Getting divorced in Orleans Parish and Jefferson Parish are very different experiences – neither is necessarily superior to the other, they just use different approaches that could have a meaningful impact on your case. A significant difference between the two is that when you have your case set for a court's decision in Orleans Parish you are assigned a judge to determine your case and in Jefferson Parish you are assigned a hearing officer for most family law matters. In Jefferson Parish, if you decide to appeal the hearing officer's ruling, the next step is to go before a domestic commissioner. If you disagree with the domestic commissioner's findings, the next step is to go before a judge. Why this could be important is that, for child custody, accepting the hearing officer's findings has the legal equivalent an agreement between the parents of the child as to the custody of the child. The legal effect of such an agreement is that it is far easier to modify such an agreement between the parents, if there has been a change of circumstance later on. (Louisiana law discourages parents from frequently litigating in court custody and visitation by raising the burden required to change custody if custody and visitation have already been decided by a judge.)
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