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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

What is an adoption home study?

The adoption process can result in incredibly positive outcomes. Children can find new families that are stable and loving, and adults with love to give can find a child in need. Although adoption seems to benefit all individuals involved, it is not always an easy process to complete. To ensure the best interests of the child are protected, state laws puts prospective adoptive parents through extensive examination.

One way this is done is through the home study. Under state law, all individuals applying for adoption may need to complete a home study, where the prospective adoptive parents' long-term ability to provide a stable and nurturing home for the child is analyzed. Although a home study includes an actual inspection of the prospective home, it may also include an analysis of whether the adoptive parents can meet a child's specific needs, as well as interviews with all individuals who reside in the home. An individual may even be required to provide references.

Fault-based divorce could assist with child custody, alimony

Most people have heard of divorce being granted due to irreconcilable differences. In Louisiana, this method of divorce is known as 'no-fault' divorce. Through this route, parties do not have to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong. The vast majority of marriage dissolutions follow this path, as no-fault divorces often provide the least resistance and allow parties to quickly end the relationship and settle pending family law matters. Yet, pursing a divorce on no-fault grounds is not the only option available to Louisianans.

In fact, depending on the particular circumstances at hand, pursuing a divorce based on other grounds may be in one's best interests. This is particularly true if an individual is going to be seeking child custody, a disproportional distribution of marital property, and/or spousal support. A spouse who can show that his or her significant other caused the divorce may be more likely to obtain sole custody of the couple's child and recover larger assets and alimony payments.

Helping Louisiana parents address child support disputes

Whether you are considering divorce, or are a parent to a child who was born out of wedlock, you are likely facing significant financial challenges. In the event of marriage dissolution, you might have to deal with property division and alimony, and parents often have to address child custody and visitation as well. One of the most significant financial obligations that can arise out of these situations is child support. Regardless of whether you are a custodial or a noncustodial parent, properly addressing this issue could make all the difference in your and your child's financial stability.

Both custodial and noncustodial parents may have concerns with regard to child support. Custodial parents might struggle to get support established, and recover owed payments, and noncustodial parents may have difficulty making their monthly payments. If you are facing a child support dispute, then you may want to consider seeking legal help, as failing to make strong legal arguments could result in you facing the loss of a significant amount of money.

Seeking child support modification? Document your life changes

Raising a child is an expensive venture, and one that will last for at least 18 years. For many parents, sharing these expenses is second nature and issues don't arise, especially when parents remain in a relationship with each other. Oftentimes, though, parents either had their child out of wedlock or have since divorced, making a fair division of child raising costs more of an issue.

To ensure that each parent pays his or her fair share, family law courts establish child support obligations that must be paid by noncustodial parents. These amounts, as we have discussed previously on the blog, are determined based on a number of factors, including income. But life changes, and many noncustodial parents find themselves facing economic hardships that may make it difficult for them to make good on their child support obligation. When this happens, a child support modification may be warranted.

Scarlett Johansson and husband facing child custody battle

Although most Louisianans don't consider themselves to have the same life experiences as celebrities, their lives may be more similar than first thought. This is especially true when a Louisianan finds him or herself amidst divorce. Divorce legal issues don't discriminate based on income or notoriety and, at its heart, most people, whether celebrity or not, value the same things. For many going through marriage dissolution, this means trying to figure out what is best for their children.

This appears to be true for superstar actress Scarlett Johansson and her estranged husband, Romain Dauriac, as the couple is now facing a potential child custody dispute. Johansson, who recently filed for divorce, is seeking primary physical custody of the couple's daughter, which Dauriac found shocking. According to his attorney, Dauriac has been the two-year-old's primary parent while Johansson pursued her acting career. The issue could be complicated by the fact that Dauriac lives in France, which could make any kind of joint custody arrangement challenging.

Drug test may be ordered during child custody proceedings

When children are thrust into the middle of a divorce, the matter can be difficult on an emotional level for all parties involved. Parents might have differing ideas about what is best for the children, and the children themselves may feel torn about which parent they want to spend time with. As tough as settling child custody and visitation can be during marriage dissolution, these issues don't die once a resolution is reached. Instead, child custody modification, as well as visitation modification, may be justified if certain problems arise.

One issue that can affect an initial custody or visitation determination, or a modification of visitation or custody, is drug use. Since courts make their custody determinations based on the best interests of the children involved, judges will weigh factors like substance abuse when making their decisions. Yet, when parents are separated, it may be difficult for one parent to prove that the other is using drugs.

How can the impact of divorce be lessened for a child?

Marriage dissolution can be an emotionally trying time. After all, spouses that have, in some instances, spent decades together have to untangle their shared lives, which can expose old and fresh wounds and threaten financial instability. The process can be even more heart-wrenching when children are involved. How a divorce involving children is handled may be crucial for the child's well-being for years to come.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, although most children are able to successfully adjust to life post-divorce, about one-fourth of them face ongoing behavioral and emotional problems. These problems can be exacerbated when parents are unable to co-parent, which impacts approximately one-third of all divorced couples. So, what can divorcing couples do to help lessen the impact on their children?

E-communications complicating divorce?

Sometimes divorce can be settled amicably, meaning that the parties work well together in addressing pertinent legal issues, such as property division, child custody, child support, and alimony, and are able to reach a fair resolution with which all are comfortable. However, there are other times when even the most skilled mediator is able to bring parties to an agreement regarding one or more of these issues. When this happens, the matter may need to be taken to court.

Under these circumstances, Louisiana residents need to do everything they can to protect themselves and, thus, their futures. As we discussed on the blog a few weeks ago, electronic communications are playing an even larger role in divorce proceedings, and an individual's ability to use them to his or her advantage, or defend against them, can make a world of difference in the marriage dissolution's outcome.

Change in visitation may justify child support modification

Getting divorced can be an emotional event. This may be especially true when children are involved. However, even after child custody and visitation schedules have been settled, child support can have a huge financial impact on an individual's life. Either he or she will have to pay support or a custodial parent may seek to recover support.

But how is the amount of child support to be paid calculated? As we have discussed on this blog before, when left to a court, a judge will look at each party's income as well as the child's needs and expenses. However, another key factor of the child support obligation is the amount of time that each parent spends with the child. This primarily arises in instances where parents have joint physical and legal custody.

Divorce: e-communications not as private as many think

With the technological revolution that has engulfed the globe over the last 20 years or so, individuals' lives are becoming more and more open for public viewing. This is particularly true of social media accounts. Although most individuals in Louisiana expect a certain level of privacy when it comes to their social media accounts, text messages and emails, the fact of the matter is that they may not be as private as one thinks.

In fact, there are a whole host of apps available to consumers that help them track their spouse's movements and communications. Some may think these are great ways to keep tabs on their spouse, especially if they suspect infidelity, but these individuals need to be careful. If the individual's spouse has a reasonable expectation of privacy on an electronic device, then using these apps could be a federal offense.

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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