed-upon arrangement.

    If there is no written agreement – the IRS says – whoever the child lives with the most (the custodial parent) gets to claim provided the child lived with the parent more than half the year.

    But there are ways for the noncustodial parent to claim a qualifying child.

    If the child spends equal time between both parents, then the parent with the highest adjusted gross income may claim the dependent.

    What happens if divorced parents both claim a child as a dependent?

    When both parents claim the child, ONLY return filed first will be accepted by the IRS.

    Because of this, it is always best to talk to your divorce attorney and have how the taxes will be handled clearly spelled out in your divorce decree.



  • How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Louisiana?

    How Long Will a Divorce Take?This is an interesting question because the answer is not as easy as the question or as easy as it first appears. The amount of time you must wait will vary depending on the specific issues involved.

    How Long Does a Divorce Take in Louisiana with No Minor Children?

    Under Louisiana law, you can receive a divorce in 180 days if there are no minor children. You must be separated or living apart during this time.

    How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Louisiana with Minor Children?

    If there are minor children involved, you can receive a divorce in Louisiana after living apart and separate for 365 days.

    How Long Does a Divorce Take if You Entered into a Covenant Marriage in Louisiana?

    If you entered into a covenant marriage, you may have a different mandatory waiting period to get divorced.

    For a divorce with a covenant marriage, one of the following grounds must be met:

    • adultery
    • a felony conviction
    • abandonment for a year or more
    • physical or sexual abuse of the spouse or children
    • The couple has lived separate and apart for two years; or the couple is judicially or legally separated and have lived separate and apart since the legal separation for (a) one year and six months if there is a minor child or children of the marriage; (b) one year if the separation was granted for abuse of a child of either spouse; or (c) one year in all other cases.

    If you entered into a covenant marriage and are filing for divorce, you should consult a skilled Metairie divorce lawyer to discuss your best path forward.

    How Long Does a Divorce Take from Start to Finish?

    The facts of your case will be different than others. An experienced divorce attorney can help you figure out what is best for you in your case.

    For an uncontested divorce, usually you can resolve issues without the involvement of a judge and this will lead to quicker results.

    For a contested divorce, you will need the legal advice of a family law attorney. Besides finalizing the divorce, there will also be issues of child custody, child support, spousal support/alimony, property division, and debt division. If agreements cannot be made, you will need to wait for court dates to proceed with the divorce process.

    Signing Divorce Papers is Rarely the End of the Road

    Just because a divorce is granted does not mean the divorce proceedings are over. There may be property issues and some may take extensive time to resolve – like selling a business, a property, or valuing either.

    And, if you have minor children, sure the divorce can happen in 365 days, but is it ever “over?” What about if changes occur – job, marital status, criminal history, etc.? Will the original custody order work or will it need modification?

    If you have these questions, a compassionate, local family law attorney can help!

    So, in my opinion – this is a question without an easy answer.

  • 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 being able to afford counsel of their own at all.

    However, the judge will usually deduct what was paid for the divorce 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:

    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 Luling, Louisiana child custody lawyer Loyd Bourgeois, 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 a 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?

    Sole Custody vs Joint 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 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 our child custody lawyers a call at 985-240-9773.