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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

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.

Adoption through the foster care system

Choosing to adopt a child is a major decision. Taking a child into your home can have an emotional impact on you and the child. Yet, knowing that you are giving a home to a child in need can give life purpose and spread happiness amongst your family. Although making the decision to adopt can be tough, those in Louisiana who choose to adopt have many other choices to make moving forward.

One of those decisions is whether they want to adopt through the foster care system or go another route. Foster children, who are wards of the state through no fault of their own, only return to their birth parents in half of all cases. Although other forms of adoption may allow an individual to adopt a baby, foster care adoptions often involve older children, from toddlers to teenagers. Additionally, many foster children have been subjected to trauma, meaning that an adoptive family needs to be prepared to effectively understand and help the child they are adopting.

Grandparents' rights in Louisiana

Nowadays, more and more grandparents find themselves in a situation where they need to care for their grandchildren. The reasons are various, whether due to parents who are unwilling or unable to parent or the sudden passing of a child's parents. However, there are just as many grandparents who want to spend more time with their grandchildren, but this valuable time is being threatened. This most often occurs when a child's parents get a divorce, with one parent being granted sole custody.

However, restricting grandparent access to a child can cause emotional harm to a child, especially when the relationship between a grandparent and the child was strong prior to the restriction. In these instances, it may be possible for a grandparent to protect his or her visitation rights. In order to do so, the grandparent must intervene in a pending divorce case and convince a judge that extraordinary circumstances exist justifying the visitation. Here, a judge will look at the length of the relationship, its quality and whether the grandparent can provide some sort of guidance and support that the child's parents cannot.

Louisiana firm crafting compelling family law arguments

In our last blog post we discussed a messy high-asset divorce where some family law issues have lingered for years. It's not uncommon for these matters to arise from time-to-time, even post-divorce. One parent may want to seek sole custody of their child, another may want to modify an existing child support obligation, or, as was the circumstance in the case discussed last week, one former spouse may want to modify an alimony obligation.

Regardless of what kind of divorce legal issue an individual in Louisiana is facing, knowing how to craft compelling legal arguments is the key to success. Child custody matters hinge on showing what is in a child's best interests, and child support and spousal support modifications are determined based on a satisfactory showing of changed circumstances. Since the legal system is adversarial by nature, those facing these issues need to know not only how to persuasively present their arguments but also negate the other side's position.

Divorce legal issues can linger for years after divorce

Regardless of who you are, your financial standing or your family makeup, getting a divorce can force you to deal with some serious legal issues. The outcome of these matters can reshape your financial and emotional future, and may even define how much time you get to spend with your children. Although many couples are able to resolve these family law legal issues in an amicable way, many others are forced to take their marriage dissolution to court where arguments are made and a judge issues a ruling to settle the matters.

This is where one high-profile divorce stands after the parties separated in 2007. The case, which involves the founder of Cancer Treatment Centers of America and his wife, involves extremely valuable assets. The couple is battling over the division of those assets as well as spousal support. The ex-wife is now seeking $400,000 a month in alimony, stating that the amount is necessary to maintain the standard of living she enjoyed while married.

Financial tips for divorce in the New Year

Regardless of your race, gender or age, divorce can be liberating. Divorce can reshape your life, but there may be steps you can take to ensure that you protect your financial interests so that you can find the stability you need to start your new post-divorce life.

One way to find financial stability is to seek alimony, also known as spousal support, from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Many don't realize that this compensation may be obtainable even before a divorce is finalized. You may be able to obtain a court order that allows you to receive these payments, which could go a long way toward helping you find your financial footing.

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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