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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Domestic violence may lead to child custody modification

It is possible for parents in Louisiana to walk away from their divorce satisfied with the outcomes reached. With regard to child custody, this could mean working out a joint custody or sole custody with a liberal visitation arrangement. Yet, despite how comfortable an individual may be with such an arrangement, the situation can quickly change, leaving a parent concerned for his or her child's safety while in the care of the other parent.

In these instances, it might be necessary to take the matter to court to find relief. Under Louisiana law, for example, a court can prohibit parental visitation with a child if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence that the child has been physically or sexually or abused.

Bill regarding adoption and biological parent contact dies

The adoption process is quite complicated, and there are many issues to address. In many adoption cases, one matter that must be settled is the amount of contact, if any, a biological parent will have post-divorce. For many Louisianan adoptive parents, this contact is unacceptable for a number of personal reasons. Parents may believe that it might confuse the child, generate anger and frustration within the child or cause logistical nightmares. The courts typically tend to agree, thereby keeping adoption files closed. This means that even the adopted child cannot have access to his or her biological parent's information unless they can show a compelling reason.

Recently, though, efforts were made to provide these adopted individuals with a route to contact their biological parents upon filing a motion with the court. House Bill 391 would have appointed a confidential intermediary who could contact biological parents to gauge whether further contact was agreeable or if more information could be gathered.

Child custody and visitation interference can raise legal issues

Divorces can be messy, with parties contesting every element of a marriage dissolution. Although a lot of the negative animosity disappears when the divorce is finalized, for many Louisiana residents disagreements linger and affect an individual's post-divorce life. This most often occurs in the child custody and visitation context. When a court awards custody or visitation to one parent and the other parent interferes with that court ordered contact, very serious legal issues can arise.

In these instances, it is always best for the parties to try to resolve the conflict on their own. By talking it out, parents may be able to come to an agreement that saves everyone time, money and energy. Parents should not, on the other hand, try to get revenge on their child's other parent by interfering with their parenting time. This could backfire, leading to a new court order that limits or eliminates contact with the child.

Assisting Louisiana residents with adoption matters

The decision to adopt a child is one that should not be taken lightly. After all, bringing a child into your home can be expensive and emotionally taxing. Yet, for many Louisiana residents, the difficulties brought on by caring for a child are far outweighed by the joys of giving love and a home to a child who truly needs it. However, to ensure that the adoption is as smooth as possible and that all avenues for compensation are addressed, those considering adoption may want to get more information about family law matters.

There may be subsidy dollars on the table that you can take advantage of. However, the process for obtaining those funds is not always clear cut. Sometimes negotiation with the state is necessary to reach a fair amount. Many Louisiana residents may not know about these subsidies or what constitutes a fair amount. This is where getting more information can prove beneficial.

What is the adoption subsidy?

Children can be expensive. Food, clothing and schooling expenses can be costly, but for many children these costs just scratch the surface. Unfortunately, many Louisiana children who are up for adoption have special needs that often deter families from taking them into their home. In many instances, it is the mere cost of providing adequate care and treatment to such a child that causes hesitation. Although this may be understandable, Louisiana residents should recognize that the state provides an incentive to adopt these children: an adoption subsidy.

The adoption subsidy is specifically intended to allow families that would otherwise be unable to adopt special needs children to afford to bring them into their home. Subsidies are only given for children who qualify, and they can last until the child turns 18 years of age. But, what exactly qualifies a child for an adoption subsidy?

Louisiana child support and enforcement

Child support can play a pivotal role in a parent and child's post-divorce life. Without it, a family may be unable to provide for a child's daily needs, including food, clothing, shelter, extra-curricular activities and medical checkups may be taken off the table. This is unfair, especially when a non-custodial parent has been court-ordered to pay child support. So, what can be done to try to collect child support that is owed?

The state, via the Department of Children & Family Services, may be able to provide a variety of types of assistance. For example, the non-custodial parent's income may be garnished, meaning that a certain amount is withheld from that parent's paycheck to cover child support expenses. Tax refunds can also be intercepted, and motor vehicle registrations and professional licenses may be suspended.

Elon Musk and his wife are headed for divorce again

It seems no couple is immune from the possibility of divorce. The rich, the poor, the happy, the disgruntled, the young and the old can all find themselves facing marriage dissolution and the divorce legal issues that can accompany it. It is important to handle these legal issues properly, as failing to do so could leave an individual in a tough financial situation, perhaps with limited or no access to children.

One famous couple may now have to confront some of these matters as they head into the divorce realm. Actress Talulah Riley has filed for divorce from her billionaire husband, Elon Musk. Musk, co-founder of PayPal, Tesla and SpaceX, had previously filed for divorce in 2014, but later withdrew the papers. This isn't the first time the couple has considered divorce, as they actually divorced once, but then remarried. At the conclusion of their first marriage, Musk paid Riley $16 million in cash and assets as part of a prenuptial agreement. It is unclear at this time if their second marriage is subjected to a similar agreement.

It is possible to decrease the impact a divorce on children

Most divorces in Louisiana involve difficult financial matters. Although an individual's financial security post-divorce is certainly important, for those with children there is perhaps an even greater concern: the impact the marriage dissolution will have on their kids. This is a legitimate concern, and the outcome could shape a parent's post-divorce life just as much as financial standing.

So, what can be done to minimize the effects of divorce on children? First, it is crucial to understand that about 25 percent of all children whose parents divorce suffer some sort of emotional, social or psychological problems. The first two years after divorce can be particularly challenging. During this period of time, children can exhibit mood swings, suffer from low self-esteem and depression and may even be more likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol and sexual activity.

Experience counts in divorce mediations

A previous post here discussed divorce mediation and how, for some couples, it is a viable option for marriage dissolution. Although this route offers individuals a way to address divorce legal issues without heated emotional spats or intense litigation, conducting divorce mediation does not mean that you cannot make demands and push back against your soon-to-be-ex-spouse's demands. Mediation is about finding a balanced resolution that is fair to the parties, and it attempts to reach that agreement through an honest and civil discussion.

However, if you honestly believe that you are entitled to alimony or a certain marital asset, then you may need to say so and discuss why your request should be granted. If you fail to stand up for yourself, then you could be taken advantage of, leaving you in a tough financial situation that you don't deserve. But, it can be difficult for many individuals to make such demands and provide pushback, particularly if they are non-confrontational.

What is a child custody evaluation?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding a marriage, a divorce can be hotly contested in several areas. Property division can lead to disagreement, particularly as it relates to the parties' financial resources and sentimentality. Alimony, too, can be a contested issue, again, focusing on an individual's financial well-being post-divorce. But, in some instances, no other issue is more contentious than child custody.

When parents cannot come to an agreement in regards to child custody, the decision will be left to the court. In an attempt to help the court come to a decision that supports the best interests of the child involved, a court may order a child custody evaluation. An evaluation seeks to assess the needs of the parents and their child, identify the parents' strengths and weaknesses and look at custody arrangements through a lens that incorporates the family's history, present situation and future. The evaluation process does not seek to place blame or take sides.

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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