Family is at the heart of everything we do
Our dedicated team of family law attorneys is committed to helping clients in New Orleans and the surrounding areas navigate the complexities of family law matters. Whether you're facing a divorce, custody dispute, or any other family-related legal issue, our experienced attorneys are here to provide you with the guidance and support you need.
WHAT IS FAMILY LAW?
Family law encompasses a wide range of legal issues that relate to family relationships and domestic matters. It is a specialized field of law that deals with the rights and responsibilities of individuals within a family unit. Family law matters often involve emotional and sensitive issues, and it's crucial to have a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney by your side to help you through these challenges.
TYPES OF FAMILY LAW MATTERS
Our dedicated team at The Law Firm of Lewis-Crawford is experienced in handling various family law matters, including:
If you are contemplating divorce or have already made the difficult decision to end your marriage, our attorneys can guide you through the legal process, including property division, alimony, and child custody and support matters.
In Louisiana, you can file for divorce under Article 102 or Article 103(1) of the Louisiana Civil Code. Under Article 102, you and your spouse must live separate and apart at different residences for 180 days before the divorce can be finalized. Under Article 103(1), you and your spouse must have already lived separate and apart at different residences for 180 days before you can file for divorce.
Note that for both Article 102 and 103(1) divorce, the 180-day separation requirement increases to 365 days if you and your spouse have minor children together. In addition, for both types of divorce, living separate and apart means that you and your spouse.
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
When disputes arise over child custody and visitation rights, we work tirelessly to protect the best interests of your children and help you reach a fair and sustainable custody arrangement.
Child custody in Louisiana is either agreed upon by the parents or taken to court where the judge will decide. Parents can work together to decide who will be the domiciliary parent in Louisiana or you can fight it out in court if an agreement is not possible.
In short, you have two options: Parents agree, or Judge determines child custody.
Louisiana Civil Code Article 132 tells us that, “If the parents agree who is to have custody, the court shall award custody in accordance with their agreement unless the best interest of the child requires a different award. In the absence of agreement, or if the agreement is not in the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to the parents jointly; however, if custody in one parent is shown by clear and convincing evidence to serve the best interest of the child, the court shall award custody to that parent.”
This means that parents can agree to a child custody, but their agreement must be what’s best for the child or the court can intervene and award joint custody to the parents or in the extreme case – sole custody.
If you can’t agree on child custody, then you can take your matter to court and let the judge hear your case.
We can assist with establishing child support agreements, modifying existing orders, and ensuring that your child's financial needs are met.
Even if you don’t earn primary physical custody over your children in a divorce, you still have legal obligations to their development and health. The court will order the non-custodial parent to pay child support until the child turns 18 years old, becomes emancipated or graduates high school before reaching 19 years of age.
Child support is calculated using both parents combined adjusted gross monthly income and the number of children in need of support. Visitation (called “parenting time” in Louisiana) doesn’t factor into child support calculations. The noncustodial parent may not legally withhold child support payments and the custodial parent may not legally deny the other parenting time for nonpayment without court intervention.
COMMUNITY PROPERTY IN LOUISIANA
Property rights and distribution are often one of the more confusing aspects of divorce. Louisiana’s community property laws help to answer questions about each party’s rights to property and what kinds of property may be divided between divorcing spouses.
There are two types of property in a marriage: community property and separate property. Community property includes real and personal property:
Acquired during the marriage by either party.
Acquired using other community or separate property.
Donated (or gifted) to both parties jointly.
Produced by other community property, including royalties and interest, unless otherwise claimed as separate property by either party.
Awarded as damages for the injury or loss of other community property.
Any property that was acquired before the marriage or during the marriage from personal gifts, inheritances, insurance or personal injury settlements is considered separate property.
Each party holds exclusive rights to their own separate property, which isn’t divided and distributed after divorce. However, each party holds a 50 percent interest in all community property. If neither party can agree to how their community property should be distributed or if there is no prenuptial agreement, the court may decide to evenly distribute it among them.
WHEN SHOULD YOU HIRE AN ATTORNEY?
Knowing when to hire a family law attorney is crucial in protecting your rights and achieving the best possible outcome for your case. You should consider consulting with an attorney when:
You are contemplating divorce or legal separation.
You are involved in a child custody or visitation dispute.
You need assistance with child support or alimony matters.
You are facing domestic violence or need a restraining order.
You want to create or modify a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
You are considering adoption and need legal guidance.
WHY CHOOSE THE LAW FIRM OF LEWIS-CRAWFORD?
At The Law Firm of Lewis-Crawford, we are dedicated to providing our clients with compassionate, personalized, and effective legal representation. Our attorneys have a deep understanding of the complexities of family law and the unique challenges that families face. We prioritize open communication, strategic legal planning, and zealous advocacy to protect your rights and interests.
If you are in need of a family law attorney in New Orleans or the surrounding areas, don't hesitate to contact us today. We are here to guide you through the legal process, advocate for your rights, and help you achieve a favorable resolution to your family law matter. Your family's future is important to us, and we are ready to assist you every step of the way.