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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

How does a divorce proceed?

Even though deciding to end a marriage is a difficult decision that is gotten to over a period of months, once the process begins Louisiana couples prefer that the matter is resolved as soon as possible. Like most other legal processes, a divorce can be marred by delays, but most divorces follow a similar timeline.

Once the party filing for divorce has submitted their petition to the court, detailing the reasons for the divorce and a suggested method of resolution of family law issues such as custody, maintenance and property division, they then serve the same petition to the other party. Along with the petition, summons are also served, which requires the other spouse to submit a response. There is a deadline within which the response must be filed, usually a couple of weeks, clarifying whether the spouse agrees with the petition. If no response is filed, then the court assumes that the terms of the petition are agreed to.

Prep for a divorce in the new year to save time, headache

December may be the month that sees the lowest number if divorce filings, according to a study conducted that analyzed 15 years' worth of filings from one state in the country. They peak in March and once again in August-coinciding with the end of holidays that could contribute to stressors that could be the final straw that break a marriage. Many experts call January 1 "Divorce Day", as they see a spike in phone calls requesting information about divorce.

Those Louisiana couples that stuck out the holidays for family members and are now mulling over a separation in the new year may want to consider taking a few steps to ensure they are prepared for ending their marriage.

Prenup, post-nup or cohab - legal help can pave the way

Holiday season both brings families together and increases tensions in families already struggling to keep a happy façade for loved one's sakes. Though it may not seem like the best option at the time, one should consider starting the New Year on a new note and leave fledgling relationships behind. One reason may be because with divorces come uncertainties and many Louisiana residents prefer being in a situation that they are familiar with rather than one they are uncertain about.

One way to reduce uncertainties is by getting to know as much about the related family law issues. Child custody laws, property division and alimony are just some of the issues that arise and need resolution before a divorce agreement can be finalized and any of these topics can be a source of dispute between a divorcing couple.

What is the difference between a prenup and cohab agreement?

When Louisiana residents are married to one another, the relationship has a legal meaning-the couple has certain rights and duties in relation to one another, both during the marriage and during a divorce. But these days, not all couples are rushing to get married-they want to live together for some time before tying the knot. This could be because they want to assess their long-term viability or simply to reduce rent payments, but unfortunately domestic partners don't always get the same rights as couples do post breakup.

One way domestic partners can try to provide rights to one another similar to those that married couples enjoy is to enter into a living together contract or a cohabitation agreement. Courts generally recognize and enforce these agreements, requiring that they be written and signed by both parties. Couples can include provisions on the division of property in case of death or breakup, financial support during the relationship and after it ends, division of debts and even on child custody, support and visitation.

How can I avoid child custody disputes during the holidays?

Most parents want to spend the holidays with their children and when they are all living together as a single unit, that is traditionally how the festive season is spent. But when the Louisiana couple ends up divorcing one another, then the holidays are also split between the two new households. Those going through a divorce or already divorced understand that the holidays bring with them difficult conversations and negotiations about who will spend which holiday and which day with the children. Courts are often backed up with couples arguing over who gets to spend time with kids when.

One way to avoid this conflict at the last minute is to have a parenting plan in place. This helps avoid contentious arguments about who said what. The parenting plan is a written agreement between both parents and should ideally prevent further disputes, but its important to keep in mind that both parents are arguing over getting to spend the same day with their children and the disputes can get contentious.

Is one gender more likely to receive alimony than the other?

Alimony is considered a financial tool to even out the imbalance a divorcing couple may face as one spouse may be earning more than the other and, without a stable source of income, the one who is financially dependent on the other may find their financial life suddenly falling apart. But the question that comes to mind in today's families is-do men receive alimony as well as women?

Of the 400,000 people who received alimony or spousal support in the country in 2014, Louisiana residents may be surprised to hear only three percent were men, even though female breadwinners had headed 40 percent of the divorced households. This means that thousands of men who might have been eligible to receive alimony did not. But why?

Can unwed fathers object to adoptions?

As family structures are changing across the country, many children are being born to unwed parents in Louisiana. This has repercussions when determining the legal parents of the child-if a couple is married when a child is born, it is assumed the couple are the parents. When the parents are unmarried, the mother is legally the parent, but the father must establish paternity in order to become the legal parent of the child. Additionally, the legal father must consent or withhold consent from allowing the child to be adopted.

Adoption requires consent from both the parents and if a father wishes to protest the adoption, not only must he establish paternity but he also must demonstrate a commitment to raising the child. The failure to acknowledge paternity actually demonstrates a lack of commitment to raising the child and becoming an active part of their life-waiting too long is taken to mean that there is not enough interest in the child. It is important to know that unwed fathers that did not learn about their children until after the child was adopted cannot object when they find out-the clock on establishing paternity begins when the child is born or even during the pregnancy. The obligation to care and provide for one's offspring begins as soon as the child is born, not when the father learns of the child.

What to expect when you're divorcing: Child custody basics

Whether you're in the midst of your divorce or just considering broaching the subject, as a parent, your children are probably the number one issue on your mind.

You're likely concerned about shared parenting, visitation, and most importantly, what's best for your kids. The fact of the matter is, when it comes to child custody, that's the issue the courts are most concerned with as well.

The relationship between tax reform and alimony

One way a divorcing couple tries to even out the financial imbalance a divorce causes is by establishing alimony-financial support from a former spouse who earns more income to the other spouse who perhaps earns lesser or has not been working for some time due to the marriage. Alimony is an important tool for parties trying to get back on their feet without having to worry about keeping the roof over their head.

Mediate your way to better family law solutions

Divorce is stressful and complex, even for amicable couples, and some Louisiana couples may look for ways to reduce the complications associated with this process. One way that you can do this is by choosing mediation over traditional divorce litigation. Mediation is not possible for everyone, but it could offer you a better way to resolve complex family law issues.

Mediation is different from litigation in many ways. Instead of going to court or becoming embroiled in a complex legal battle, you will work through the terms of your divorce order through respectful negotiations and discussions. If you are looking for a way to make the divorce process a bit easier, you may consider the benefits of mediation.

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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