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Independence Day

I filed a Petition for Divorce for one of my clients on January 4 of this year, and almost immediately she began to anticipate her big “independence day.”  “Will I be divorced by the fourth of July?” she wanted to know.  “Almost,” was my partial reply.

In Louisiana, a couple married without minor children may be divorced after living separate and apart for 180 days after service of the Petition for Divorce.  In this client’s case, her spouse was served with her petition on January 13, so we will be finalizing her divorce a few days later than July 4, but to her it will be “independence day” in her mind.

But what does independence entail?  It’s more complicated sometimes than just being “freed” of the person you’re married to.  As much as you may just want it “over and done with,” the divorce decree itself is only the beginning of a divorce.  What about the property you acquired together; what about the bills, the bank accounts, the retirement savings invested over the years of the marriage?  All of that has to be sorted out, and while you’re waiting for that final judgment of divorce, there are a lot of details that require your attention.  Unfortunately, once you begin the divorce process, your emotional state will make it difficult for you to give the hard and fast details the attention they deserve. 

That’s why when you contemplate divorce, it’s important to plan ahead.  Many of my clients learn all too quickly how difficult it is to live on one income instead of two.  Having some money set aside in advance, maybe taking out a credit card or two, can help you to have the funds you need to get through that tough transition period once you and your spouse decide to part ways.

You should consult with an attorney before making the decision to leave the family home or asking your spouse to leave.  There are a lot of details involved in divorce that you probably have not considered, and you want to think carefully about those details before the chaos of the final breakup.  You need someone who can look at your situation and separate the facts from your complicated emotions and help you make decisions that are in your best interest.  That’s what we’re trained to do – to be objective, to advocate for your position, and to look out for you while you’re going through this rocky emotional terrain.

At Meneray Family Law, we will sit down and frankly, but confidentially, talk out your case – what’s important to you, what you’re worried about, what questions you have – and we’ll be able to make a plan to move forward. No decisions need to be made during that hour or so we spend together talking.  It’s a time for us to learn about each other, what you need and what we can do to assist you.  You can begin to contemplate that independence you desire, and how best to achieve it.

If you’re thinking about divorce and want to begin making a plan, call us at (504) 330-5522 for a confidential consultation.