Category: Divorce

FAQs During the Divorce Process Insights from a Louisiana Lawyer
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Frequently Asked Questions During the Divorce Process: Insights from a Louisiana Lawyer

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally challenging and legally complex process. As a Louisiana lawyer concentrating in family law, I frequently encounter clients who have various concerns and questions about divorce. In this blog post, I will address five frequently asked questions during the divorce process. Understanding these answers can help provide clarity and guidance for those navigating the complexities of divorce in Louisiana.

1. How long does it take to get a divorce in Louisiana?

The duration of a divorce in Louisiana can vary depending on whether either party is legally at fault for the divorce and whether there are minor children involved.  If there are no children involved, parties must live apart for six months compared to a year if there are minor children of the marriage

2. What are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Louisiana?

To file for divorce in Louisiana, at least one spouse must be domiciled in the state. Additionally, the filing must occur in the parish (county) where either spouse is domiciled.

3. How is property divided during a divorce in Louisiana?

Louisiana follows a community property system, which means that assets and debts acquired during the marriage are generally considered community property and are subject to equal division between spouses.  There are several exceptions to this rule as some property may be considered the separate property of a spouse depending on how it was acquired.  For instance, an inheritance is normally the separate property of the inheriting spouse.

4. What factors are considered in determining child custody in Louisiana?

When determining child custody, Louisiana courts prioritize the best interests of the child. Factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to provide a stable environment, the child’s preference (if of sufficient age and maturity), and any history of abuse or neglect are taken into account. Court’s typically award parents joint custody; however, a court may award a parent sole custody if warranted by the circumstances.

5. Can child support and spousal support be modified?

Child support and spousal support (alimony) orders can be modified if there is a material change in circumstances, such as a significant change in income, job loss, or a child’s changing needs. However, modifications must be approved by the court and are subject to specific legal requirements. Consulting with an attorney can help navigate the process of modifying support orders.


Divorce can be a complex and overwhelming process, but having a clear understanding of frequently asked questions can provide valuable insights. Remember that every divorce case is unique, and seeking the guidance of an experienced Louisiana lawyer is crucial to protecting your rights and interests. By working closely with legal professionals, you can navigate the divorce process with confidence and achieve the best possible outcome.

Oriol Law Firm, St. Tammany Parish Lawyer in Terra Bella
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Your Guide to a Successful Divorce: Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

Your Guide to a Successful Divorce: Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes

Divorce is a monumental process that often has lifelong consequences which means that making informed decisions is paramount. The divorce journey can be emotionally taxing and legally complex, and financially challenging, so approaching it with careful consideration and expert guidance is imperative. Here, we delve into five all-too-common mistakes that individuals often make during divorce proceedings, along with tips on how to avoid them.

Remember, every divorce case is unique, and seeking guidance from a qualified attorney is crucial to avoid these mistakes and achieve the best possible outcome. To ensure you’re on the right track, consider scheduling a consultation by calling our office at 985-845-2227.

  1. Insufficient Planning

As the old saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” One of the biggest blunders in divorce proceedings is embarking on the journey without proper planning which can lead to unfavorable outcomes and prolonged disputes. To steer clear of this pitfall, take the time to understand your rights, gather all pertinent financial documents, and consult with an experienced attorney before initiating the divorce process. A well-laid plan sets the tone for a smoother divorce journey.

  1. Lack of Communication

Communication breakdowns between spouses escalate conflicts and hinder progress in divorce negotiations. Open lines of communication are especially critical when discussing matters like child custody, property division, and financial arrangements. Prioritize effective communication to ensure a fair and mutually acceptable settlement which can save thousands in costs and years of stress.

  1. Neglecting Emotional Well-being

Divorce affects emotional well-being, potentially impacting decision-making, and overall mental health. It’s crucial to seek emotional support from friends, family, or professional counselors to navigate this challenging period. By prioritizing self-care, you can approach negotiations with a clearer mind and make decisions that align with your long-term best interests.

  1. Hiding Facts from your Attorney

Attempting to conceal facts or withholding information from your attorney during divorce proceedings is a grave error. Full transparency with your attorney is necessary to get the best possible representation and outcome.  Your attorney cannot properly advise and represent you without all the facts.

  1. Rushing the Process

Rushing through the divorce process or agreeing to a quick settlement might seem like a quick escape during the emotional upheaval. However, making impulsive decisions can lead to long-term repercussions. Take the time to thoroughly evaluate each aspect of the divorce with your attorney and consult with other financial professionals when necessary to ensure that the final settlement is fair, reasonable, and aligned with your long-term goals.

In conclusion, divorce is a significant life transition that requires careful consideration and thoughtful decision-making. Avoiding these common mistakes—insufficient planning, lack of communication, neglecting emotional well-being, hiding facts from your attorney, and rushing the process—can pave the way for a more favorable outcome. 

Remember, seeking guidance from a qualified attorney is pivotal in ensuring your divorce journey is as smooth and successful as possible. To begin your journey toward a well-informed and favorable divorce, schedule a consultation by calling our office at 985-845-2227. Your future deserves the best possible outcome from these difficult circumstances.

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What is Child Support?

Child support is an obligation for one or both parents to provide financial support for their children in order to ensure that the children’s needs are met. Child support is usually paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent (the parent with whom the child primarily lives). The amount of child support to be paid is usually determined by state law, often based on the gross income of both parents. Child support payments may be used to cover a variety of expenses, such as food, housing, clothing, medical care, educational costs, extracurricular activities, and other needs. It is important to note that child support is distinct from child custody and visitation arrangements.
Child support in Louisiana is determined using the Louisiana Child Support Guidelines. The amount of support a parent is required to pay is based on the gross income of both parents and the number of children in the family. The guidelines are designed to ensure that the child receives support in an amount that is commensurate with the parents’ incomes. Parents may also be required to provide medical insurance for the child, pay a portion of any uninsured medical expenses and other educational and extra-curricular expenses.

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How is Income Calculated for Child Support Purposes?

Child support is calculated using the gross income of the parents. Gross income is income from any source, including but not limited to salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, recurring monetary gifts, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, basic and variable allowances for housing and subsistence from military pay and benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disaster unemployment assistance received from the United States Department of Labor, disability insurance benefits, and spousal support received from a preexisting spousal support obligation; Expense reimbursement or 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.
An overwhelming majority of cases involves two parents who received their income in the form of W-2 wages, and gross income is the income before taxes and other deductions. In those cases, determining gross income is not usually rather simple. However, determining gross income for self-employed parents is significantly more complicated.

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Who Can Get Child Support?

In Louisiana, either parent can get child support payments from the other parent. The parent may be married, unmarried, or divorced. The parent that is not the primary caretaker of the child is usually the one that will be required to make the payments. Child support can also be requested by a parent or guardian who has primary physical custody of the child. The parent or guardian must be able to prove that the other parent or guardian is financially responsible for the child’s well-being.
The amount of payments is determined by the court and is based on a number of factors, such as the income of both parents and the needs of the child.
Nonparents such as grandparents may get child support from the biological parents if they have legal custody of a child; however, to receive child support, grandparents may need to file a petition in court and provide evidence of their legal custody or guardianship. Additionally, the grandparents may need to show that the parent is not providing financial support for the child.

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How do I get Child Support and How Much Can I get?

You can get child support by filing a petition with the court. The court will consider several factors, such as the amount of time the child spends with each parent, the child’s financial needs, and the parents’ incomes. Once a child support order is in place, the paying parent must make the payments to the other parent.

The amount of child support you can get depends on a few factors:
• the number of children you have with the other parent,
• your income,
• the other parent’s income, and
• the kind of custody you have of the child (shared or not).
Child support in Louisiana is based on the need of the child or children and the ability of the other parent to pay child support.

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DIY: Filing for Divorce on your own

So you’ve decided that you’re ready to file for divorce. What comes next? Well, in Louisiana, there are required periods of separation in order to be eligible for a divorce. If you have minor children, you must be living separate and apart for 365 days. If you don’t have minor children, that separation period is lessened to 180 days.

It is always a good idea to at least consult with an attorney about your options prior to filing for divorce. However, sometimes your situation may be simple enough that you can file for divorce on your own, without the help of an attorney. If you don’t have minor children together (or are completely on the same page about custody and support), and don’t have extensive community assets, it may be possible to get divorced without incurring the costs for an attorney. In this blog, we’ll talk about the two different divorce filings, and how to file for an Article 103.1 divorce on your own.

In Louisiana, there are two options for filing for divorce. There’s a divorce under Article 102, which means that you have not yet started the required separation period, but intend to as of the date of filing. A divorce under Article 103 is essentially the opposite: you file under Article 103.1 when you and your former spouse have already completed the necessary separation period and are ready to move forward with filing and confirming the divorce. There are many other differences between these two types of divorces and you should consult with an attorney prior to determining how you will file.

Assuming you and your spouse have been separate and apart for the requisite amount of time, and you’re ready to file for divorce under Article 103.1, the following bullet points should guide you on how to get your uncontested divorce filed and confirmed in a few short weeks.

In St. Tammany Parish, standardized forms are available for you on ; here, you will click on “Divorce Forms,”and click on the Petition for 103 Divorce along with the Checklist. Make sure to print these out on legal sized paper (Office Depot or your local library may be able to do this for you).

You will fill out the forms, and at the end, there’s an option to either have your spouse formally served by a sheriff’s deputy, or to have your spouse “waive service.” Make sure that you indicate a detailed and correct address. If your spouse is going to waive service, that means they are willing to sign the waiver of service form that’s contained in the Petition for 103 Divorce, in front of a notary. This will save you some money, so it’s the best option if it’s feasible.

Once your former spouse has been served or the waiver of service has been filed into the court record, your spouse has 15 calendar days to file an answer. Assuming the divorce is uncontested and they don’t file an answer, the next step is to fill out file the page titled “Preliminary Default” into the court record. This form is simple and indicates to the court that your former spouse was served or waived service, and that the deadline to file an answer has passed.

Once you file this Preliminary Default, you must wait until it is signed by the Judge. Call the Clerk of Court routinely and ask for an update on the status of your preliminary default (have your docket number and division handy; they can be found at the top of your divorce paperwork).

Once your preliminary default has been entered, there will be an affidavit that was contained inside the Petition for Divorce that must be filled out and signed in front of a notary. Once you complete the affidavit, attach two copies of the judgment (the packet only comes with one) and your checklist (this should be complicated with the dates the Petition was filed, the date service was waived or made upon the defendant, and the date of preliminary default), and file all three forms in the court record. Within a few weeks, the judgment will be presented to the Judge for signature. If everything is in order and has been properly filed, the Judge will sign off on your divorce and mail both parties a certified copy of your divorce decree.

Congratulations! Once you receive your divorce decree, it is official!

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Family Law

Divorce is a difficult time in anyone’s life. At Oriol Law Firm in Covington, Louisiana, we are here to provide help when you need us most. Please contact Oriol Law Firm for assistance with your family law issue. We serve clients in St. Tammany Parish and the surrounding areas in need of the following legal services:

  • Divorce: We offer trusted legal advice and representation throughout the divorce process, helping our clients resolve family law issues such as asset and debt division, spousal support, child custody and child support.
  • Division of Property: Louisiana is a community property state, which means that property accumulated during your marriage will usually be divided 50-50. However, determining what is community property and what isn’t can be complicated.
  • Spousal Support: Spousal support may be an issue in your divorce, depending on how long you were married and whether there are income disparities between you and your spouse.
  • Child Custody, Visitation and Support: In Louisiana, courts presume that joint custody will be in the best interests of the child unless there are compelling reasons for one parent to have sole custody, and arriving at a reasonable custody schedule that considers the best interest of the child can be difficult.
  • Modifications to Child Support and Custody: Child support and child custody can be changed after your divorce if there is a change in your circumstances. However, you will need court approval for many modifications or you could face fines and even jail time for acting without court approval.
  • Inter-Family and Foreign Adoptions: Certain closely related family members may adopt children in a stream-lined adoption process known as the Intra-Family Adoption. While this process requires knowledge of the procedural requirements, it is usually less costly and more efficient than a traditional adoption.Children adopted from foreign countries may have their adoption recodnized by the State of Lousiana. This process involves providing the required documentation to a Court in the parish you reside.
  • Interdictions: Unfortunately, there are those who cannot make important decisions for themselves. These individuals often include special needs, the elderly, and those with significant medical conditions, and it is important that a family member or loved one be appointed by a Court to make decisions on their behalf.
  • Mediations: Sometimes you need a skilled litigator to fight for you, and other times you need a skilled mediator to help resolve a stressful and emotional matter. David Oriol is experienced and highly trained in litigation and mediation.
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Estate Planning

An estate plan can play a vital role in your peace of mind and financial security. An experienced and attentive attorney can ensure that your estate plan accurately reflects your wishes and protects your interests. David Oriol is a skilled attorney who establishes last will and testaments in accordance with their clients’ wishes and best interests, and you can count on him for skilled help with your estate plan.

Types of Estate Planning Documents

There are several estate planning directives that can benefit you, your family and your family’s legacy. At Oriol Law Firm we can help you explore your options in establishing any or all of the following:

  • Last Will and Testament: This directive comes into effect after you die and directs how you want your estate to be divided. In your will, you can appoint an administrator, who will handle the succession process. In a last will and testament, you essentially give your estate away in proportionate amounts and leave particular items to particular individuals. For example, you may decide to leave all of your cash to one child and all of your real estate to another. Or, you may choose to gift money to an organization and leave the remainder of your estate to your family.
  • Trusts: You may want to leave a portion of your estate to someone incapable of managing that gift, such as a child. A trust will ensure that your gift is appropriately managed to the benefit of the individual to whom it was intended.
  • Powers of Attorney: By granting an individual power of attorney, you are giving him or her the ability to conduct financial business on your behalf. For example, the person with power of attorney can sign your checks, make withdrawals out of your bank accounts and pay your bills on your behalf. Powers of Attorney can also include a provision for medical situations.

If you need estate planning documents such as a will document, or if you are unsure about which documents you require, call us at (985) 845-2227 to arrange a consultation. You can also contact us online.


When a person is named as administrator or appointed as executor of a last will and testament, he or she is tasked with various responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities can seem overwhelming, particularly if the individual has recently lost a close family member or friend.

At Oriol Law Firm we represent administrators and executors and can provide the legal representation to ensure the succession process is as seamless as possible. We also regularly assist out-of-state clients with succession needs in Louisiana. Contact our law firm to schedule your consultation.

Duties of Executors

As an executor, you will become responsible for participating in certain legal procedures. David Oriol can ensure you meet your responsibilities in the process of obtaining will enforcement, which is essentially the enforcement of your loved one’s wishes.
As an executor, you will need to ensure that the following estate administration duties are met:

  • Open the succession
  • Identify heirs and beneficiaries
  • Identify and value estate’s property and assets
  • Pay estate debts (if applicable)
  • Pay estate taxes (if applicable)
  • Appear in court (if necessary)

Distribute property and assets to heirs

The above is not an all-inclusive list, and there are many complicated nuances involved in a succession. David Oriol can ensure you meet all of your duties, file the proper paperwork and provide skilled advice and guidance throughout the succession process. If you have been named as executor or administrator, call us at (985) 845-2227 to arrange a consultation. You can also contact us online.

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