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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Family law issues need the right legal approach

Although most couples expect a marriage to last a lifetime, the reality is that changing interests, diverging careers and a number of other reasons often end up contributing to the end of the marriage. This period of terminating the marriage often is one of confusion and uncertainty-while once a person's life was going down a set path with a partner, now that person may have no idea where they are going to live and how they are going to manage to go to work with children. These are just some of the family law issues that arise in a divorce that can seem overwhelming for a Louisiana resident.

Uncertainty and confusion often makes people agree to terms in the divorce agreement that might not be in the person's best interests in the long run. In a rush to get to an agreement, a person might not even know there are certain minimum standards of child support that should be adhered to and what property division rules are applicable. At that time, in the hope of resolving disputes, Louisiana residents ends up shortchanging themselves for the future.

What do I do if I want to travel with my kids over the summer?

Last week's post discussed parenting plans and how having one in force can help parents maintain an agreeable child custody, decision and visitation schedule and establish a routine that everyone can rely on. But summer vacation is upon Louisiana residents and that means child custody arrangements change, depending on the type of situation one is in.

Most agreements generally set out what the arrangement will be over the summer-the vacation could be divided on a bi-weekly basis or a monthly basis. Though this may simplify the situation for families, most awards also stipulate a deadline by which one parent must notify the other of the arrangement and not staying on top of that can sour family relations as well as summer vacations.

What is a parenting plan?

One of the issues critics of the shared parenting movement have is that rather than focus on what is in the child's best interests, the focus moves on to how to treat parents equally and this is not always best for the children. Proponents of it, however, claim that having equal access to both parents is in the best interests of children, but not all families are the same. Louisiana residents going through a divorce know their individual circumstances better and may want to work out another child custody arrangement.

Rather than leave the decision up to the judge, divorcing parents can take the matter into their hands and craft a parenting plan for child custody. These guidelines can be whatever the parents want it to be-they can allocate parenting time, decision making authority for each child and issue and can even spell out dispute resolution options when child custody disputes invariably arise.

Intercountry adoption basics

Various types of adoptions were discussed in last week's blog post, but one was not mentioned, as it often ends up being more complicated than domestic ones. Intercountry adoptions, the process through which someone adopts a child from a country other than their own through permanent legal means and then brings that child to live with them in their country of residence, is mired in international, state and foreign law, which is why it can often become complicated.

The first step to adopting a child from another country is ensuring that one is eligible in the United States. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is the federal agency responsible for making this determination-no child can be brought into the country unless the USCIS deems the adopter eligible. Some of their basic requirements are that the person adopting be an American citizen, at least 25 years of age if they are unmarried or if married, the child must be adopted jointly and the spouse must also be either a legal resident or citizen of America. There are also other requirements regarding background checks, fingerprinting and a home check. In addition to these, each state has their own eligibility criteria and so does the foreign country from where the children are being adopted.

Types of adoptions

There are different ways Louisiana residents who wish to have offspring can complete their family. One of the ways is through adoption, giving a stable and safe childhood to a child whose biological parents were unable to do so for one reason or another. Before embarking on the journey to adopt a child, it is important to understand the different types.

When birthparents cannot take care of their children and terminate their parental rights, they are generally moved into foster care while they are waiting to be adopted. Fost-adopt is a type of adoption where a child is placed with a home as a foster child, but with the expectation that the child will become free and available to become adopted by the family they are living with.

Does a promotion mean a person is more likely to get divorced?

A study looking into the adverse effects of a woman's promotion on her marriage has highlighted a worry trend -- many couples are in relationships that value a man's career over his wife's. As a result, a wife's promotion can cause an "unequal" balance, whereby a woman's supposed tasks are not being completed, straining the marriage. The study concluded that married women promoted, either in the public sector or in the private, were more likely to get divorced soon after their promotion.

The study found that woman who were either not working when they got married or were earning less than their husband, suddenly got a promotion at work or a career surge, found themselves divorced within three years of their new post. For example, women in the public sector, such as mayors or Parliamentarians, who won elections were seven percentage points less likely to remain married to their spouse than someone who lost the election.

Negotiating a child custody agreement is possible with help

Going from seeing one's children on a daily basis to once a week is a huge transition not just for divorcing Louisiana parents, but also for their children. However, this does not have to be the only option. As mentioned previously on this blog, judges are now favoring joint custody awards, giving both parents equal access to children and allowing them to develop a relationship with their children.

Many people may not realize that even before the case reaches a court, divorcing parents themselves have an opportunity to establish a child custody and visitation plan. The benefits of this are obvious --parents can work out visitation based on their schedules and accommodate one another's needs. If they are unable to reach a decision and a judge intervenes, making a decision based on the best interests of the children and this can involve arrangements the parents are not in favor.

Rights and responsibilities of non-custodial parents

The benefits of having both parents involved in their children's upbringing post divorce have been discussed recently on this East Baton Rouge Family Law Blog. As mentioned previously, when fathers maintain a healthy relationship with the children, it improves their self-esteem and reduces the instances of psychological or behavioral problems. This is why courts also lean towards awarding joint custody and parents try to create a child custody arrangement that reflects it.

The Department of Children and Family Services also tries to promote a child's emotional well-being by ensuring each parent contributes to the upbringing of their children, by trying to encourage them to fulfill their responsibilities and exercise their rights. This means that even where one parent is appointed the primary caretaker, the noncustodial parent has certain rights and responsibilities that they must meet and this department helps them.

Is talking about divorce before getting married a good idea?

It may sound like a contradiction, talking about the possible reasons why one might get a divorce from their partner, soon after they get engaged to one another, but some experts claim this could possibly be the best time do engage in this discussion. If a couple lays out their boundaries and expectations before embarking on their marital journey together, there are less likely to be misunderstandings further on in the relationship.

Louisiana couples should talk about non-negotiable issues for them. What does fidelity mean, how are they going to handle financial issues and where do they see themselves after a certain number of years. This gives each party a realistic expectation of their marriage.

What are modern approaches to child custody arrangements?

When Louisiana residents think of their options for child custody after a divorce, they may take the traditional view -- one of the parents is a primary caretaker -- the custodial parent -- while the other gets visitation rights, typically over the weekend and alternate holidays. However, this norm is changing. It is moving more into what is really best for the child, rather than what the wants of the parents. And, research has shown again and again that a father's involvement in the child's life is in their best interests. Children are shown to have lesser psychological and behavioral problems if parents have joint custody post divorce.

Child custody arrangements are getting the modern treatment, and this could mean anything, as long as children are happy. Parents are trying to peacefully and collectively put aside their issues and come to a custody arrangement that would make their child's life continue smoothly and allow both parents to continue to have a relationship with the child.

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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