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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Conditions for interim spousal support in Louisiana

While a couple is married in Louisiana, they develop a routine, which may include one spouse running the home while the other continues to work. Or, one spouse may have accepted a lower paying job with better hours while the other works in a better paying job. Whatever their arrangement is, they have generally agreed on a situation that allows them to maintain a certain standard of living and it involves one spouse's financial dependence on the other. If the couple ends up divorcing, not only does this place one person at a long-term financial disadvantage, but also short term when they are suddenly deprived of the means of making ends meet.

Alimony, or spousal support, is a financial tool that couples use during a divorce. One spouse is obligated to pay another a certain amount of financial support after the divorce takes place and the court determines this amount after considering a number of factors including the party's ability to earn money currently and in the future, their ages and health, how long the parties were married and the conditions that led up to the divorce. Louisiana allows for both long term and temporary alimony.

Virtual visitation may be an option in your child custody matter

Technology now plays a role in practically everything Louisiana residents do. From their smartphones individuals can order groceries, buy clothing that will be delivered to their doors, catch up on the news, communicate with friends and family members, find dates, manage work commitments and a plethora of other activities. Electronic connectivity is making the world smaller and is now impacting the way that some families handle their custodial and visitation responsibilities.

While traditional methods of visitation between children and their noncustodial parents involved the kids and adults coming together for short periods of time based on schedules, virtual visitation expands visitation opportunities to anywhere the parties can connect electronically. For example, if a noncustodial parent and their kids lived far apart and could not regularly get together, virtual visitation may allow them to connect online and maintain the important relationships with each other that serve the children's best interests.

Who can adopt privately in Louisiana?

Deciding to expand one's family by adopting a child is a rewarding and exhilarating decision for many Louisiana residents. Not only does it provide a child with the stability they deserve and crave, it allows parents to take over the emotional, physical and financial care of a child who deserves it. Understandably though, the laws surrounding adoption are very stringent and adopting parents must meet certain criteria before they are approved.

Louisiana is one of a handful of states that requires that the person who is about to adopt a child be at least 18-years-old. Other than this age requirement, anyone can adopt a child, depending on the type of adoption. Louisiana allows for agency, private and intrafamily adoption. The following post will focus on private adoption and an upcoming post will focus on the adoption process that takes place within a family.

Not all assets and accounts are equal

During a marriage, couples are likely to divide the daily chores between each other, including the responsibility of fulfilling financial obligations. When the couple divorces, this could mean one spouse is unaware of where they stand financially. And this could leave one party in worse shape than they expected to be in after the marriage ends. There are, however, a few steps that can be taken to avoid financial missteps.

Couples often end up fighting over who keeps the family house. Although this may provide some stability during an otherwise unsettling time, keeping the house is not the best option for everyone. Maintaining the house can be expensive. Similarly, one should think twice before accepting the house in lieu of the other party getting comparably valued investments. This means one party accepts the house while the other takes retirement accounts or bank accounts worth the same amount. While the amount may be equal on paper, in reality maintaining the house is more costly than the other financial obligations.

What are the pros and cons of nesting?

When coming up with child custody arrangements post-divorce, Louisiana residents may often consider the traditional options that would be in their child's best interests when it comes to joint physical custody and legal custody. Even though parents and courts alike try to ensure the time spent with each parent is equal to the other, it often involves a lot of upheaval for children, such as kids packing up and going from one house to another routinely. This causes confusion and the eventual phone call asking for homework or a violin to be brought from one location to another, for example.

Another option gaining popularity as a way to provide children with the stability they need to flourish is "nesting." Nesting is an arrangement in which the children remain living in the family home and it is the parents who rotate in and out, depending on the custody arrangement. This practice allows everything to remain stable and predictable for the kids and avoid a situation where there are two sets of toys, bedrooms and materials.

What makes a prenuptial agreement unconscionable?

Gone are the days when discussing financial situations before marriage causes friction between a couple. Similarly gone are the days when only the affluent businessmen married to homemakers interested in protecting their assets are having their potential spouses sign premarital agreements. With so many couples marrying later on in their life and burdened with different financial obligations, more Louisiana residents are entering into prenuptial agreements.

The preconceived stigma associated with signing an agreement outlining the division of property, assets, investments, income and debts, among other issues, pales in comparison to the benefits associated with the contract. It allows couples to take away property division issues from the state in the event of a divorce and make them, knowingly and voluntarily, through mutual agreement. But, it is important to know the legalities involved in the process so that the resulting agreement is enforceable.

What if my child support order doesn't include extracurriculars?

Recently, divorced parents in New Orleans put the first week of back to school drama behind them. They may even have a sigh of relief knowing the school bus is picking up the kids at the right place, handing off with the other parent is going smoothly and the children seem to be settling into their routine. But then come the notices asking about extracurricular activities and the questions begin flying again. Who will pay for the activities and associated costs?

In an ideal situation, the child support order included the breakdown of these costs. A detailed judgment would include which activities the child participates in and how those costs would be divided between the parents. If nothing else, at least the award would include a way the parties would come to the decision regarding extracurricular activities if not included in the order.

Experience matters when choosing legal help during divorce

Once a couple decides to end their marriage, it means they are terminating most of their rights and duties for and to one another. But when children are involved, the obligations to the children remain very much alive. That means that the divorcing couple has to figure out how they are going to share custody of their children; where the children will physically live and how decisions regarding the children's future will be made. In addition to this, parents also have to figure out how the parent without physical custody will visit the children. Usually, a non-custodial parent cannot just get up on a whim and decide that they want to pick up the kids from school.

These decisions can be made amicably if both the parents agree on their own, with or without legal assistance. Judges in Louisiana, like in most other states, would prefer to enforce custody and visitation schedules that the parents have agreed on. This is because it generally suits the parent's schedule; therefore, there are no surprises.

Ease the back to school transition for kids post divorce

As the beginning of the school year approaches, many children returning to school in Louisiana may be nervous about their new beginnings. A new class, new friends or a new school altogether can cause children of all ages anxiety about their first day. When the child's parents have gone through a divorce during the summer and are now living separately for the first time, the first day of school can be even more overwhelming. There are, however, a number of steps divorced parents can take to ensure their child's first day back goes as smoothly as possible.

To begin, it is very important to sort out who has custody of the children that morning and where the child will be residing. Depending on the type of child custody arrangement the divorced couple has agreed on, the child could be residing in a different place for the first day of school. Once the parents have figured out where the child will be, it would be beneficial to speak to someone from the district transportation department, ensuring they are aware of the changes of where they will be picking up the child and when.

What are the rights of noncustodial parents?

Last week's blog discussed the best interests of the child standard as it pertains to custody decisions. When making child custody decisions, courts assess a number of factors to determine what is in the best interests of the children in question before making a child custody order. Generally, Louisiana courts lean towards awarding joint physical custody if the parents are in close proximity to one another. However, when this does not happen, then the parent who does not have primary custody, also referred to as the noncustodial parent, has to work out a visitation schedule.

In Louisiana, the Department of Children and Family Services helps noncustodial parents get visitation with their children if they do not have a history of family violence or physical abuse toward the child. The general rule is that all noncustodial parents are allowed visitation rights with their children unless there are allegations of abuse or the court has ordered supervised visitation. The program seeks to help parents with an open case with the Support Enforcement Services Office, facilitating the emotional development of minor children by ensuring a healthier connection with the parent they are not living with primarily.

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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