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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Rowe Law Firm fights for clients going through gray divorce

A divorce can shape your financial future for years to come. This can be particularly true for those who aged 50 and older, as we discussed in last week's post about gray divorce. If you are considering ending your marriage in Louisiana, you want to do everything necessary to ensure you start your post-divorce life with as much financial strength as possible.

To do this, you need to ensure that you address every divorce legal issue that may arise. You have to be prepared to handle property division matters, which includes identifying and valuing assets, and arguing for or against spousal support. If these issues are mishandled, then your soon-to-be ex-spouse could take advantage of you, leaving you with far less than you deserve.

Gray divorce may hit women harder than men financially

Many Louisianans picture their golden years as a time to spend with their loved ones, enjoying a comfortable retirement. This is certainly picturesque, but is it realistic for everyone? Perhaps not for those going through a gray divorce, usually defined as a divorce involving individuals over the age of 50. In fact, studies have shown that these types of divorces, which are on the rise, can leave women with financial difficulties that can drastically affect their golden years.

One reason for such financial hardship for women coming out of a gray divorce is that many of these women have taken significant periods of time off to raise families. Their working ex-husbands, on the other hand, may have an extensive work history and the ability to earn a higher income. Though women who have gone through a gray divorce can certainly still enter the workforce, their options, and their salaries, may be more limited.

The importance of establishing paternity in Louisiana

Establishing paternity is an important step in certain family law matters. Many Louisianans may know what the phrase is referring to (establishing who is the biological father of a child), but some may not be clear on why it is legally significant. We hope this post will help clarify why this critical issue should be addressed, regardless of which side of a family law dispute one falls on.

For women, establishing paternity can be critical for financial support. Once paternity is established, a mother can seek child support from the father. If he fails to pay, then legal action may be taken to compel payment. This is important for mothers, as raising a child on one's own, with one salary, can be difficult and unfair when there is another parent who should share in the financial responsibility.

What is the purpose of spousal support?

Divorce can be an expensive proposition. Property division might leave one individual without the residence in which he or she resided during the marriage, with retirement accounts diminished, and with valuable items of personal property in the hands of an ex-spouse. Child support, too, can be costly. But the expenses associated with a divorce do not necessarily end there. Many Louisianans also have to pay spousal support, which can be expensive and last for a lengthy period of time.

So what is the purpose of spousal support, also referred to as alimony? In short, alimony attempts tolevel the economic playing field when a divorce occurs. Courts don't want one spouse to be left destitute post-marriage, especially when a non-wage earner sacrificed his or her own career to further that of a spouse or to raise children. Additionally, a court may take an interest in allowing a party to a divorce to maintain the standard of living he or she enjoyed while married.

Louisiana post-adoption contact agreements

The choice to adopt is not one to be made lightly. After all, bringing a child into one's home can be a challenge, not to mention having to deal with the lengthy and sometimes contested adoption process. Throughout this process, pre-adoptive families have to make a lot of decisions. Perhaps one of the most important is whether to enter into a post-adoption contact agreement and, if so, what the terms of that agreement should be.

Post-adoption contact agreements in Louisiana don't just apply to birth parents. They can also apply to siblings and grandparents, so long as the child has developed a strong relationship with that individual; cessation of that relationship would cause harm to the child; and the continuance of contact furthers the best interests of the child. So these factors themselves should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to negotiate a post-adoption contact agreement.

We can assist with collaborative divorce in Louisiana

Marriage can be challenging. For some, this is just part of being committed to one's partner. But for others, the bad aspects of their relationships outweigh the good. If you find yourself in this position, then you might be considering divorce, which in itself can be a daunting thought. After all, divorce often involves heated arguments, litigation, and fighting for what you think you deserve.

But this doesn't have to be the case. If you and your spouse are able to communicate in a calm manner, then a collaborative divorce might be right for you. In contrast to a contested, litigated divorce, a collaborative divorce allows you and your spouse to gather a team of professionals to help you work out a divorce agreement that is fair under the circumstances. As we discussed last week, a divorce coach is often an important member of this team.

What is a divorce coach in a collaborative divorce?

Every marriage is different. Similarly, every divorce is unique. Though many of the same issues, such as child custody, child support, alimony and property division, can come into play, the specific assets, individuals and relationships involved can shape the way a divorce unfolds. In an attempt to accommodate varying personalities and divorce situations, there are many types of divorces available to Louisianans. Though traditional litigation is always an option, many opt for a collaborative divorce, where a team is assembled to help a divorcing couple come to an agreement that is fair.

One part of a collaborative divorce team is the divorce coach. This individual, who is typically a mental health professional, works with the couple to help them deal with emotional issues that may arise during settlement negotiations. This person is not a therapist, but can help a couple through their emotional hang ups so that a resolution can be reached. This can be done by working on respectful listening, seeing the situation from the other person's point of view, setting goals for each party's future, discussing the wants and needs of the couple's children, and helping parents realize that the needs of their children should come before their own needs.

4 things you should do to prepare for a divorce

If things are not working out between you and your spouse, you may be considering getting a divorce. Although divorce is not a step that should be taken lightly, if you have decided to go through with the process, it is important to prepare for it to ensure that the proceedings work out in your favor. Here are four measures that you should take if you plan to pursue a divorce:

Johnny Depp, Amber Heard divorce contentious to start

Divorce can happen to anyone at any time. Regardless of the situation underlying a dissolving marriage, everyone who finds him or herself a party to divorce can face challenging emotional and financial problems. This is true for both everyday Louisianans and celebrities. Though celebrity divorces get more coverage, the lessons learned from their stories can prove beneficial to those who are not celebrities.

For example, let us look at the ongoing divorce between movie actor Johnny Depp and his actress wife, Amber Heard. According to reports, Heard recently filed for divorce from Depp, claiming that she was a victim of domestic violence. Additionally, she seeks to recoup alimony from Depp which, if granted, could be a significant sum. The domestic violence allegations could also play into the spousal support issue.

Parents who don't pay child support face significant penalties

Over the last couple of weeks we have discussed the benefits of child support and how pursuing such support can be beneficial to custodial parents. While these issues are certainly important, so is the problem of unpaid child support. Unpaid support can leave a child and his or her custodial parent on challenging financial footing. It can also pose significant legal ramifications for the parent who has failed to pay.

The penalties for intentionally failing to pay child support can be harsh. Under Louisiana law, a first offense can lead to a fine of $500, up to six months in prison, or both. A second conviction can result in a $2,500 fine and/or two years in prison. Subsequent convictions carry the same penalties as a second conviction. It is also important to note that a court can also order restitution in an amount equal to any child support arrearages.

Contact Our Child Custody And Support Lawyers In Baton Rouge

We will take the time to learn as much as possible about your situation. Based on your goals and circumstances, we will help you determine the best course of action. Contact a Louisiana family law attorney at our law firm today.

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