Family Law Attorney

Family Law encompasses a wide range of issues within and regarding the family. Family law cases range from divorce to domestic violence and child abuse to questions of child custody and paternity. These cases are often multi-faceted, complicated, and create strong emotions.

Metairie Louisiana families, and those in the Greater New Orleans area, who are looking for representation need a team of attorneys they can rely on and who know the ins and outs of family law. In Louisiana, laws can be slightly different than in the rest of the U.S. Continue reading to learn more about some of the aspects of family law that often go to court in Louisiana.

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Adoption and Foster Care

One of the most important aspects of family law is taking care of children. For this reason, all adoption and foster care laws and disputes fall under family law. But how do adoptions work in Louisiana?

Louisiana is one of the only states in the U.S. that requires someone to be at least eighteen years old to adopt. Married couples filing jointly and relatives of the adoptee are able to adopt if they meet certain requirements under the Louisiana law, as well.

When working with an adoption agency, the biological parent(s) can consent to the adoption three days after the child’s birth. Without an adoption agency, the consent can be five days after the child’s birth. The adopting parent(s) is also allowed to pay for certain medical, living, and legal expenses for the biological parent(s). However, like in all of the U.S., it is illegal to offer money or anything of value in exchange for someone placing their child for adoption.

Divorce

Divorce is the most common reason people seek family law attorneys. Even though the divorce rate in Louisiana is only 12%, divorce is often a difficult time both emotionally and financially for all parties involved.

Because there are two types of marriages in Louisiana – covenant marriages and non-covenant marriages (regular marriages) – divorce can be a little more complicated than clients may imagine. For covenant marriages, a spouse can seek divorce only if the couple has attempted counseling and meets certain conditions.

Among other reasons, a spouse may seek divorce only if:

  • The other spouse committed adultery;
  • The other spouse committed a felony with a death or hard labor sentence;
  • The other spouse has physically or sexually abused the spouse or one of their children; or
  • The couple has been living apart continuously for more than two years

Even non-covenant or regular marriages have certain requirements, although they are not as severe as a covenant marriage. However, all divorce cases in Louisiana examine how long the couple has been residing in Louisiana, and require waiting periods before a couple can file for divorce.

In regards to property and assets, Louisiana is a “community property” state, meaning that, in case of a dispute, a judge will divide all property and assets acquired from the beginning of the marriage until the divorce 50/50 between the couple divorcing. Some exceptions can be made – including that of pre-marriage assets or gifts between the spouses – but generally speaking Louisiana judges use the community property split.

Child Support and Custody, etc.

Child support and custody cases sometimes go hand in hand with divorce cases. Each state has its own child support guidelines, and in Louisiana, child support depends on the financial resources of each parent and the needs of the child. Louisiana uses a method called “income shares” to calculate how much each parent owes for child support. This model is based on the amount of support that would be available if the parents were together and living together.

Louisiana child custody laws, on the other hand, are similar to the rest of the U.S. Typically speaking, the court in these types of cases tries to make a decision that will be in the best interests of the child, taking into account which parent will best be able to meet the daily needs of the child, including:

  • Physical needs
  • Emotional needs
  • Developmental needs
  • Educational needs
  • And special needs

Usually children are allowed to make their own decision about which parent to live with after the age of 11.

child support attorney - Creighton Macaluso law firm metairie louisiana

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a serious problem across the U.S., and unfortunately Louisiana is no different. In Louisiana, domestic abuse is defined as when one member of the household uses force or violence against one or more of the following people:

  • Current spouse
  • Someone who resided with the defendant as a spouse within five years of the domestic abuse
  • A child, stepchild, or foster child who lives with the defendant or has lived with the defendant within the past five years
  • A child of the defendant, regardless of where the child resides
  • A parent, grandparent, stepparent, or foster parent of the defendant
  • Current spouse
  • Someone who resided with the defendant as a spouse within five years of the domestic abuse
  • A child, stepchild, or foster child who lives with the defendant or has lived with the defendant within the past five years
  • A child of the defendant, regardless of where the child resides
  • A parent, grandparent, stepparent, or foster parent of the defendant

Domestic abuse victims in Louisiana can file for protective orders. Temporary protective orders are granted by the court when the victim seems to be in immediate danger. Final protective orders last for up to 18 months, at which time the court may hold another hearing to continue the victim’s protection. Anyone found in violation of a protective order in Louisiana may be punished by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

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How The Creighton Macaluso Law Firm Can Help

Regardless of the family issue or dispute that has led you to seek representation, our team at Creighton Macaluso Law Firm is here to help you navigate these complicated systems.

Call our practice at (504) 475-CMAC to schedule a consultation today.

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