Family Law

LAKE CHARLES FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS

At The Johnson Firm, we represent Southwest Louisiana clients in all areas of family law including divorce, custody, support, community property division, adoption, and those impacted by domestic violence. Let our experienced Lake Charles family law attorneys help you through the complex legal landscape and seek justice for you and your family.

What Is Family Law?

Family law is a specific area of state law handling issues related to families and households. While many people believe that family law only involves divorce lawyers in Lake Charles, a family law attorney can also help with issues such as child custody, spousal and child support, adoption, parental rights, community property issues and domestic violence.

A family case is a form of civil case that’s heard in a family court in Louisiana. Civil cases involve disputes or issues between two people, whereas criminal court involves a state or federal government prosecuting someone for a crime.

Family court has limited jurisdiction. In some instances, criminal and family law can overlap, such as in cases involving domestic abuse. If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may have an ongoing case in a family court while the other party may face a separate case through criminal court.

Types of Family Law Cases

The experienced Lake Charles family law attorneys at The Johnson Firm have served Southwest Louisiana since 1980 with compassion and a commitment to achieving the best possible outcome. Whether you want to change the terms of support or custody, are seeking a divorce, adopting a child, or needing to divide your community property, our attorneys are here to help.

Divorce

Divorce can be one of the most emotionally and financially devastating events you will ever endure. When a divorce is contested or complicated by property, child custody, or support issues, it’s even more challenging.

In 2016, Louisiana had the Divorce lawyers in Lake Charles can assist through every stage of the divorce process by helping gather evidence to support what you are asking for; assisting with setting terms for support, custody, and property division; negotiating a settlement; representing you in court; and providing sound and objective advice.

Child Custody

One of the most common areas in which a Lake Charles family law attorney can help is in matters of child custody. Custody can be a very contentious and emotional issue regardless of whether part of a divorce, long after the divorce, or if the parties were never married.

When the parents can’t decide on custody issues, the court will intervene and consider issues related to the best interest of the children – such as each parent’s income, and the mental and physical health of the parents, traditional roles of each parent, work schedules, and many other factors. Divorce and child custody lawyers will work with you to secure custody and arrange a situation that will benefit everyone.

Child Support

Any time there are issues involving child custody, whether part of a divorce or not, one of the biggest issues that needs to be resolved is child support. In Louisiana, child support is calculated based on a formula that relies on several factors – the income of each parent, the amount of time the child is with each parent, any child care related expenses, health insurance premiums paid on behalf of the child, and any extraordinary expenses of the child.  Louisiana has two child support calculations that can be used: one for when a parent has the majority of the time with the child and the other parent visits, and another calculation for when parents have equal time with the child or custody of the child.

An experienced family law attorney in Lake Charles can help you understand what to expect as a custodial or non-custodial parent and seek a fair and reasonable support amount.

Spousal Support

Spousal support or alimony is a separate support amount that may be awarded to a spouse during and after a divorce.  In Louisiana, there are two types of spousal support – Interim and Final.  In a divorce, the court may award interim support while the divorce is pending and up to six months after the divorce.  This type of support has nothing to do with fault and is determined based on the lifestyle of the parties during the marriage and the income and expenses of the parties at the time of the divorce.  Interim spousal support terminates if the spouse receiving support is living with someone in the manner of a married person.

Final spousal support is an amount awarded to a party that is free from fault in the breakup of the marriage and is in need of support.  It does not factor in the lifestyle of the marriage and is based on the spouse’s ability to meet their necessities.

There is not a formula for interim or final support like there is in child support, that means your attorney must present your evidence effectively for your spousal support result to be fair.  There are many issues that can impact how much and how long someone receives or pays support and if you are going through a divorce, it’s important to seek experienced legal counsel if you believe you are entitled to support or you believe your spouse will be seeking support.

Adoption

While many people work with family attorneys in Lake Charles during difficult times in their life, a family lawyer can also help you during one of the most wonderful – adopting a child. Louisiana recently set a record for the most adoptions in a year, with over 900 foster children being adopted.

This figure doesn’t even include other types of adoptions, such as stepparent adoptions and private adoptions. A family law attorney can guide you through the adoption process and navigate complications, especially with intra-family adoptions that require terminating parental rights and private adoptions with complex rules.

Whether you are looking to adopt, or whether you have been notified that someone wants to adopt your child, our Lake Charles family lawyers are here to help and guide you through this area of the law.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement may have negative connotations for some, but this legal tool is designed to protect both parties and any children in case of divorce.

A prenuptial agreement is used to clarify property and assets that have been brought into a marriage, make plans to care for and protect children from a previous relationship, and even plan for support if the marriage ends. A family law attorney at The Johnson Firm can help you create a binding and fair prenuptial agreement that protects both parties in case of divorce.

Domestic Violence

A domestic violence case involves threats or abuse between two individuals in a close relationship, whether or not they are or have ever been married. In cases involving domestic violence or stalking, a family attorney can help a victim who feels threatened and fears for their safety petition the court for a protective order.

A protective order can be long-term or temporary if there is immediate danger of abuse or harm. If an aggressor violates the order, which limits contact with the protected party, the aggressor can be arrested. A family law lawyer can also help clients fight false allegations of domestic violence.

Emancipation

Emancipation is a court process that allows a minor to become legally self-supporting with the adult responsibility to manage their own welfare. Through emancipation, a minor is no longer legally under the care of their parents.

Benefits of Working with a Family Law Lawyer

Many areas of family law can be incredibly complex. A Lake Charles family law attorney doesn’t just help you protect your legal rights; they also serve as your advocate and help you seek a fair resolution for all parties. Dealing with any type of legal situation is stressful enough, but it can be even more emotional and contentious when it comes to areas like child custody, spousal support, child support, community property partition, and divorce.

An experienced family law attorney has intimate knowledge of Louisiana family laws and uses this to seek the best possible outcome. Your attorney will also ensure paperwork is filed properly and help you navigate all areas of family law, whether adoption, support, asset division, or abuse.

How can hiring a lawyer help your case when filing for divorce? Even if you and your spouse agree on most issues, an attorney can make sure you are protected legally, ensure financial issues are fair, and make sure paperwork is completed correctly.

In a more contentious divorce or child custody matter, a family law attorney in Lake Charles can help avoid bullying and intimidation, seek financial security for yourself and/or children, provide objective support, and make sure the agreement is fair. Legal counsel is especially important if you believe your spouse is hiding assets, you have been subjected to abuse or neglect, or you are seeking spousal support and filing divorce on the grounds of fault.

What to Look for When Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

You have many options when hiring a family law attorney in Lake Charles to represent you. As you compare attorneys in your area, consider experience and expertise, but also how comfortable you feel with the attorney after a consultation.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions including how much experience the attorney has with cases similar to yours, past results they have achieved, and the strategy they would use to help resolve your case. Is the attorney easy to understand? Do you feel comfortable with their approach and having them represent you in negotiations or court?  Most importantly – do you trust them with your case and your family?

Contact a Lake Charles Family Law Attorney Today

No matter what type of family law issue you are facing, the compassionate family law attorneys at The Johnson Firm are here to help. We support you through the entire process and offer sound legal advice while protecting your rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation with a family law attorney or divorce lawyer in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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You’ll want a partner and advocate who can confidently maneuver the emotional and financial intricacies of any family law matter. From custody, child support, and community property, to adoption and prenuptial agreements, we’re committed to protecting you and the best interests of your family.

  • Jonathan and his staff worked tirelessly to get me and my children what I believed to be fair and reasonable.

    ANNE, Public Relations
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