Domestic Abuse Laws

The recent legislative session brought big changes to Louisiana’s domestic violence law.  This means victims of domestic violence and those accused of committing domestic violence have a very different playing field.  Particularly, if someone is falsely accused of committing domestic violence or domestic battery, fighting to keep your name clear is more important than ever.
An accusation of domestic violence usually starts with one party swearing out an affidavit with the Sheriff’s office or district attorney accusing his or her partner of violent conduct.  A hearing is scheduled in the next few weeks on the issue.  In most cases, no attorneys are involved, and the accused party usually consents to a protective order.  Not much usually came from these proceedings, but that is all about change.
The new laws are going to create different obligations for alimony and spousal support, based on whether one of the parties has a history or has been found guilty of domestic violence.  Until now, there has been 1/3 of income or alimony.  If there is a finding of domestic abuse, that amount is now gone.
The changes also allow the courts to extend alimony further than before–possibly for life–in cases of domestic abuse.  Like before, the issuance of a restraining order also means the guilty person must give up any firearms.
Following the determination of domestic abuse, the judge is now required to forward a copy of the protective order to higher courts to maintain a permanent record of the outcome.  No more will records be routinely purged or shredded.
A finding of domestic abuse now means a difference of thousands of dollars in a divorce settlement.  Unfortunately, this may create an incentive for some false accusations. It is now more important than ever to document cases of domestic abuse, as well as fighting false accusations.

Written by: Greg Gouner 

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