Shreveport Bossier City Contested Divorce Lawyer

Divorce proceedings are almost never an easy process. Making the decision to end a marriage can be the hardest (but sometimes best) decision you can make for yourself and your family. However, deciding how to split assets, debts, and property can complicate this already complicated process.

If your soon-to-be-ex-spouse is fighting you every step of the way, you need a Bossier City attorney for contested divorce. Michael J. Vergis is a Louisiana divorce lawyer with more than 25 years of experience helping families through this tenuous process. For more information about our legal services and how we can help, contact our law office today by calling (318) 698-3724.

Louisiana Divorce Laws

Louisiana is a state that recognizes both no-fault divorces and fault-based divorce cases. In a no-fault divorce case, you don’t have to prove that the breakdown of the marriage is anyone’s fault. You simply have to live apart for 180 days (365 days if the couple has minor children) and then issue a divorce petition, under Louisiana Civil Code 102.

Fault-based divorce cases can be filed immediately and without a separation period if one party can prove that the other caused “irreconcilable differences” or “irreparable disintegration of the marriage.” Divorce with fault can only be granted if you can prove:

  • Domestic abuse (spouse physically abusing children or spouse)
  • Cheating/adultery
  • Abandonment
  • A felony conviction that results in death or imprisonment with hard labor

Louisiana is also one of three states that recognizes covenant marriage. Ending a covenant marriage through divorce is significantly more complicated. If you are trying to end a covenant marriage, it’s critical to get help from an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

Bossier City Contested Divorce Lawyer

What Does it Mean if a Divorce is Contested?

In addition to no-fault and fault-based divorce, divorces in Louisiana can be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce means that the couple can’t (or won’t) come to an agreement on major issues like child custody or property division. Below, we’ll go into more detail about the differences between a contested divorce and an uncontested divorce. 

Contested Divorce vs. Uncontested Divorce

Unlike a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is one where all parties come to an agreement. Uncontested divorce cases are often much simpler. Couples seeking an uncontested divorce are encouraged to meet with a lawyer to confirm all the paperwork is correct before making everything official. Uncontested divorce cases can have minimal involvement from attorneys before a judge releases a divorce decree. 

Contested divorces often need the involvement of mediators, attorneys, and judges to come to an agreement about the terms of the divorce. If the couple cannot come to an agreement about the terms of the divorce, the case will go to trial. Contested divorce cases can be extremely overwhelming and stressful situations. Working with an experienced divorce attorney during this process can protect your rights and keep your best interest in mind.   

Legal Issues Within a Contested Divorce Case

A seemingly never-ending stream of legal issues can crop up during a divorce proceeding. Arguments over spousal support, property division, and child support can drive a wedge further between you and your former spouse. This is why it’s important to work with an experienced contested divorce attorney like Michael J. Vergis. 

Prenups and Postnups

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can protect your assets and your rights in the event of a divorce. While these agreements can’t help determine child custody or child support, they can prevent arguments about other issues that come up during divorce proceedings. 

Spousal Support

Going from two incomes to one (or from one to zero) is an unfortunate consequence of divorce. During a marriage, both partners work to upkeep the home and make purchases for the benefit of the marriage. Spousal support, or alimony, can help provide the monetary support you need after separation. Michael J. Vergis is an experienced Bossier City alimony attorney who can help. 

Property Division

Louisiana law has two categories for property division in divorce. Separate property typically remains in the hands of the person who brought it into the marriage. Community property, or marital property, includes assets, income, and debts accumulated during the marriage. Splitting both income and debt responsibilities can be an extremely difficult process.  

Child Support and Child Custody

Child support and child custody are some of the most common issues fought over during divorce. Full custody, shared custody, visitation rights, and child support are all issues that need to be agreed upon by both parties. If your contested divorce involves children, you need an attorney experienced in family law. Fortunately for you, Michael J. Vergis is an experienced Bossier family law attorney

Bossier City Contested Divorce Attorney

Why You Need an Attorney for Contested Divorce

Even the most amicable divorce is still a legal battle. Divorce attorneys can help you through this emotionally taxing process. The attorney fees are worth the peace of mind of knowing that an experienced divorce attorney is fighting to protect your assets. Uncontested divorces can sometimes proceed successfully without an attorney, but contested divorces are a whole different rodeo. Having a Bossier City divorce attorney by your side during a contested divorce can protect your rights and ensure your best interests are kept in mind. 

How Much Does a Contested Divorce Cost?

Contested divorces often require more time and effort than an uncontested divorce, so they often cost more. The final cost depends on a variety of factors, including how much time you and your attorney spend fighting with your spouse. Attorneys can charge retainer fees in addition to hourly or flat fees. These fees go towards the research and preparation your attorney spends on your case as well as court appearances. Hourly fees can range anywhere from $80 to $400 or more per hour, while flat fees can range from $3,000 to $30,000. 

The best way to know exactly what to expect from your divorce lawyer is by requesting a consultation regarding your case. There, your attorney will answer any and all questions you may have.

Contact Northwest Louisiana Divorce Lawyer Michael J. Vergis Today

At the Law Offices of Michael J. Vergis, we understand the negative emotions you may be experiencing during this time. That’s why we do everything we can to make this process as easy as possible for you and your family. Michael J. Vergis has experience with all aspects of family and marriage law. To schedule your initial consultation, call us today at (318) 698-3724.