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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

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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.

How to talk about a prenuptial agreement

Regardless of whether a divorce takes an emotional toll on an individual, the truth of the matter is that it can lead to financial instability. This is especially true when one spouse was the primary wage-earner, or if that spouse's income is much larger than the other's. On account of this, a divorce can leave a lower or non-earning spouse facing a standard of living that is much less than that to which he or she has become accustomed. This is why many Louisianans choose to seek alimony, also known as spousal support, and aggressively fight for a fair share of marital property.

One way to avoid this uncertainty, though, is to enter into a prenuptial agreement. These agreements can spell out how certain legal issues will be resolved in the event of divorce. As helpful as these agreements can be, though, many find it difficult to even broach the topic with their soon-to-be-spouses.

Step-parent adoption and termination of parental rights

Adoption can provide a number of benefits. While there is the positive emotional impact it can have on both an adopted child and his or her adoptive parent, there may also be other very real consequences. Once an adoption is completed, an adopted child may be able to inherit property from an adoptive parent and certain legal rights with regard to medical care may come into existence. For these reasons, adoption can take many forms. While many Louisianans may think that most adoptions involve babies or children in the foster care system, the truth of the matter is that other forms, such as step-parent adoption, are quite common.

However, just like other forms of adoption, step-parent adoption can give rise to complex legal issues. For example, a step-parent can only adopt his or her step-child once the child's biological parent's parental rights have been terminated, unless consent can be obtained. This is often a difficult task, as parental rights are usually only terminated when it can be demonstrated that the parent has abandoned, neglected, or abused the child, or he or she is otherwise unfit to parent the child. Parental rights can also be severed if it can be shown that the individual in question is not, in fact, the child's biological parent.

Struggling to pay to raise your child? Consider LA attorneys

We've devoted a significant amount of our recent posts to issues involving child support, and for good reason. As we discussed previously, raising a child is becoming more expensive. This fact, coupled with the high divorce rate in Louisiana, means that many custodial parents are left struggling to find ways to make ends meet. Perhaps the best way for them to find the financial stability they need and deserve is to pursue child support from a noncustodial parent.

The process of obtaining a child support order can be challenging, though, and so, too, can enforcing it. Far too many noncustodial parents skip out on court hearings and fail to live up to their child support obligations. When this happens, Louisianans need to know how to utilize the legal system to protect their children's rights. By doing so, they may be able to garnish wages and even have an individual's licenses suspended.

Bill seeks to waive child support payments during incarceration

Depending on which side of a child support dispute you find yourself on, you may either be unable to either pay or recover owed child support. Custodial parents who are unable to recover child support may have a tough time paying for their child's educational expenses, extracurricular activities, and even their everyday expenses and medical costs. Noncustodial parents, on the other hand, may find themselves unable to make child support payments due to a decrease in wages or another change in circumstances.

One of those circumstances is incarceration. Under current Louisiana law, convicts are still required to pay child support even while they are in jail. This often means that they come out of prison with significant arrearages, and they face wage garnishment almost immediately upon taking on a job. These stressors, some experts say, cause these individuals to be more at risk for reoffending. Re-incarceration, in turn, prevents custodial parents and their children from recovering the child support they are owed.

How you divorce can affect Louisiana children's health

There's no question that divorce can take a toll on all individuals involved. Soon-to-be ex-spouses can face financial losses and experience anger and frustration at the process, and they may even see their time with their children limited. But children, too, are affected by divorce, and perhaps more so than we care to think.

According to a recent study out of Spain, children of separated and divorced parents are about twice as likely to experience issues related to their gastrointestinal, dermatological, genitourinary, and neurological systems. Researchers believe that the onset of conditions affecting these systems are likely related to stress held by children who experience divorce.

Ways to recover owed child support in Louisiana

As we discussed last week, the cost of raising a child can be enormous. Although the financial responsibility tied to raising a kid can be daunting when a couple decides to take it on together, single parents can face an even more difficult time making ends meet while also providing their child with what he or she needs and deserves. This is why recovering child support from a noncustodial parent is so important. Doing so can ease the burden on a custodial parent and ensure that the financial responsibility of raising a child is shared fairly amongst the child's parents.

Yet, as many Louisiana parents know, recovering owed child support isn't always easy. In fact, oftentimes, noncustodial parents may pay an insufficient amount or, as is more likely, fail to make payments at all. Fortunately, there are ways to try to recover owed child support, and the state may be able to help.

Cost of raising a Louisiana child increases

Ask any parent and he or she will tell you that raising a child can be costly. Feeding, clothing, educating, and entertaining a child can eat away at one's finances, piece by piece. Yet, the true costs associated with raising a child are shocking.

According to a recent report conducted by USDA, the cost of raising a child in 2015 increased by three percent over the last survey conducted for 2014. The final tally? A whopping $233,610. The largest chunk of those expenses comes from housing, which made up about 29 percent. This means that those who lived in rural areas were able to avoid some of the costs, while those in urban and wealthier neighborhoods saw greater expenses. Other contributors to the increased costs include healthcare and clothing, but perhaps the most worrisome expenses for parents are childcare and education, which continue to become more and more costly.

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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