New Louisiana DWI/DUI Book is Published

Check out the new book on Louisiana DWI/DUI Laws that was just published by Thomson Reuters. It is available at tmsnrt.rs/2fveYPj  . A description follows:

Louisiana DWI presents a broad overview of the DWI laws in Louisiana. The text serves as a guide to prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges who have to apply and interpret Louisiana DWI laws. More specifically, this book provides analysis and discussion of the wide variety of Louisiana DWI statutes and regulations. It is not designed to favor the prosecution or the defense in DWI cases, but to provide a resource that both sides can refer to for information in DWI cases.

The individual sections of Louisiana DWI explore in depth how the different statutes and rules governing DWI are applied, providing commentary of current court decisions, statutes, and regulations. Each section provides background information about each statute, along with the available caselaw, illustrating how courts in Louisiana have applied the rules and regulations to a particular case. In short, this book presents substantive information that will not only educate readers about the DWI statutory and regulatory schemes, but will also increase the reader's overall knowledge and understanding of the DWI laws and how they operate in practice.

This book begins with a discussion in Chapter 1 of the criminal laws affecting driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Chapter 2 contains a discussion of the Louisiana Implied Consent Laws (the civil laws affecting DWI). Chapter 3 covers suspension of driving privileges for DWI related offenses. Chapter 4 addresses related serious driving offenses, while Chapter 5 summarizes related non-serious driving offenses. Chapter 6 deals with stops, searches, and seizures of motorists suspected of driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Chapter 7 reviews the many field sobriety tests used by law enforcement officers to determine if a person is driving under the influence. Finally, Chapter 8 serves as an introduction to the laws pertaining to the expungement of DWI arrests and convictions. This chapter also contains a list of the various expungement laws in Louisiana as well as the forms that must be filed with expungement requests.

What do the lonely do after Christmas? They use the family mediation process, of course!

The end of the year can be a lonely time for people who are separating or divorcing. With the intent to begin the New Year without the baggage of last year, those who are breaking up often ask, “how can I afford the costs of an expensive divorce or separation? After all, when I go to court, I will have to pay court costs, costly attorney’s fees, and other miscellaneous fees associated with the litigation process.”

Costs associated with a divorce in this country can range from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars, with the average cost of a contested divorce ranging from $15,000 to $30,000. A significant portion of these costs is legal fees. Divorce costs differ depending on the type of divorce, how well the parties work together, and whether the parties use options such as family mediation. On the other hand, divorce or family mediation costs only a fraction of the costs associated with a contested divorce. When thinking of family mediation, think hundreds or even a few thousand dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars.

In Louisiana, divorce lawyers usually begin with a required initial retainer from the client that can range from $2,500.00 to $5,000.00. And that retainer has to be replenished when the initial sum is partially used up. Divorce lawyer bill by the hour for such things as meetings with the client, telephone conferences with the client and the opposing lawyer, time drafting court documents, time reviewing documents received from the client and the opposing side,  time investigating the case, legal research, court hearings and conferences, time waiting for the judge and for time responding to the client’s concerns.  Many clients are often shocked by the enormous fees associated with a litigated divorce.

On the other hand, family mediators usually collect the mediation fee at the beginning of each mediation session which will usually lasts two hours.  Mediators bill their clients for the time spent in mediation with the clients and in drafting the Memorandum of Understanding. A typical hourly fee charged by a family mediator in Louisiana is $250.00 per hour, and that hourly fee is generally split in half, that is, each party pays one-half of the hourly fee instead of  each party paying an whole hourly fee  to his or her lawyer. The family mediation process can usually be completed in 4-6 two hours sessions. Individual times may vary, with some mediations completing in less time and other mediations requiring more time to complete.

At Conflict Free Divorce in New Orleans, LA, we have the experience and knowledge to help you and your spouse or partner develop an effective and lasting settlement agreement that will serve your needs for years to come. We believe in the divorce and separation mediation process and have seen it effectively used in hundreds of cases in the New Orleans area. It's important to have an experienced and knowledgeable divorce mediator helping to work things out amicably. So, if you want to begin the New Year with a fresh start, contact us today.

Call Conflict Free Divorce to speak with an experienced Family and Divorce Mediator in New Orleans, or browse our website to learn more about child custody mediation, Separation Mediation Services and the Cost of Divorce.

 

Sources: Lisa Magloff, Demand Media,  The Average Cost for Divorce -  http://info.legalzoom.com/average-cost-divorce-20103.html [visited 12.28.15]; How Much Will My Divorce Cost and How Long Will it Take? - http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/ctp/cost-of-divorce.html [visited 12.28.15]

Posted 12.28.15

How To Hire a Family or Divorce Mediator - 5 Practical Tips on Hiring a Family or Divorce Mediator

When deciding to hire a family or child custody mediator to assist with your divorce or separation, it is important to choose one who will work well with you and your spouse or partner. In choosing the right mediator, you might wish to ask the following questions?

1. What is the mediator’s experience? How much experience does the mediator have in handling disputes such as the ones you have? Has he mediated a multitude of cases or just a few? The issues that can arise in a family mediation are child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, division of community property, asset distribution, division of liabilities, money matters, post-divorce  or post-separation financial plans, distribution of retirement plans, insurance matters, and medical and dental coverage issues, just to name a few. Before making a decision, you might want to determine if the mediator has handled some or all of these issues. If the mediator that you are thinking of hiring has not handled many of these issues, it might be better to find a more experienced mediator.

2. Have you interviewed the mediator? Mediation is a very competitive field in the twenty-first century. To determine if you are hiring the right mediator, you might want to consider interviewing the mediator. Pick up the telephone and call the mediator. Ask him questions about the concerns you have. Ask him how much he charges. It is by the hour or a flat fee? Is there a charge for the initial consultation? Most mediators will meet with prospective clients for an initial 15-20 minute session at no cost to the parties to explain the mediation process and his approach to mediation. You can meet alone with the mediator or you can bring your spouse or partner.

3. What happens next after the mediation? Ask the mediator whether you need to go to court. Ask him where the courthouse is and how the Memorandum of Understanding will get incorporated into a consent judgment. Also, you might wish to get the mediator to explain whether you need to hire an attorney.

4. How long will the mediation process take? This is one of the most commonly asked questions of parties who are considering family mediation. The answer is, “it depends.” It depends on how well you work with your spouse or partner. Are you “high conflict,”  or “low conflict?” If the parties are relatively “low conflict” and have thought about or discussed the issues before the mediation, it might take just a few hours to mediate the entire dispute. If the parties are “high conflict” and do not communicate well, it may take many more hours to get the parties to first communicate with each other and then to get to the point of discussing the many issues involved in a family mediation. However, it is important to note that every case is different and the outcome depends on the facts of each situation.

5. Can the mediator provide you with materials before the mediation that explain the mediation process so that you can get a better understanding of the process? Many mediators have printed materials or web sites with detailed information to help prospective clients read about and learn about the family mediation process before they choose the right mediator. Mediators who have taken the time to explain the process of mediation in printed form, whether it is on a web site, in books, or in articles will usually be more knowledgeable about the mediation process that those who have not taken the time to do so.

 

Our team has more than twenty-five years of mediating family and civil cases in Louisiana and Mississippi.   We have written extensively on mediation, arbitration, and ADR issues and teach mediation courses in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Recent Articles on Divorce, Visitation, and Child Custody Mediation

What is the best way to ask your spouse for a divorce. Joe and Cheryl Dillon, co-founders of Equitable Mediation Services, discuss this topic at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cheryl-and-joe-dillon/how-to-ask-your-spouse-for-a-divorce_b_7367650.html .

How important is private mediation services to society? That is an interesting question. For more information on this topic, please see, Mediation services vital as society evolves, an article by Linda Heng which can be found at http://www.straitstimes.com/premium/forum-letters/story/mediation-services-vital-society-evolves-20150521 .

Florida mediator Matthew Brickman of iMediate Inc, one of Florida’s leading family mediators, boasts a 100% settlement rate in mediation. To see how he achieves this amazing success rate, go to http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2537095#ixzz3cKrtKiMg .

It has been said that there are three categories of mediation styles, "facilitative", "evaluative" and "transformative." For a discussion of these categories and how marital or divorce mediation fits into these categories, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurie-israel/where-does-marital-mediation-fit-in_b_7221950.html to view Where Does Marital Mediation Fit In? by Laurie Israel.

Pennsylvania lawyer Donald Witmeyer discusses the benefits of family mediation for couples who are separating or divorcing which include less expense, a peaceful resolution, a discreet and confidential process, the fact that there will not be any legal documents or public records of what happened in the mediation, and the facts that the parties will come to their own resolution without a judge imposing a solution. For more information on his article, The Law Offices of Donald Witmyer, P.A., Advocates the Importance of Divorce Mediation Before Bringing the Divorce Case to Court, click on http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2559754 .

Attorneys are important during the mediation process. For a discussion of the importance of retaining  experienced matrimonial counsel to educate and consult with you during the process, please see David A. Beaver’s article, Divorce Mediation: Utilizing Attorney Resources during the Divorce Process. The article can be found at http://www.natlawreview.com/article/divorce-mediation-utilizing-attorney-resources-during-divorce-process .

For a discussion of the financial issues that arise during a divorce and that may be handled in a divorce or family mediation such as retirement accounts and pension plans, dividing an individually or jointly owned business, alimony amounts and duration, the living, healthcare and educational expenses of any children,  medical insurance or training necessary for a spouse to resume working, and the tax implications of these decisions, see, Divorce and your finances by Tom Roberts, CFP, afinancial planner and owner of A New Approach Financial Planning in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota, Florida. The article can be found at http://www.bradenton.com/2015/03/24/5708770/divorce-and-your-finances.htmlAbc  .

Louisiana Bar Exam Results for February 2015 Just Released

The results for the February 2015 Louisiana Bar Exam were released today, April 24, 2015. The overall pass rate was 65.56%. Tulane Law School had the highest pass rate among Louisiana law schools, with Loyola University New Orleans College of Law having the second highest pass rate. LSU Law Center  was third and Southern University Law Center was fourth. The results are as follows:

Overall Pass Rate: 65.56%

Tulane Pass Rate: 80%

Loyola Pass Rate: 70.31%

LSU Pass Rate: 62.07%

Southern Pass Rate: 59.38%

The overall pass rate for non-Louisiana law schools was 65.56%. For more information, visit the web site of the Louisiana Supreme Court, http://www.lasc.org/press_room/bar_results/results/Feb2015/February_2015_school.html

 

Free Self-Help Desk for Litigants in Family Court Who Have Not Hired Attorneys

Orleans and Jefferson Parishes now have Self-Help Desks for unrepresented litigants. If you are considering a divorce, have filed a petition in the courts for custody or visitation, or have been served with a petition for divorce or for custody and visitation and have not hired an attorney, the Self-Help Desks in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes may be able to assist you.

According to the web site of the Civil District for the Parish of Orleans,

“The Self-Help desk is located [in the courthouse at] 421 Loyola Avenue on the fourth floor. It is open on Monday and Wednesdays from 10am to 12pm and from 1pm-3pm and on Fridays from 10am-12pm. The Self-Help desk in the Clerk’s Office will provide assistance for family matters such as divorce, domestic abuse, restraining orders, child support, and child custody.”

The Louisiana State Bar Association’s web site states the following with reference to the Jefferson Parish Court’s website:

“The 24th Judicial District Court, in conjunction with the Louisiana State Bar Association and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center, is launching a new self-help desk for individuals with domestic legal issues in Jefferson Parish. The 24th JDC Self-Help Resource Center opened on Oct. 2 in the Judicial Administration Conference Room, 2nd floor of the 24th JDC, 200 Derbigny St., Gretna. Thereafter, the Center will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Center is staffed by LCJC attorneys and lawyer volunteers from the Jefferson Bar Association. For more information about the services provided, email Jonathan Rhodes at jonathan.rhodes@lsba.org.”

The Self-Help Desks in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are staffed with volunteer lawyers who assist individuals with family, divorce, and domestic legal issues in the courts. The services are free to litigants. Although the attorneys do not provide legal advice, they do provide legal information about matters related to divorce, custody, visitation and other family matters.

Sources – The Louisiana State Bar Association’s web site, https://www.lsba.org/NewsArticle.aspx?Article=ff16680e-d21c-40ae-a04d-97295a98c620 and

The web site of the Civil District for the Parish of Orleans, http://www.orleanscdc.com.