Divorce, Custody, & Child Support
Divorce, Custody, & Child Support
Divorces, Child Custody & Visitation, Child Support, Alimony
We know how emotionally tasking divorces can be both on the spouses as well as the children of a troubled marriage. The divorce lawyers at Goff and Goff strive to provide zealous, yet compassionate, empathetic, and professional representation down this tough road, from the planning stages all the way through the end.
If you need a North Louisiana* attorney, the Ruston divorce attorneys at Goff and Goff can help you in a wide range of family law issues, such as child support, child custody, alimony, property divisions, child visitation, restraining orders, separation, and divorce. We can also advise you on whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you.
How long do I have to stay separated from my spouse before I can get divorced?
If there are no minor children of the marriage, generally the couple must stay separated for 6 months. If the couple has minor children, then the separation period is one year. However, there are some limited exceptions that may shorten the separation period.
My spouse has cheated on me. What are my rights?
Although adultery is an independent ground for divorce that could exempt the spouse from the separation period, it generally does not give the agrieved spouse any additional rights with regard to alimony, child support, or property division rights. However, the adulterous spouse would generally be prohibited from receiving alimony after the divorce is granted.
How much child support does my spouse have to pay?
Child support is calculated based on the relative gross monthly income of the parents. Generally, each parent’s gross monthly income is added together, then based on the specific circumstances, various additions and deductions are applied to determine the relative shares of the parents. Generally, the non-custodial parent pays his or her share to the custodial parent.
Who gets to live in the house while we are separated?
If the house was “community property” (purchased during the marriage), then either spouse may apply to the court to be awarded the right to occupy the home pending the resolution of the divorce and property division matters. The court, in making its decision, will take a number of factors into consideration, including but not limited to the stability of the minor children of the marriage. The spouse that is not awarded use of the community home can ask that the court make the other spouse pay rent.
Does my spouse have to pay me alimony (periodic spousal support)?
A spouse who is free from fault in the breakup of the marriage AND is in necessitous circumstances, may ask the court to have the other spouse, if that other spouse has the means, to pay a month amount up to a certain percentage of the paying spouse’s income.
I put my spouse through school and he now wants a divorce. Can I get my money back?
In some circumstances, Louisiana law does provide the opportunity for a spouse to collect a reasonable sum for financial contributions made to their other spouse’s education, training, and increased earning potential.
How can I keep my spouse from running off with all the money after I move out?
In order to keep your spouse from liquidating, hiding, or encumbering marital assets, one must get a court order. These orders can generally be obtained fairly quickly.
If we agree on everything, do we still have to go to court?
Although working things out is nearly always a good idea and more cost effective than fighting it out, in most circumstances a court order is required to make any agreement enforceable. Most judges require a personal appearance and agreement on the record, among other reason, to make sure that the spouses have not agreed under duress and in fact understand the consequences of their agreement.
Can both me and my spouse hire the same attorney in order to save money?
A divorcing couple should never attempt to hire a single attorney to represent them in a divorce or other family law proceeding. It is unethical for an attorney to represent both spouses because he would have a conflict of interest.
Does my spouse get part of what I had before we got married?
Generally, property you obtained prior to your marriage remains your separate property. However, there are circumstances in which separate property can become community property and thereby divided between the spouses. For example, generally speaking, interest on separate funds belongs to the community.
What is community property? Separate property?
Although there are numerous exceptions, generally community property is that which is acquired during the marriage. Separate property is general property that is obtained prior to the marriage, is inherited, or donated solely to one spouse.
If my spouse hires an attorney, do I have to have one too?
Although you technically do not have to have an attorney also, going it alone is very ill-advised. Regardless of what your spouse says, it is the duty of your spouse’s attorney to zealously represent your spouse and obtain whatever advantage he or she can within the bounds of the law and legal ethics. Your spouse’s attorney has no duty to see that you are treated fairly. You need someone to protect your interests so that you are not taken advantage of.
If my spouse won't let me see the kids, do I still have to pay child support?
Except in very narrow circumstances, child visitation rights and child support obligations are separate matters and failure to abide by a court order on one, does not necessarily relieve a court-ordered obligation for the other.
What if my spouse and I want to resolve the matter out of court?
Resolving the matter out of court often is best for everyone involved. With limited exceptions, couples that are going through a divorce can agree to about anything they want, as long as it does not adversely affect their children. One way to go about this is to participate in a process called mediation. In that situation the parties hire a neutral, third-party mediator to try to help the couple narrow and resolve as many of the custody, visitation, child support, alimony (spousal support) issues as they can before court. The mediator, usually a lawyer, does not offer legal advice, but rather facilitates discussions between the parties. Either side may have their own lawyer present (or “on call”) if they like, but such is not required. Resolving matters through mediations is often less expensive for the parties than fighting it out in court, and it gives the parties more control of their future, which may otherwise be decided by a judge.
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