Category: Divorce

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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 https://22ndjdc.org/forms/ ; 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.

Successions

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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