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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Understanding the basics of financial affidavits

When you file for divorce, you generally have the authority to choose the kind of approach you want to take in regards to your divorce process. If you and your spouse do not fundamentally disagree on matters of property division or child custody, you may be able to choose an inexpensive, straightforward, uncontested process. If you fundamentally disagree on important matters, you may be compelled to litigate your divorce. If you only have a few disagreements, you may be able to mediate or otherwise negotiate the majority of your divorce.

Unless you choose the most minimal process available and do not disagree with your spouse on any matters involving property division, you will likely be asked to disclose all manner of financial documents, account information and budgets. Without a clear and complete disclosure of assets, debts and other financial matters, you and your spouse will not be able to pursue a fair divorce settlement.

Divorcing? Consider these New Year's resolutions

As you may or may not know, January is the most popular month for couples in America to file for divorce. There are any number of reasons why individuals opt to divorce in January. Some couples wish to wait to file until after the holiday season is complete. Others view the new year as a time to commit to greater health and happiness. For better and for worse, sometimes greater health and happiness are best achieved by moving on from a committed relationship.

If you are currently divorcing, you may wish to focus on a few resolutions this January which may positively impact your divorce process and may help to ground your future wellbeing. You can choose to think of these resolutions as connected to the new year, but you certainly do not have to do so.

Navigating the holidays during and post-divorce

When life becomes particularly challenging, it can be difficult to find joy in the experiences you had once cherished. For example, if you are currently going through a divorce or have recently finalized one, you may be finding it difficult to enjoy the holiday season. Even though you once took pleasure in navigating the chaos of the holidays, you may find yourself now wishing that you could curl up in bed and binge-watch television instead of pasting on a smile and making appearances at holiday celebrations.

It is completely normal to have this kind of reaction to the holiday season during a tumultuous life transition. However, there is something you can do to better ensure that next year’s holiday season is genuinely brighter than this year’s may be. Now that you are transitioning from married life to single life, you can begin to embrace the holiday season on your own terms.

Refining your conflict resolution style

Family law disputes tend to be uniquely personal affairs. Few things are more personal than the inner workings of any given family. As a result, it can be particularly difficult to keep your negative emotions in check as you navigate a family law dispute. The negative feelings you have as a result of your divorce, child support dispute or other matter may be so personal and so strong that they can be difficult to contain. Unfortunately, if these feelings are not properly addressed, they may manifest in ways that can damage your case.

It is both normal and healthy to feel negative emotions when your family life becomes chaotic. What is truly critical is that you process these emotions in healthy ways that enhance your wellbeing and do not harm your family law case. As you process these negative emotions, it is important for you to keep them in check when dealing with anyone associated with your case. If you find yourself in conflict with your spouse, for example, it is particularly important that you not lash out in ways that may reflect badly on you in court.

Co-parents: It is time to prepare for the holidays

The holidays are fast approaching. Soon, your children will be let out of school for winter vacation and the season of celebration will begin in earnest. When you and your child’s other parent separated or divorced, you likely drew up some sort of parenting plan. Holiday time may or may not have been addressed in that plan. But however your child custody arrangements are structured, it is important that you and your co-parent iron out holiday details as soon as you can.

If you and your child’s other parent do not plan ahead, you risk tension, stress, miscommunication and a frustrating holiday for everyone. Holiday planning is not always pleasant, but it is important. And it is also generally important to ask your children what they want to do, when appropriate. Children are rarely given a chance to voice their feelings about holiday plans. If you ask what they want to do and where they want to be, their answers might surprise you.

Should my alimony payments be modified?

Alimony is a complex obligation. The theory supporting alimony orders aims to ensure that each spouse is given fair access to marital income, assets and (in some cases) experience upon divorce. However, spousal support obligations are not often intended to last until each spouse perishes. Family law has moved away from a lifetime alimony obligation model in recent decades towards a model that supports each spouse’s future independent wellbeing.

Essentially, this means that if the recipient spouse marries another individual post-divorce, the alimony obligations of the paying spouse will generally terminate. This kind of relationship-based grounds for termination will also generally arise if the recipient spouse lives with another romantic partner. In addition, there are other circumstances under which alimony payments will be terminated or modified.

Louisiana's 'covenant marriage' option discourages divorce

Louisiana has a unique matrimonial option for couples who want to foster a higher standard of commitment in their relationships. A "covenant marriage" seeks to ensure that the relationship is not entered into lightly or ended precipitously.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says that to be considered a covenant marriage, both parties must sign a "declaration of intent."

Your surprisingly positive post-divorce checklist

Whether your divorce has been amicable or contentious, you will likely feel a combination of both grief and relief once it is finalized. As you prepare for the finalization of your divorce, you are also preparing for your newly single life. You may be moving to a different residence, altering your work-life and shopping for new possessions, depending on what possessions your spouse opted to keep post-split. The process of transitioning from married life to single life can be unquestionably difficult.

Thankfully, once your divorce is finalized, your to-do list will change somewhat. You may need to continue to shop, move things around and otherwise adjust to living alone. However, once you have weathered the process of divorce, you can begin to live in a way that is more fully devoted to your own needs as opposed to the needs of the process itself.

Conquering your bad habits during and post-divorce

We frequently write about how important it is to take excellent care of yourself during the divorce process. Ultimately, if you allow your negative emotions and habits to rule your divorce process, you may end up with an unfair divorce settlement or an undesirable child custody arrangement. However, we have also acknowledged that it can be difficult to take excellent care of yourself while grieving your marriage and navigating the divorce process.

A few months ago, we published a blog entitled Finding yourself again after divorce. In this piece, we note that finding yourself again in the wake of divorce requires time and effort. Once you have begun to reestablish a healthy sense of self, it becomes time to tackle bad habits. Tackling your bad habits can both help you ensure that your divorce process remains fair and positive and help you establish a solid foundation for a healthy, happy future.

What to know so you can face your custody battle fears

One of the most common ways a jilted spouse will try to get under your skin during divorce proceedings is to threaten to seek full-custody of the children. Indeed, they might have seen one too many episodes of  “The Young & Restless,” or believe that on some level they are the “superior” parent, but more often than not parents begin to panic at the possibility of enduring a custody battle.

With that said, it is important to prepare for custody disputes. So here are three things to take solace in so that you don’t lose your mind worrying about what will happen.  

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