Whether they are amicable or contested, divorces are tricky business. When a case involves a high-profile or high-net worth couple, the proceedings can become very complicated. Keeping the proceedings fair, unbiased, and impartial is critical, underscoring the need for independent counsel who can approach the divorce with a truly objective view.
In March, 2012, the president of New Orleans' St. Bernard Parish married the woman he had been dating for roughly six years. By December 2013, the marriage had soured and he filed for a divorce. The wife, who had become a paralegal for the parish, alleged that her husband had handcuffed, beaten and raped her in their home. Local law enforcement was brought in and the case is currently under investigation.
The wife filed papers as part of the proceedings asserting that she had insufficient income and could not afford an attorney. Her husband challenged the assertion, stating that she had lied at least four or five times in the paperwork she filed. The hearing on the issue was delayed until the end of March 2014, in part because the five judges who sat on the bench in St. Bernard Parish all recused themselves from the case citing professional or personal conflicts of interest. The state's Supreme Court appointed an impartial judge to the case.
On March 24, 2014, the judge ruled on the issue and sided with the wife, saying that she did not have to pay legal costs for the divorce. The judge also ordered the costs waived rather than force the husband to pay the bill.
There are many issues that can arise in a divorce beyond child custody, child support or a division of assets, and both parties need to be prepared for anything. In this case, the judge made a fair decision for both parties, but these things can often lean in favor of one party over the other.
Source: The Advocate, New Orleans Edition, "Judge denies David Peralta's request on divorce suit court costs" Richard Thompson, Mar. 27, 2014