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Divorce in Natchitoches Parish
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Online Divorce in Natchitoches Parish
Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, is a divorce document preparation service, not a law firm. Online Divorce is not eligible to provide legal advice. All the information below is for informational purposes only.
Nowadays, divorce does not have to be long and expensive. If divorcing spouses can reach an agreement with each other and have met Louisiana’s separation requirements, they can have a relatively inexpensive and quick divorce process. Of course, how easy and cheap will depend on the specific details of a couple’s situation. However, if both parties agree on child custody and parenting time, and the spouses do not have lots of marital assets to divide, a quick and affordable divorce can be their reality.
Under Louisiana's marriage and divorce laws, divorce is defined as the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court through a judicial order. Louisiana distinguishes between a non-covenant and a covenant marriage where the latter is a form of a marriage based on the couple’s religious beliefs and customs and requires a procedure other than a typical divorce.
The easiest way to end a non-covenant marriage in Louisiana is if the divorce can move forward with no contest. To achieve this, divorcing couples must iron out their divorce-related issues, such as child custody and visitation, child support and alimony, division of marital assets and allocation of debts, etc. The fastest way to show the court you have reached an agreement on these matters is by you and your spouse signing a marital settlement agreement.
For those who choose to pursue an uncontested divorce in a do-it-yourself manner, OnlineDivorce.com provides the assistance necessary to make the divorce proceeding in Natchitoches Parish, LA less complicated. As a documents preparation service, OnlineDivorce.com will complete all the necessary legal forms and provide detailed written instructions on how to file them with the court.
The length of the divorce process does not need to be excruciatingly long. Many spouses decide to sort out their differences and get a DIY divorce using the assistance that OnlineDivorce.com provides. As soon as spouses resolve their divorce-related disputes, they can save their time, money, and effort by doing an online divorce without lawyers.
In today’s highly technological world, preparing divorce papers online is a simple and commendable step that will help divorcing couples get on with their lives faster and mostly easily.
Here’s a quick guide on how to get a divorce in Natchitoches Parish, LA with necessary steps and Frequently Asked Questions on how to get your own divorce by yourself.
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Valid grounds to get divorce in Natchitoches Parish
In the majority of US states, including Louisiana, fault-based grounds for divorce have become a thing of the past. As a no-fault state, getting a divorce in Louisiana does not require any allegations against the other spouse. Any couple who has lived separate and apart for six months (1 year if they have minor children) can get a clean break and finalize the end of their marriage as a no-fault divorce.
At the same time, Louisiana also allows couples to file for a fault-based divorce under the grounds of adultery or a felony conviction. Fault-based grounds move be proven in court.
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According to Louisiana Civil Code Tit. V, Art. 131., Louisiana courts prefer both parents to share custody, which is referred to as joint custody. There are two forms of custody in Louisiana - legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the decision making power in the child’s life. Physical custody refers to who provides day-to-day care and living arrangements for the child. Sole of joint custody can be awarded for each.
In deciding on custody, Louisiana courts act based on the “child’s best interests,” which is assumed to be met when both parents have an active role in the child’s life, unless proven otherwise.
The parent’s are encouraged to come up with their own custody arrangement, either on their own or with the help of an attorney or mediator.
If the parents fail to decide custody amicably, the court will do it for them, taking the following factors into consideration:
The child’s age and material, educational, social, and emotional needs
Each parent’s home environment and a level of care they are able to provide on a daily basis
The interpersonal relationship between the child and the parents and siblings
Also, the court considers the child’s preferences and wishes.
In the case that the Louisiana court awards one parent with sole custody, the non-custodial parent will have visitation rights, unless it conflicts with the child’s best interests (for example, in the case of a history of domestic violence).
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Rules for child support in Natchitoches Parish
Under the Family Support Act of 1988, Louisiana courts carefully examine each parent’s circumstances and financial capacities as well as the child’s needs before deciding on the exact amount of child support payments.
In cases of sole custody, the non-custodial parent is usually required to pay child support exclusively to support the expenses on child care of the custodial parent.
In case of joint custody, both parents are required to pay child support which is determined by complicated mathematical formulas.
Natchitoches Parish, LA, determines the amount of child support paid by each parent by using the Income Shares Model and Louisiana Child Support Guidelines where the income of both parents, the number of children, and custody arrangements are factored in.
If something changes in circumstances of the parents and the child, such as loss of a job by one of the parents, parental disabilities, extraordinary medical expenses or community debt, and other related issues, either party can submit a request to change the amount or schedule of child support. After reviewing the application, the court can change predetermined amounts temporarily or permanently.
Rules for spousal support in Natchitoches Parish
Referred to as alimony in Louisiana, spousal support is a court-ordered payment from the higher-earning spouse to the other spouse. In Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana Civil Code CC 111 governs the issue of alimony.
The court reviews factors such as the couple’s standard of living during the marriage and each spouse’s income and earning potential. The idea behind the concept of spousal support is to allow the lesser earning spouse to maintain a similar standard of living that he or she had before the divorce proceedings started, especially if the couple has children.
If one spouse works full-time while the other is a stay-at-home parent, the Louisiana court will typically award at least interim spousal support (through the process of the divorce) to the latter.
Making a decision on spousal support, the judge factors in each spouse’s age and earning capacity, the length of the marriage, who is the custodial parent and the primary caregiver, and the amount of time the lower-earning spouse needs to get additional education or training and to find self-sufficient employment.
It is common for Louisiana courts to award the requesting spouse periodic post-divorce support, or extend the interim support for some time, to let them find appropriate employment.
Uncontested Natchitoches Parish divorce with children
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Property division in Natchitoches Parish
How is property divided in Louisiana? It depends on whether a state uses the community property model or equitable division model.
Louisiana is a community property state. Distinguishing between separate property (that the spouses acquired or obtained before the marriage) and marital property (that includes the family home and other shared real estate, cars, and bank accounts), Louisiana courts divide assets equally between the spouses by applying a community property standard, according to 2018 Louisiana Laws Civil Code CC 2338 - Community property.
The length of the marriage has no effect on property division in Natchitoches Parish, LA.
In Louisiana, debts are also part of marital property. However, they are not necessarily divided equally between the spouses. Typically, Louisiana courts order each spouse to pay off their debts exclusively, unless it is a credit card debt. Then both spouses are responsible to pay it off.
Usually, pensions and retirement plans also belong to marital assets subjected to division after the end of the marriage. However, each state has its local rules and regulations on how pension assets are divided and how pension benefits get paid.
Divorcing couples are advised to hire an actuary or Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to calculate the value of their retirement assets accumulated during marriage. In Louisiana, any pension or retirement assets accumulated prior to marriage or after the date of separation are not subjected to division because they are considered separate property.
Louisiana courts do not approve direct payments from spouses and require an approval of domestic relations orders (QDRO). After the plan administrator approves the QDRO, the account is divided between the primary payee and an alternate payee.
Mediation support in Natchitoches Parish
Mediation is an alternative way to work out disputes and contentious matters during divorce proceedings. The mediator serves as a neutral 3rd party who helps the spouses negotiate and meet their interests.
Fees charged for mediation are lower than that of attorneys. Often mediation expenses are divided between the parties in a 50/50 manner, but the court usually considers the financial situation and income of each spouse and makes a decision based on that. One may think that mediation only adds to the price of a divorce, but mediation often helps a couple to avoid a lengthy, heated trial greatly reducing both the financial and emotional cost of divorce.
In some cases, by using meditation, the divorcing spouses can make do without a lawyer’s assistance.
The court may require mediation if the couple cannot resolve child custody and visitation issues.
How to file for divorce in Natchitoches Parish | Step-by-Step
Find a parish to file the papers. If you meet the residency requirements, you can file either in the parish where you live, where your spouse lives, or where you both lived while husband and wife. Louisiana requires divorcing spouses to meet residency requirements (to have been a resident of the state for at least 12 months before filing for divorce) and separation requirements (to have lived separately 180 days for couples with no children and 12 months for couples with children before filing for divorce).
Obtain court forms to fill out. Court forms are available at your local parish or you can request printable forms from OnlineDivorce.com. Be cognizant of the fact that the court staff cannot give anyone legal advice but can help litigants with instructions on completing the forms. Although not all states permit self-help services, divorcing couples in Louisiana can use online resources and seek legal aid from law clinics.
Fill out the court forms. You can complete forms at the courthouse. Court staff assists with instructions on filling them out. However, the court staff cannot give legal advice. For couples that don’t want the hassle of dealing with the paperwork on their own and don’t want to pay an expensive lawyer, OnlineDivorce.com is the perfect solution. OnlineDivorce.com can complete all of your forms for you after you complete a simple questionnaire about the details of your case. And you can do it all from the comfort of your home. Be ready to remember the dates of your wedding and separation and provide the legal reason for the divorce. You will need information about your minor children, separate and/or marital property, and whether you expect alimony. Note that you must make two copies of each document: one for you and one for your spouse. Furthermore, you must notarize the divorce papers, which means you sign them in front of a notary. There is a notary’s fee for each document.
File your divorce papers with the court clerk. A court clerk accepts your paperwork, stamps it, and assigns a case number. You must pay a filing fee when filing the papers. If you can’t afford the filing fee, you can request to have the filing fee waived by submitting a fee waiver form together with the divorce papers. In Louisiana, the parties in the divorce proceedings are referred to as the petitioner (the spouse who files the Petition for Divorce) and the respondent (the spouse who responds to the Petition by filing the Answer). After filing, the petitioner will have 90 days to deliver a copy of the documents to the respondent. So you must decide how to serve him or her.
Serve your spouse. If you and your spouse are having an amicable divorce, you simply ask one of your friends or relatives (other than your children) to deliver the divorce papers to your spouse and bring back a notice of service, signed and dated. Or you can mail the divorce papers by certified mail, which requires the addressee to mail an ‘Acceptance of Service’ form back to you. If your spouse refuses to accept the divorce papers or is uncooperative in any way, hire a professional service server or a local sheriff to do the serving on your spouse. If your spouse is missing and you went to great length to find him or her, submit an Affidavit detailing your efforts to the court to allow you to serve by publishing.
The spouse responds to the serving of the papers. Your spouse has 15 days to file the response to your divorce petition. If the spouse is out of state or in the military, the time to respond is typically longer. If the spouse fails to file a response within the deadline indicated in the divorce papers, you may apply for a default judgment from the court.
Submit the date of service. In Louisiana, according to LSA. Civ. Code 111 (2019), you as the petitioner are required to file a “Rule to Show Cause” form, which lists the date of service.
Disclose financial information. Both you and your spouse must submit financial disclosures (called Financial Affidavit) to the court. By providing the court with the financial numbers for expenses, income, debts, and assets, the spouses reveal how the issues of child support and alimony can be resolved.
Wait until the judge signs a divorce decree. To finalize a divorce in Louisiana, the couple must have been separated for a determined period of time. If you filed for a divorce without meeting the separation requirement, the court will schedule a court hearing only after the 180-day period (if you have no minor children) or after the 365-day period (if you have minor children together).
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Filing fees for divorce in Natchitoches Parish
Before learning how much a Louisiana divorce can cost, one should remember about a forma pauperis option in Natchitoches Parish, LA. If a spouse wants to file for divorce but cannot afford all the fees, she or he can apply for a fee waiver.
In Natchitoches Parish, LA, the filing fees average about $200 to $350. The petitioner pays the filing fee when she or he files the divorce paperwork with the courthouse. Each additional court form filed after that will cost an additional fee.
How long will it take?
From the moment the petitioner files the divorce documents (having had a corresponding waiting period of 180 or 365 days), a Louisiana uncontested divorce typically takes 1 to 3 months. However, if the court is overloaded with paperwork, or if the divorce papers are not in order, or if the marital settlement agreement has discrepancies and does not meet the child’s best interests, the judge will take longer time to grant the final judgment.
Contested cases can take significantly longer. Often over a year.
Note: You need to keep an eye on the divorce timeline. If you hire a divorce attorney, they will remind you about important dates and court hearings. If you litigate on your own, make sure you have all dates of hearings, trials, and court orders punched into your online calendar or notification system.
Filing for divorce in Natchitoches Parish | Frequently Asked Questions
How Much does a Divorce Cost in Natchitoches Parish, LA It is difficult to put a price tag on a divorce because each case is different and a lot of factors can affect the cost. For example, if a couple is having an amicable DIY divorce and is eligible for a fee waiver, they will only have to pay notary fees and maybe an appraisal fee for the family home. In contrast, if a couple has a lot of marital property and requires mediation to sort out child custody and spousal support, the cost of divorce for them will be higher. In cases that go to a divorce trial, the couple will incur very high legal fees, mediation fees, insurance and retirement planner fees, etc. Therefore, the best way to reduce divorce costs is to negotiate and settle before going to the court.
How to file for divorce in Natchitoches Parish, LA without a lawyer? In Natchitoches Parish, LA, couples can represent themselves in a divorce case by filing paperwork on their own and signing a marital settlement agreement. OnlineDivorce.com provides an easy and fast solution in preparing the divorce paperwork.
What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Natchitoches Parish, LA? In Natchitoches Parish, LA, a DIY divorce is referred to as 103 Divorce. The main forms for a 103 Divorce include:
Petition for Divorce
Acceptance of Service
Motion for Preliminary Default
Affidavit of Facts
Judgment of Divorce
Can I file for legal separation in Natchitoches Parish, LA? In Louisiana, couples in a traditional marriage cannot file for legal separation. Legal separation is only available to couples in a covenant marriage and only with grounds for separation.
When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce? Louisiana has no waiting period for remarrying after dissolution of marriage is finalized. However, if a couple applies for a marriage license, they have to wait 72 hours.
Divorce in Natchitoches Parish online
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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:
We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
We give detailed, easy to follow step-by-step instructions for filing a divorce with the court - so the client knows exactly what to do to get his/her divorce finalized.
We provide unlimited technical support - if a client needs assistance through the online process, he/she can always reach out to us via phone, email, or live chat, and we'll do our best to help.
We save our clients time and money - if divorcing spouses agree regarding the terms of their divorce, they typically don’t have to pay thousands to a lawyer to handle their divorce forms and don't need to spend hours trying to do it all by themselves.
We guarantee 100% court approval on divorce papers prepared through our website or your money back - we have 21 years of experience in completing divorce forms so clients can be sure the court will accept their documents without issues.
With a contested divorce, spouses will have to go through numerous steps before the divorce is finalized, including:
prepare, file, and serve (deliver) the divorce petition
respond to the petition
interview and hire an attorney
pre-trial legal motions and hearings
settlement proposals and negotiations between attorneys
if settlement fails, prepare for and complete a court trial
appeal, if you dispute the trial judge’s decision(s)
Prepare to pay exorbitant attorney's fees - at least $2000-3000 depending on your case’s complexity.
Hourly rates vary with different attorneys and average $250-300 per hour. In rural areas, attorneys
may charge less. However, if you live in a large city, local attorneys may charge up to $1000 per hour.
At first glance, using such sites may look like an easy way to go, but it may turn into additional
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lack of guidance during the process
hidden fees, e.g., for any, even the simplest, revisions
outdated divorce forms causing court rejection
Did you know that some online divorce providers have virtual addresses in the US because they are
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