BOSSIER CITY DIVORCE ATTORNEY
No one likes to think when they get married that one day their marriage might end in divorce. Unfortunately, divorce is very common, with at least 39% of marriages ending in divorce in the United States today. And while divorce rates in Louisiana have actually decreased over the past decade, the need for divorce attorneys still prevails.
With divorce comes a lot of stress and emotion, which can make handling all of the legal aspects that go into it considerably difficult. We can help with that. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we represent clients in a variety of family law matters such as divorce throughout the Shreveport and Bossier City, LA area.
Attorney at Law Michael J. Vergis understands the delicate nature of divorce proceedings. It often requires heavy litigation and mediation to protect your assets and ensure you receive a fair distribution of property, and when children are involved, things can get even more complicated. If you are considering filing for a divorce or have been served with divorce papers from your spouse, contact an experienced Louisiana divorce lawyer by calling our law firm at 318-618-8129 today to see how we can help you.
How Do I File for Divorce?
In Bossier City and the state of Louisiana as a whole, there are a few different methods for how divorces can be initiated. For one, an individual can file for a no-fault divorce and serve the papers to their spouse. If one spouse issues a Louisiana divorce petition, the other spouse can’t just deny it. However, a no-fault divorce requires the couple to live apart for 180 days (or 360 days if children are involved) before the actual divorce proceedings can take place. If the couple has already lived apart for the required amount of time before filing for divorce, one of the two can serve the papers and the process can begin.
A party can file for an immediate divorce only if they meet the requirements of a fault-based divorce in Louisiana.
Fault-Based Divorce Vs. No-Fault Divorce
The difference between no-fault divorces and fault divorces is that no-fault divorce isn’t caused by anything other than “irreconcilable differences” or an “irreparable disintegration of the marriage.” Meanwhile, fault divorce may result from one spouse:
- Committing domestic abuse (a spouse physically or sexually abuses the other spouse or their child)
- Committing adultery (See our blog Does Cheating Affect Alimony?)
- Receiving a felony conviction met with death or imprisonment with hard labor
- Abandoning the other
- Suffering a physical disability that prevents them from engaging in sexual intercourse with the other
- A protective order being issued by the spouse who was a victim of domestic violence
To file for at-fault divorce, Louisiana law requires the spouse that filed the divorce petition to prove one of the aforementioned faults. So if a spouse is claiming abuse, they must be able to prove it somehow. Only then will the court grant a judgment of divorce with fault.
Can You File For Divorce in a Covenant Marriage?Yes. Louisiana, Arkansas, and Arizona are the only three states that offer covenant marriages. Covenant marriages are very similar to regular marriages except they require more legal steps to “ensure” that the marriage will last forever. This does not mean you cannot file for divorce from a covenant marriage. However, because there are more steps in order to get into a covenant marriage, there are naturally more steps to get out of it. An experienced family lawyer is often necessary in cases like these.
Is a Divorce Attorney Necessary?Having a lawyer is not required for divorce proceedings to take place, although it is highly recommended if you want to ensure a fair settlement and smooth proceedings. In some cases, an uncontested divorce will go over fine without the assistance of an attorney. However, even if the terms of the divorce are mostly agreed upon, a divorce lawyer can still be extremely beneficial when it comes to protecting your legal rights and overall looking out for your best interests. An experienced divorce lawyer such as Michael Vergis understands the challenges that can arise in divorce proceedings and works to resolve potential issues on his clients behalf in an efficient and amicable manner.
Why You Might Need a Divorce AttorneyThere are a lot of issues that can arise in the process of divorce. Child support, child custody, visitation rights, alimony, and division of property are just some of the things that must be considered. A typical case requires intense evaluation, preparation, negotiations, and mediation. Sometimes the matters that must be tended to, even in an uncontested divorce, far surpass what the couple going through it can handle on their own. This is why it is important to have a qualified Bossier family law attorney working for you and defending your best interest in your divorce case.
Child SupportThere are a number of reasons why it is so important to seek legal help when dealing with matters of child support. Whether you need help determining a fair child support arrangement, want to lower your child support amount, or seek to collect overdue payments, Louisiana child support lawyer Michael J. Vergis can help.
Spousal SupportSpousal support, also known as alimony, is a monthly payment made from one spouse to another once a judgment of divorce is final. If you’re newly divorced and you’re seeking permanent, final, or interim spousal support, you need legal support from a Bossier City alimony attorney who will fight for the monthly alimony checks you deserve.
Child CustodyUnfortunately, things can get messy quickly when it comes to determining child custody arrangements in divorce cases. Obtaining a Bossier child custody lawyer for a matter as delicate as this ensures the best possible outcome for you and your child.
Division of PropertyIn Louisiana property division cases, the property will fall into two separate categories: marital property (also known as community property) and separate property. An experienced divorce lawyer like Michael Vergis will fight to protect your assets and ensure you receive a fair distribution of property.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial AgreementsIf you are considering a pre-marital or post-marital agreement, or if you have any more questions regarding these legal documents, consulting with an experienced postnup and prenup attorney like Mr. Vergis can give you a better understanding of the importance of an agreement like this and help you get started with one.
How Much Does a Divorce Attorney Cost?
The price of a divorce attorney varies significantly due to there being many factors and considerations that come with these types of cases. You may be looking at anywhere from a couple of thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Overall, the cost of an attorney and court fees largely depends on your own specific situation.
It also depends largely on the skill and experience of the lawyer you choose to represent you. Their reputation and track record of litigating divorce matters will contribute to how much you’ll pay in attorney fees.
Lawyers charge for their legal services in many different ways. The standard process is straightforward pay-by-the-hour billing. The average attorney hourly fee can range anywhere from $80 to $400 or more per hour. This fee covers research and preparation, phone calls, emails, meetings, and court appearances.
Other times, lawyers may charge a flat fee for their work. Uncontested divorce cases will likely have a smaller flat fee. More complex, contested divorce cases may be considerably more. With that in mind, you can expect a flat fee ranging anywhere between $3,000 to $30,000.
In addition to hourly and flat fee billing, some divorce attorneys choose to charge on a retainer basis. A retainer basis refers to a fee paid in advance from which the attorney will deduct their expenses as the case progresses. If the case concludes quickly, you may even get refunded any money that wasn’t used. On the other hand, if the case exceeds the retainer, you may need to provide additional payment. Your attorney will keep a complete record of all charges and expenses so you know exactly where your money is going.
How to Find a Good Divorce Attorney in Bossier City
Having a good divorce lawyer on your side can dramatically impact the process of a divorce. It can make all the difference in the way the divorce progresses and how good of an outcome you have in your situation. It can also be the difference between feeling as if you’re alone in this battle or knowing you have someone advocating for you and protecting your interests.
When searching for a good attorney, you want someone experienced in family law matters. It is important that your lawyer fully understands the ever-changing nature of divorce and family law. Once you narrow down your search, make sure to read client and peer reviews of your prospective attorney. Don’t underestimate the power of a review. The phrase “their reputation precedes them” certainly matters in the search for a good lawyer.
What others in their profession have to say is important, but what clients have to say is sometimes even more so. You want to gain a good perspective on what it is like working with this person and how they might go about handling your case. You should also conduct research on similar previous cases and how successful they were.