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Lake Charles
Divorce Lawyer

Fontenot & Shumaker are your trusted & Experience Divorce Attorneys in Lake Charles, Louisiana 

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Looking for a divorce attorney in Lake Charles? Facing a divorce can be one of the most challenging periods in a person’s life. It’s a time filled with emotional upheaval and significant changes, not just personally but legally and financially as well. That’s why having a knowledgeable and compassionate divorce lawyer in Lake Charles is essential. At Fontenot and Shumaker, we understand the complexities of divorce law in Louisiana and provide our clients with the guidance and support they need during this difficult time. Our expertise in handling divorce cases ensures that your rights are protected and your voice is heard.

Understanding Divorce Law in Lake Charles

In Lake Charles, divorce law falls under the broader umbrella of Louisiana’s legal system, which recognizes both no-fault and fault-based divorces. Each type has its unique aspects:

  • No-Fault Divorce: This option allows couples to dissolve their marriage without assigning blame. The key requirement is a period of living separately, which varies based on whether the couple has minor children. A no-fault divorce tends to be less contentious, focusing on future arrangements rather than past conflicts.


  • Fault-Based Divorce: In these cases, one spouse must allege and provide evidence for specific reasons for the breakdown of the marriage, such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment. Fault-based divorces can be more complex, often impacting decisions on alimony, child custody, and asset division.


At Fontenot and Shumaker, our approach is to help you understand the implications of each type of divorce. We guide our clients through the complexities of the legal requirements, ensuring that they make informed decisions that best suit their individual circumstances and protect their interests.

What Does a Divorce Attorney Do in Lake Charles? 

A divorce lawyer in Lake Charles plays a crucial role in navigating the often complex and emotional process of ending a marriage. Here’s what a divorce lawyer brings to the table:


  • Legal Expertise: A deep understanding of Louisiana’s divorce laws, including nuances specific to Lake Charles. This knowledge is vital in navigating legal proceedings effectively.


  • Objective Advice: During a time filled with emotional decisions, a divorce lawyer offers objective, clear-headed guidance to help you make informed choices.


  • Negotiation Skills: Skilled in negotiation, a divorce lawyer strives to reach fair agreements on issues like asset division, child custody, and spousal support.


  • Paperwork and Documentation: Handling all legal paperwork and ensuring that documents are filed correctly and on time is a critical part of a lawyer’s role.


  • Representation in Court: If your divorce case goes to court, having a lawyer to represent you is crucial. They will advocate on your behalf, present your case, and work towards the best possible outcome.


  • Support and Guidance: Beyond just legal aspects, a divorce lawyer provides support and guidance through what can be one of the most challenging times in your life.

Key Considerations in a Divorce Case

In a divorce case in Lake Charles, several critical aspects require careful consideration and skilled negotiation. Understanding these elements is crucial for a fair and equitable resolution:


  • Child Custody: Determining who will have custody of the children, including legal and physical custody arrangements. This decision is based on the best interests of the child, considering factors like the child’s age, parental bonds, and each parent’s ability to provide care.


  • Division of Assets: Equitable distribution of marital property, including assets and debts. This involves identifying what constitutes marital property versus individual property and ensuring a fair division.


  • Spousal Support: Also known as alimony, this is financial support provided by one spouse to the other post-divorce. The amount and duration depend on various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, and earning capacity.


  • Child Support: Ensuring that adequate financial support is provided for the children. This involves calculating expenses related to the child’s upbringing and apportioning responsibility between the parents.


Each of these areas can be complex, and the decisions made can have long-lasting impacts. At Fontenot and Shumaker, we focus on negotiating these terms thoughtfully and effectively, ensuring that your rights and needs, as well as those of your children, are at the forefront of all discussions.


The Divorce Process in Lake Charles

Understanding the divorce process in Lake Charles is crucial for anyone considering or going through a divorce. Here’s a step-by-step overview to give you a clearer picture of what to expect:

Filing for Divorce: The process begins with one spouse filing a petition for divorce with the local court. This document outlines the grounds for divorce and any initial requests regarding custody, support, or asset division.

Serving the Petition: The other spouse must be officially served with the divorce papers and given the opportunity to respond. This response will either agree with, dispute, or add to the initial petition’s requests.

Temporary Orders: In some cases, temporary orders for child custody, support, or spousal maintenance may be necessary while the divorce is ongoing.

Discovery Process: Both parties exchange information and documents related to their finances, assets, and other relevant matters. This phase is crucial for accurate and fair division of assets and determining support obligations.


Negotiation and Mediation: Many divorce cases involve negotiation or mediation to reach agreements on various issues. This can be a less adversarial and more cost-effective approach than going to trial.

Trial: If an agreement can’t be reached, the case will go to trial, where a judge will make the final decisions on all contested issues.

Finalizing the Divorce: Once all issues are resolved, either through agreement or by a judge’s decision, the divorce is finalized with a judgment from the court.

Throughout each of these steps, the guidance and support of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer are invaluable. At Fontenot and Shumaker, we guide our clients through each phase, offering expertise and advocacy to ensure their rights and interests are protected.

How to Choose The Right Divorce Lawyer in Lake Charles

Selecting the right divorce lawyer is a crucial decision that can significantly influence the outcome and experience of your divorce process. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing a divorce lawyer in Lake Charles:

1. Experience and Specialization: Look for a lawyer who specializes in divorce law and has substantial experience handling cases similar to yours. Their depth of knowledge and expertise in this field is invaluable.

2. Reputation and Client Feedback: Consider the lawyer’s reputation within the Lake Charles community. Client reviews and testimonials can provide insights into their professionalism, success rates, and client satisfaction.

3. Communication and Compatibility: Your lawyer should be someone you feel comfortable communicating with openly. It’s important that they understand your situation and can articulate legal concepts in an understandable way.

4. Availability: Check if the lawyer is readily available to address your concerns. Prompt responses and regular updates are signs of a dedicated and attentive legal professional.

5. Strategy and Approach: Each divorce case is unique, so your lawyer must offer a personalized approach. They should be able to develop a strategy that aligns with your specific circumstances and goals.

At Fontenot and Shumaker, we meet these criteria and go beyond. Our team is committed to providing not just legal representation, but a supportive and understanding environment, ensuring that your journey through the divorce process is as smooth and amicable as possible.

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2706 Hodges Street Lake Charles, Louisiana 70601

Lake Charles Divorce Attorney FAQ's

The cost of a divorce lawyer in Louisiana varies based on factors like case complexity, the lawyer’s experience, and the duration of proceedings. Lawyers may charge hourly rates or flat fees for simpler cases. Discussing fees during an initial consultation provides a clearer understanding.

In Louisiana, the required legal separation period before filing for a no-fault divorce is 180 days without minor children and 365 days with minor children. This period is essential for a no-fault divorce filing.

The quickest route to divorce in Louisiana is usually an uncontested divorce, where both spouses agree on all terms. This process is faster when parties cooperate and reach agreements promptly.

The time frame for a divorce in Louisiana varies. Uncontested divorces can be quick, often a few months, while contested divorces can take a year or more, depending on case complexity and court schedules.