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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Child support worksheet may lead to child support modification

Depending on whether you are a custodial parent or a noncustodial parent, child support can either be a strong financial support or a heavy burden. In an attempt to reach a happy medium, the family law system in Louisiana seeks to establish child support that ensures that each parent is paying his or her fair share. Yet, this "fair share" is determined based on several factors. By knowing what can affect a child support obligation, Louisiana parents can take action, including seeking a child support modification, when warranted.

The best way to figure out a child support obligation is to fill out a child support obligation worksheet. This document collects some basic information on income and expenses to reach a recommended amount of child support to be paid by the noncustodial parent. First, the worksheet asks for each parent's income and assesses what percentage of the total family income their portion makes.

The validity of adoption consents in Louisiana

In order for many Louisianan adoptions to occur, adoption consents must be signed. Typically, only biological parents can consent to adoption, but it might also be necessary to acquire consent from a custodial agency that has placed a child up for adoption. Obtaining these consents may not always be easy, and negotiation via a post-adoption contact agreement may be necessary to obtain them. Sometimes consent is not needed to adopt, though, such as when parental rights have been terminated.

When adoption consents are necessary, there are certain steps that must be followed in order for them to be valid. Ensuring that these steps are followed is critical, as invalid consents could destroy the adoption process and cause unexpected legal nightmares further down the road. Some of the biggest characteristics that must be present in order for a consent to be valid includes ensuring that the biological parent is mentally competent and fully understands what he or she is consenting to. Additionally, under Louisiana law, a biological parent must receive counseling sessions prior to surrendering his or her rights to the trial.

Skilled family law team can address child custody issues

When a relationship in Louisiana comes to an end, whether through divorce or an unmarried couple's breakup, children can be thrust into the center of the split. In these instances, like in the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie divorce discussed last week, parents may find themselves in heated exchanges over child custody. Whether you are looking to determine initial custody matters out of a divorce, or you are trying to modify child custody, you need to make sure you make strong legal arguments that support your position.

It is critical to understand that, when making a child custody determination, a court will make the best interests of the child a top priority. Therefore, if you are looking to obtain sole custody or limit the other parent's parenting time, then you need to illustrate for the judge why taking that action would be in the child's best interest. Like in the Jolie/Pitt case, you may be able to utilize allegations of abuse and neglect to support your claim, or you can turn to financial, substance abuse and stability matters.

Brad Pitt child abuse allegations may affect child custody

Our media tends to fixate on celebrity couples and their successes and failures. Though many of us may experience fatigue hearing about celebrity divorce and spats over alimony, oftentimes within these stories are lessons to be learned. A Louisianan may be able to better see how a high-asset divorce may affect them and how child support matters can affect their day-to-day lives. Another area where celebrity divorces can be illustrative is child custody.

It was just recently announced that actress Angelina Jolie has filed for divorce from her husband and superstar actor Brad Pitt. In a bit of twist to the story, Jolie has indicated in her divorce petition that she will be seeking sole custody of the couple's six children. The divorce filing and custody request come just one day after Pitt allegedly verbally and physically abused his children while on a flight between France and the U.S. The matter was allegedly referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as it occurred while in the air.

How to challenge a paternity dispute

As this blog has discussed in the past, there are many instances when a Louisianan may want to establish paternity. By establishing paternity, a custodial parent may be able to obtain much needed child support, and a man could claim his father's rights, which may include parenting time and custody. However, there are also instances when challenging paternity may be in one's best interests.

This may be especially true for a man who is being forced to pay child support for a child he believes is not his biological child. If paternity has been established, then the man will have to disprove the validity of that determination, which would then alleviate him of the obligation.

College expenses and child support in Louisiana

Having a child is expensive, and neither divorce nor having a child out of wedlock can shield one from the financial obligation of providing for his or her child. Though the length of child support can span many years, it eventually comes to an end. But when should it end? Obviously, once the child becomes an adult, child support is no longer necessary. Yet, many Louisianans may find themselves concerned about college expenses, as this period of life can bridge both childhood and adulthood.

If there is no statutory or case law that mandates child support for college expenses, what does this mean? It means that parents of a college-bound kid should try to resolve the matter as best they can on their own. If they fail to do so, then it will likely be left to the custodial parent and the college goer to foot the bill for the expenses.

Child custody jurisdiction when multiple states are involved

As we have discussed on this blog many times, family law issues can be complex. This can be especially true when matters cross state lines. When this happens, an individual in Louisiana needs to know how the law applies to them and how to protect their own rights, lest they be taken advantage of. Though multi-state involvement can affect many issues, one of the most important is child custody and visitation.

The first issue here is jurisdiction. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act lays out how a court obtains jurisdiction over a child so that it can issue orders regarding that child. There are essentially four ways that a court can obtain jurisdiction. First, a court can issue orders if the state in which the court is located is deemed the child's home state. A state is considered the child's home state if the child has lived with a parent there for six months or more.

We have years of experience handling adoptions

Adoption in Louisiana is a process that can be beneficial for all parties involved. A child needs a home where he or she can receive the love and care he or she needs, while adoptive parents are able to expand their family and enjoy the love and happiness a child can bring. However, sometimes there are legal complications related to adoption, and sometimes the adoption itself is contested. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel in over your head and don't know where to turn for help, you may need the assistance of a legal professional.

For example, if you are facing a contested adoption, then you need someone who can help you prepare for the battle ahead and craft strong legal arguments. It's critical to remember that in legal matters related to children in the family law context, a court will always put the best interest of the child first. Therefore, you will need to argue why your adopting of a child is better for him or her than the other party. This often requires acquiring and presenting evidence, including any therapist reports.

Mental health can affect divorce legal issues

To an outsider in Louisiana, the divorce legal process can seem quite simple: spouses who no longer get along divide their property and time with their children and go their separate ways. But what happens when the law prevents an individual from even saying that he or she wants to end a marriage? That is the case in one Kentucky case that is drawing a lot of attention. As this case highlights, the law can complicate matters significantly in an effort to ensure fairness and the protection of certain rights.

There, an 88-year-old man wanted to divorce his wife over irreconcilable differences. However, as of 2008, the man's wife is his acting guardian as, at that time, he was deemed mentally incompetent. Since the divorce's filing in 2013, the man's wife has claimed that he needs her to prevent him from squandering his finances on scams, and thus she will not consent to the divorce. The man, on the other hand, claims that he is a prisoner in his own house and that he is not mentally incompetent. As the law currently stands in Kentucky, a mentally incompetent individual cannot seek a dissolution of their marriage. The Kentucky Supreme Court will be hearing the case.

How do I qualify to adopt a child in Louisiana?

If you are thinking about adopting a child, then you are considering making a huge difference in a child's life. There are many children across Louisiana who are without permanent homes, and the decision to bring one of them into your family means giving them the forever home they deserve. But the process is regulated to ensure child safety and adoptive parents' ability to provide care for the child.

So how do you qualify to be an adoptive parent? First, though it's not required, it should be noted that Louisiana recognizes a dual certification to be both a foster parent and an adoptive parent. Why is this important? Certified foster parents may be eligible for certain benefits that non-certified individuals aren't afforded. Regardless, to qualify to adopt a child you must be 21 or older, have a sufficient income, and be in good overall health. Your marital status is inconsequential when adopting.

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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