Why should I hire an attorney in solo practice instead of a firm with multiple attorneys?
When you hire a firm with multiple attorneys, you may hire their firm based on the reputation and experience of the most experienced attorney in the firm. Your case may then be passed off to be handled by someone else in the firm with less experience or skill.
When you hire Katherine L. Hurst, Attorney At Law, you can be assured that she will handle your case personally.
Do you provide free consultations?
Potential clients are exposed to a lot of advertising offering free consultations. These are generally attorneys handling the types of cases where they are paid on a contingency basis, meaning they receive a percentage of whatever money they recover for their clients. The nature of our cases are generally very different so clients are charged on an hourly basis. Initial consultations are charged at a rate reduced from our ordinary hourly rate.
Can you represent both parties in a divorce?
One attorney cannot adequately represent the interests of both parties due to inherent conflicts of interest. We will only represent one party and recommend that both parties have their own representation to protect their interests.
How long will it take to finish my case?
There are many variables so it varies. No-fault divorces require a waiting period of living separate and apart to finalize a divorce: six months if there are no minor children, one year if the couple has minor children. Fault divorces involving adultery or domestic violence do not require a waiting period. How much the parties are in agreement or in dispute over issues such as child custody, child support and division of property can also impact how long a case will take to reach a conclusion.
What factors does the Court weigh in determining custody?
Sole custody is rarely granted. Joint custody is presumed, by law, to be in the best interests of the child. In joint custody cases, the Court ordinarily designates a domiciliary parent. This parent has primary physical custody and decision-making. In determining custody, the Court is required to consider the following factors in determining the best interest of the child/children:
LA Civil Code Article 134:
Except as provided in Paragraph B of this Article, the court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the best interest of the child.
The potential for the child to be abused, as defined by Children’s Code Article 603(2), which shall be the primary consideration.
The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child.
The capacity and disposition of each party to give the child love, affection, and spiritual guidance and to continue the education and rearing of the child.
The capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, and other material needs.
The length of time the child has lived in a stable, adequate environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity of that environment.
The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.
The moral fitness of each party, insofar as it affects the welfare of the child.
The history of substance abuse, violence, or criminal activity of any party.
The mental and physical health of each party. Evidence that an abused parent suffers from the effects of past abuse shall not be grounds for denying that parent custody.
The home, school, and community history of the child.
The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference.
The willingness and ability of each party to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other party, except when evidence of specific abusive, reckless, or illegal conduct has caused one party to have reasonable concerns for the child's safety or well-being while in the care of the other party.
The distance between the respective residences of the parties.
The responsibility for the care and rearing of the child previously exercised by each party.
In cases involving a history of committing family violence, as defined in R.S. 9:362, or domestic abuse, as defined in R.S. 46:2132, including sexual abuse, as defined in R.S. 14:403(A)(4)(b), whether or not a party has sought relief under any applicable law, the court shall determine an award of custody or visitation in accordance with R.S. 9:341 and 364. The court may only find a history of committing family violence if the court finds that one incident of family violence has resulted in serious bodily injury or the court finds more than one incident of family violence.
At what age can a child decide which parent they will live with?
There is a common misperception that when a child reaches a certain age they can decide their own custody. Minor children are not able to make this decision. The Court decides custody. The reasonable preference of the child, if the Court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference, is only one of fifteen (15) factors the Court must weigh in making custody determinations.
How do I best protect my children during the divorce or custody dispute?
Be honest with your children without burdening them with adult information.
Do not discuss the litigation with your children.
Do not disparage their other parent to your children or allow them to hear their other parent being disparaged.
Do not question your children about their other parent.
Do not use your children as a sounding board. Discuss your problems and concerns with another adult.
Do your best to maintain their normal routine.
Reassure your children that they are loved by both parents and that they don’t have to choose between their parents.
Do you represent non-parents seeking custody?
Yes. Katherine L. Hurst has extensive experience in representing non-parents in child custody cases. For a non-parent to obtain custody, they must prove to the Court that substantial harm would result to the child should the Court award custody to either parent. Katherine has successfully represented grandparents, aunts and uncles, and non-relatives who had physical custody obtain custody.
Do you handle same-sex divorces and child custody cases for gay parents?
Yes. Katherine L. Hurst is an ally to the LGBTQ community and our office provides zealous representation for all our clients including gay parents in child custody cases and divorces between same sex couples.
If I have a protective order in Family Court and Criminal Court, can you represent me in both proceedings?
Yes. Katherine L. Hurst is able to provide simultaneous representation in both Family Court and Criminal Court.
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