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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Family law issues include much more than just divorce

Many of the decisions that alter the lives of Louisiana residents surround those they love. Family law issues involve more than just divorce. Any number of disputes or needs that you have regarding your spouse, your children or perhaps other family members could fall under family law.

For example, unmarried couples with children have plenty of family law issues. First, because you are not married, the paternity of your child's biological father needs to be established legally. You might think that simply putting the father's name on the birth certificate suffices, but it does not. At a minimum, an affidavit would need to be filed with the birth certificate. If not done at the appropriate time, establishing paternity could require petitioning the court.

Ways to stop domestic abuse

Those who live in a relationship where there is domestic violence often feel trapped. In fact, it can seem that there is no way to stop the horror. Despite this fear, in Louisiana and all other states, there are a number of ways to deal with domestic abuse.

An important step to ending domestic violence is to obtain a temporary restraining order or a protective order. This type of legal relief is available in all 50 states and may limit contact, order an abuser to leave a shared premises or prevent him or her from having any legal contact with the victim. In cases where there is documented physical abuse, it may even be possible to receive an emergency protection order. These are given when the abuser is arrested, and are valid for a temporary period of time, giving the victim time to file for a protection order in court, which will be more permanent. The type of order a person needs will depend on his or her situation.

Don't get behind the 8 ball when it comes to child support

Like most Louisiana parents, you probably take your commitment to your children seriously. This includes your financial obligations. Even so, sometimes paying child support becomes a burden that you can't keep up with each month due to a variety of circumstances. Simply ignoring that obligation comes with some serious penalties that might jeopardize your work and personal life.

What could happen if I don't pay?

Determining a fair amount for child support in Louisiana

The end of a marriage is generally a stressful and challenging period for everyone involved. For couples who have children together, the process is often complex. Child support and custody are some of the tougher areas of divorce in Louisiana, and these can have a major impact on the future. A parent who is facing a similar situation may have a great deal to consider while attempting to make decisions that are in the best interest of the children.

When attempting to agree on an amount for child support, a parent should determine the amount necessary based on the child's needs. Specific areas that are included may be items such as clothing and supplies for school, as well as an amount for extracurricular activities such as sports. This amount can also include a child's health care expenses and other basic needs.

Prenuptial agreements can make divorce less stressful

For many Louisiana couples planning a marriage, the idea of a future divorce is unthinkable. However, discussing subjects like prenuptial agreements can benefit both partners in the long run. These agreements are designed to help sort out finances and other concerns so that couples do not have to worry about them later.

One way in which prenuptial agreements can help is by protecting assets. This allows couples to ensure that assets they each entered the marriage with are retained should they divorce. They can also determine how to allocate shared assets that are gained during the course of the marriage, such as houses or property. This can be particularly beneficial for older couples who may enter the marriage with a significant amount of assets.

New bill could help domestic abuse victims in divorce filings

Sometimes relationships do not turn out the way both partners envisioned. When a person's spouse resorts to domestic abuse, victims may question whether they should leave the abusive partner. The legal complications involved can be emotionally difficult for victims who seek to divorce because of domestic abuse. However, a new bill that recently passed in the state's House of Representatives may simplify the process for those seeking a divorce in Louisiana if enacted into law.

The goal of the new bill is to provide an easier method of proving domestic abuse in divorce proceedings. The bill would change the law so that only one witness is needed to testify, and it would allow the victimized spouse to serve as the witness. In addition to relieving some of the burden of proof in providing extra witnesses, this also helps protect children by not requiring them to serve as witnesses.

Family law: Blended families can benefit from estate planning

Families come in all shapes and sizes these days. Those with children from previous marriages are often called "blended" families. It is especially important for those in this situation to think about the future in terms of estate planning because they may have more family members to take into consideration. An experienced family law attorney can help advise Louisiana families regarding the choices available to them.

One issue families may want to discuss with an attorney is updating beneficiary designations and existing wills. People often list their spouse or children as beneficiaries of retirement accounts, insurance policies and wills. When remarriages occur, these are sometimes forgotten. By considering new family dynamics and updating these records with current information, future legal dilemmas could be avoided.

Financial accounts part of property distribution

Over the past decade or so, the average age when a Louisiana couple decides to marry has increased. There are many reasons for this increase in age, including the desire to become established in a career first and the increase in couples who decide to live together first. In addition to the decision to wait longer before tying the knot, fewer couples are deciding to divorce. This increase in age and career growth typically results in greater concerns when it comes to property distribution.

While the trend towards divorce may be on the decline, there are still many individuals who realize that they have made a mistake. In some cases, this mistake is easily corrected, the couple parts ways and continues on with life. However, for other couples, this mistake now entails numerous financial obstacles and concerns in addition to the emotional turmoil.

Property division can cause complications during divorce

Louisiana couples who are contemplating divorce face several challenges. One of those challenges is how to account for property division. This can be especially difficult for couples who own multiple real estate properties. Discussing this topic in advance can help avoid tensions in the future.

When it comes to dividing up property, one important issue is determining whether each spouse wants to keep the home. Some couples prefer to sell the house and split the profit. In other cases, however, one spouse wants to remain in the home. In this event, the spouse who wants to stay typically buys out the other spouse. Couples with young children will sometimes agree to wait to sell and allow one spouse to live in the house until the children are grown.

When is spousal support available in Louisiana divorce?

Spousal support, maintenance or alimony, as it is sometimes called, can be an important issue in divorce. Although most couples tend to square up financially in the property division aspect of the dissolution process, in some cases it is appropriate to seek out a spousal support award. Spousal support can be either interim, until the divorce is completed, or final.

Although fault is generally not a relevant issue for other aspects of divorce in Louisiana, it is relevant in spousal support proceedings, since state law provides that final periodic support may only be awarded to a party who needs it and is free from fault prior to filing of divorce.

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