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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

What if my child support order doesn't include extracurriculars?

Recently, divorced parents in New Orleans put the first week of back to school drama behind them. They may even have a sigh of relief knowing the school bus is picking up the kids at the right place, handing off with the other parent is going smoothly and the children seem to be settling into their routine. But then come the notices asking about extracurricular activities and the questions begin flying again. Who will pay for the activities and associated costs?

In an ideal situation, the child support order included the breakdown of these costs. A detailed judgment would include which activities the child participates in and how those costs would be divided between the parents. If nothing else, at least the award would include a way the parties would come to the decision regarding extracurricular activities if not included in the order.

Experience matters when choosing legal help during divorce

Once a couple decides to end their marriage, it means they are terminating most of their rights and duties for and to one another. But when children are involved, the obligations to the children remain very much alive. That means that the divorcing couple has to figure out how they are going to share custody of their children; where the children will physically live and how decisions regarding the children's future will be made. In addition to this, parents also have to figure out how the parent without physical custody will visit the children. Usually, a non-custodial parent cannot just get up on a whim and decide that they want to pick up the kids from school.

These decisions can be made amicably if both the parents agree on their own, with or without legal assistance. Judges in Louisiana, like in most other states, would prefer to enforce custody and visitation schedules that the parents have agreed on. This is because it generally suits the parent's schedule; therefore, there are no surprises.

Ease the back to school transition for kids post divorce

As the beginning of the school year approaches, many children returning to school in Louisiana may be nervous about their new beginnings. A new class, new friends or a new school altogether can cause children of all ages anxiety about their first day. When the child's parents have gone through a divorce during the summer and are now living separately for the first time, the first day of school can be even more overwhelming. There are, however, a number of steps divorced parents can take to ensure their child's first day back goes as smoothly as possible.

To begin, it is very important to sort out who has custody of the children that morning and where the child will be residing. Depending on the type of child custody arrangement the divorced couple has agreed on, the child could be residing in a different place for the first day of school. Once the parents have figured out where the child will be, it would be beneficial to speak to someone from the district transportation department, ensuring they are aware of the changes of where they will be picking up the child and when.

What are the rights of noncustodial parents?

Last week's blog discussed the best interests of the child standard as it pertains to custody decisions. When making child custody decisions, courts assess a number of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the children in question before making a child custody order. Generally, Louisiana courts lean towards awarding joint physical custody if the parents are in close proximity to one another. However, when this does not happen, then the parent who does not have primary custody, also referred to as the noncustodial parent, has to work out a visitation schedule.

In Louisiana, the Department of Children and Family Services helps noncustodial parents get visitation with their children if they do not have a history of family violence or physical abuse toward the child. The general rule is that all noncustodial parents are allowed visitation rights with their children unless there are allegations of abuse or the court has ordered supervised visitation. The program seeks to help parents with an open case with the Support Enforcement Services Office, facilitating the emotional development of minor children by ensuring a healthier connection with the parent they are not living with primarily.

What is the 'best interests of the child' standard?

When a marriage breaks down and a couple heads for a divorce, the first thing they think about if they have children is custody. Generally, all parents want what is best for their children, but they may disagree as to how to attain that. This is why they may not be able to come to a joint agreement about child custody. If they agree to the terms, the court will generally honor that agreement; however, when they do not come to an agreement, the court must intervene.

In Louisiana, the Louisiana Civil Code governs the matter. Judges must apply the standard of best interests of the child. As per the law, the court can consider all factors it deems relevant to determine the best interests. Some factors are outlined, but the court is not limited to them.

Louisiana's grandparents' rights may be confusing

When it comes to family law issues, it is not only the parents that encounter these. In some situations, grandparents might be faced with limited access to their grandchildren. Whether it is related to a pending or recently finalized divorce or not, grandparents should understand that they have rights afforded to them in these matters. There are three provisions under Louisiana's family law governing grandparents' rights. These laws have different purposes but also complicate compliance.

The first law addresses grandparents who lost visitation rights through their child or their spouse, and it is intended to assist families in trouble. This law takes precedence over other laws on this issue. It allows visitation where that parent died, became incarcerated or was declared legally incompetent. When the parent is incarcerated, visitation is allowed if the grandchild's parents never married. This also applies to the child's brothers and sisters.

Can I modify a marital agreement while I'm married?

Although there was a time when couples shied away from talking about financial issues before getting married, now more and more recognize that a frank discussion can prevent financial instability in case the marriage does not last. A prenuptial agreement, an agreement signed before the couple enters into marriage, is one that changes the regime of separation of property and ancillary matters and is recognized under law in Louisiana.

However, even if the couple does not enter into a prenuptial agreement, they can enter into one while they are married, along the lines of a postnuptial agreement. This is also recognized in Louisiana-they can either enter into an agreement or modify an existing one.

We offer a full-spectrum of services in a divorce

As previously discussed, Louisiana recognizes two types of marriages-the traditional marriage and the covenant marriage. Regardless of the type of marriage that one is in, when a couple is having marital difficulties they believe cannot be reconciled, they may want to put an end to their marriage. Covenant marriages have certain stipulations that must be met before the couple can get a divorce, but even within a traditional divorce, the couple must have lived apart for at least six months. The exception for this is if one of the spouses has been convicted of a felony.

Given Louisiana's complicated laws, it is important to be well versed in family law and its procedure. If certain requirements are not met, the divorce might not be granted right away, delaying the process and causing friction between an already acrimonious couple.

How do I get a divorce in a Louisiana covenant marriage?

Louisiana is one of the three states in the country that has introduced the 'covenant marriage' system. It differs from the conventional system in that marrying spouses agree to certain terms and conditions that affect their ability to get a divorce or separate from their spouse.

To begin, in order to enter into a covenant marriage, there are some required steps. The couple must sign a declaration of intent. Among other things, this declaration stipulates that the couple has received marital counseling before getting married, and they will make all rational efforts in order to preserve their marriage in case of marital difficulties, including getting counseling. This is not the case for other couples married in Louisiana.

How long until I receive temporary alimony?

There are two types of spousal support a divorcing couple can receive during the dissolution process in Louisiana. Temporary support is granted during the divorce until the marriage is dissolved and permanent or post divorce spousal support is awarded at the dissolution of the marriage.

One spouse may have given up their employment during their marriage for various reasons, including caring for the house or the children, and this can leave them financially dependent on their spouse. In these situations, when one spouse is not able to maintain him or herself to the same standard of living as they had during the marriage, the court awards temporary spousal support. The aim of this type of support is to maintain each spouse's status quo as much as possible. Temporary alimony terminates when the marriage is dissolved.

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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