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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.

Seeking legal counsel for unmarried family law issues

Property division, child custody, and child support are some of the many family law issues that are often associated with divorce in Louisiana. While these matters are certainly prevalent in divorce cases, they can also arise in instances where splitting couples are not married. This is becoming more common, too, as many young couples are putting off marriage in hopes of finding financial stability first. Yet, without the legal boundaries established by a legal marriage, these couples can find themselves squabbling over really important issues since there is no clearly defined way to handle them.

The best way to avoid this situation may be to enter into a cohabitation agreement. These contracts spell out which property belongs to whom and how jointly acquired property will be divided in the event that the relationship ends. These agreements are essentially the same as prenuptial agreements and can address many of the same issues. The only difference is that the agreement is not contingent upon marriage. But even these agreements can be the subject of legal disputes, which is why those seeking to enter into a cohabitation agreement, dispute the contents of such an agreement, or address pertinent family law matters in the absence of a cohabitation agreement, should consider seeking legal assistance.

Unmarried couples dividing shared property

As readers of this blog know, getting divorced is rarely easy. Complicated family law issues often arise, leaving individuals fighting over money, property, and even their children. Yet, the struggle regarding these matters is not relevant to just those facing marriage dissolution. Even those who were in an unmarried relationship can find themselves squabbling over property. This situation is becoming more and more common as more younger couples are putting off marriage.

For some unmarried Louisianans, it just makes sense to purchase a home with their significant others before tying the knot. A couple may not believe in marriage, or they may obtain other financial advantages by remaining unmarried. When these couples purchase homes they enter into either a joint tenancy or a tenancy-in-common.

Popular radio host embroiled in child custody dispute

Most Louisianans are easily able to separate their personal and professional lives. However, when one's profession has a direct impact on his or her personal life, it can be difficult to untangle the two. This may not happen all that often, but it can become an issue when couples divorce and child custody becomes a heated dispute.

To see this, one need look no further than the ongoing custody battle between radio host Alex Jones and his ex-wife, Kelly Jones. Alex Jones is best known for his on-air personality, which has drawn criticism for its outlandish claims. For example, Jones has previously claimed that the Sandy Hook school shooting was faked, and that the federal government initiated a hoax that became 9/11. Now, during the custody case, his ex-wife claims that his on-air personality is who he is as a person. Jones, or at least his attorneys, argue that his on-air act is precisely that: an act.

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.

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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