Divorce is never easy. If you find yourself in the murky waters of contemplating a divorce, it’s often difficult to get past your emotions and understand really what your options are. The truth is there are several ways in Louisiana to get divorced.
You have a choice! Make sure that instead of acting out of fear, you look carefully at your situation, consider your finances, and chose the option that’s best for your family. A divorce planning consultation can often help you answer these questions and help you decide which process will work best for you.
This is the traditional way that most people go through divorce. The process goes something like this:
You hire and attorney (who requires a retainer and usually charges by the hour) and they file a Petition for Divorce;
Your spouse is served by the sheriff with the Petition;
Your spouse hires an attorney (who requires an attorney who requires a retainer and charges by the hour);
The attorneys spend lots of time and money exchanging information and fighting back and forth (while charging by the hour);
You and your spouse, finally exhausted and depleted by the process either agree to settle OR you and your spouse go all the way to trial, costing you lots of money, lots of stress and what’s left of your amicable relationship.
The good news is most parties do not need litigation to resolve their divorce issues. With the right guidance and legal information, most couples are able to reach fair agreements outside of the Court system.
In a Mediated Divorce, a neutral mediator, most often an attorney, helps the couple reach agreements in areas of disagreements. The couple retains control of their divorce, and settle their case in a way that makes sense for their family and future.
You still need an attorney if you are going through a mediated divorce. The mediator helps you resolve the issues and the attorney puts them in an Order and presents them to the judge to sign. The attorney must also do the legal work to actually get you divorced.
Because the cost of mediation is shared by the parties as opposed to both parties paying attorneys to go to court, it is less expensive than a litigated divorce. The attorney fees are much lower as well and many attorneys, like Simply Divorce, offer flat fees to couples using mediation. The best part: you and your spouse craft the judgments that you will have to live with in the future and preserve your respect in the process.
If you can still talk to your spouse, settling the issues between the two of you and having a lawyer put those agreements in a binding legal form will cost the least amount of money. Again, you still need a lawyer to put those agreements in an Order and present it to the judge and to do the legal work to get you divorced, but this is much less expensive than going the litigation route.
If you and your spouse can’t talk, you can ask your attorney to negotiate a deal with the opposing attorney. Unfortunately, once lawyers get involved, plan for things to get expensive. Another option to settlement is a four way settlement conference between the parties and their attorneys.
The most important thing to do if you want a negotiated divorce, is to choose a lawyer whose style and expertise is in reaching agreements, not cut throat litigation. Often the demeanor and advice of the attorney at the outset of the divorce, can set the tone for the rest of the process.