Frequently Asked Questions
Louisiana Grandparent’s Rights
Visitation may be granted to the parents of a child’s deceased parent or parent who has been declared legally incompetent if it is found to be in the best interest of the child.
What is a matrimonial agreement?
A matrimonial agreement is a contract establishing a regime of separation of property or modifying or terminating the legal regime. Spouses are free to establish by matrimonial agreement a regime of separation of property or modify the legal regime as provided by law. The provisions of the legal regime that have not been excluded or modified by agreement retain their force and effect.
Louisiana Property Division Factors
Louisiana is considered a “Community Property” state. Community property is defined as all property and debt that was acquired from the date of marriage until the marital cut-off date. The community assets and debt will be split equally between the parties by the Court if the spouses are unable to reach an agreement.
All separate property like gifts, inheritances, and property owned prior to the marriage will remain with each spouse. The court will take into consideration the needs of each spouse when determining how the property is to be split and each spouse has the right to ask the court to be awarded the marital home.
Louisiana Military Divorce Laws
Military Protection From Louisiana Divorce Proceedings
There are laws set up to protect active duty military members against being held in “default” from failing to respond to a divorce action. These laws were enacted to protect active military from being divorced without knowing it.
Under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521 and in the discretion of the local Louisiana court, the divorce proceeding may be postponed for the entire time the active service member is on duty and for up to 60 days thereafter. Also, this right to have the divorce proceedings postponed can be waived by any active duty member should he or she wish to get the divorce.
Louisiana Divorce Definitions
Filing Party Title:
The spouse who will initiate the Divorce by filing the required paperwork with the court.
Non-Filing Party Title:
The spouse who does not initiate the Divorce with the court.
The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.
Petition for Divorce
The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Louisiana Divorce process.
Judgment of Divorce
The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Louisiana Divorce process. This document will be signed by the judge to declare your marriage officially terminated.
Louisiana Child Support Definitions
(1) “Adjusted gross income” means gross income, minus amounts for preexisting child support or spousal support obligations paid to another who is not a party to the proceedings, or on behalf of a child who is not the subject of the action of the court.
(2) “Combined adjusted gross income” means the combined adjusted gross income of both parties.
(3) “Extraordinary medical expenses” means uninsured expenses over one hundred dollars for a single illness or condition. It includes but is not limited to reasonable and necessary costs for orthodontics, dental treatment, asthma treatment, physical therapy, uninsured chronic health problems, and professional counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders.
(4) “Gross income” means:
(a) The income from any source, including but not limited to salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, and spousal support received from a preexisting spousal support obligation;
(b) Expense reimbursement of in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business, if the reimbursements or payments are significant and reduce the parent’s personal living expenses. Such payments include but are not limited to a company car, free housing, or reimbursed meals; and
(c) Gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income, for purposes of income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership or a partnership or closely held corporation. “Ordinary and necessary expenses” shall not include amounts allowable by the Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support.
(d) As used herein, “gross income” does not include:
(i) Child support received, or benefits received from public assistance programs, including aid to families with dependent children, supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance.
ii) Per diem allowances which are not subject to federal income taxation under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
(iii) Extraordinary overtime or income attributed to seasonal work regardless of its percentage of gross income when, in the court’s discretion, the inclusion thereof would be inequitable to a party.
(5) “Health insurance premiums” means the actual amount paid by a party for providing health insurance on behalf of the child. It does not include any amount paid by an employer or any amounts paid for coverage of any other persons. If more than one dependent is covered by health insurance which is paid through a lump-sum dependent-coverage premium, and not all of such dependents are the subject of the guidelines calculation, the cost of the coverage shall be prorated among the dependents covered before being applied to the guidelines.
(6) “Income” means:
(a) Actual gross income of a party, if the party is employed to full capacity; or
(b) Potential income of a party, if the party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. A party shall not be deemed voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if he or she is absolutely unemployable or incapable of being employed, or if the unemployment or the underemployment results through no fault or neglect of the party.
(c) The court may also consider as income the benefits a party derives from expense-sharing or other sources; however, in determining the benefits of expense-sharing, the court shall not consider the income of another spouse, regardless of the legal regime under which the remarriage exists, except to the extent that such income is used directly to reduce the cost of a party’s actual expenses.
(7) “Net child care costs” means the reasonable costs of child care incurred by a party due to employment or job search, minus the value of the federal income tax credit for child care.
Deviation from Guidelines by Court :
The court may deviate from the guidelines set forth in this Part if their application would not be in the best interest of the child or would be inequitable to the parties. The court shall give specific oral or written reasons for the deviation, including a finding as to the amount of support that would have been required under a mechanical application of the guidelines and the particular facts and circumstances that warranted a deviation from the guidelines. The reasons shall be made part of the record of the proceedings.
Louisiana Grounds for Divorce
The Petition for Divorce is the initial document filed with the Louisiana court. It is in the document that the filing spouse will request the court to terminate the marriage under certain specified grounds.
A divorce may granted by the court on one of the following grounds:
No-Fault Based Grounds: Living separate and apart for at least 180 days prior to filing.
Fault Based Grounds: (1) Adultery. (2) Felony conviction. (3) Abandonment for a period of at least 1 year. (4) Physical or sexual abuse. (5) Living separate and apart for at least 2 years. (6) The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for a period of one year from the date the judgment of separation from bed and board was signed. (Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure – Article: 103)
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