The base cost of a divorce in Louisiana varies from county to county. Someone who is filing a petition for divorce may have to pay anywhere from $100 to $400 for this service depending on their service. In addition, if you must serve a spouse with a copy of the complaint and do not feel comfortable doing this yourself, you must pay a small fee to a sheriff’s office or to a process server.
The best way to save time and money is for couples to agree to work together even before filing for divorce. If you are sure you and your spouse can cooperate, you can presume your expenses will be low when estimating how much does a divorce cost in Louisiana. Though your spouse will officially be served with a copy of the complaint, before you begin this process the couple should draw up a mutually satisfactory agreement covering such common areas of dispute as:
• Child custody arrangements
• Payment of joint debts
• Child support payments
• Alimony payments
• Visitation rights
When a written agreement can be created, no lawyers need be involved. Using templates that can be found in many forms online, couples can easily prepare a document for a judge to approve. Preparing this paperwork without a lawyer will help reduce your estimation of how much does a divorce cost in Louisiana.
After a spouse is served with notice of the complaint lodged against them, they are allowed to formally contest the divorce by filing an official response with the court. They will be charged an additional fee for this paperwork. Be sure to distinguish between expenses charged to one individual and those that may be split between the couple when estimating how much does a divorce cost in Louisiana. During the pretrial process, informal court-supervised meetings will attempt to help couples resolve their differences with the help of a neutral, publicly-appointed divorce process.
For couples who agree on the importance of creating a separation agreement to present to the court, it may be worthwhile to share the expense of a lawyer specializing in divorce mediation. This attorney can help resolve disputes and prepare a legally correct document to submit to the court.
If an agreement covering all areas of dispute cannot be arrived at, one or both spouses may wish to retain private legal counsel to advise them in court. These types of lawyers often charge an expensive fee by the hour. This will require you to revise your estimate of how much does a divorce cost in Louisiana. Should you decide you need an attorney’s services, be sure to receive a detailed written estimate of how many hours they expect to work on your case and what your final bill will be.
In awarding child custody payments, Louisiana judges must first consider what official state guidelines dictate. However, they are free to take into consideration any factor they feel is relevant when modifying the requested payment, including:
• The child’s needs
• Both parents’ financial resources
• Urgent medical expenses incurred by either the child or either parent
• Disability of the person being sought payments