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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Restraining orders available for victims of domestic violence

Domestic violence affects numerous families in Louisiana every year. This is an issue that law enforcement officials take very seriously, as the damage this type of behavior causes can be devastating. Victims of domestic violence have the ability to seek restraining orders to help them find relief. If you desire an order of protection, an experienced attorney can help you take the steps necessary to obtain one.

Restraining orders, also referred to as protective orders, can only be obtained by filing a petition in court. If approved, an alleged abuser will be legally unable to contact or come within a certain distance of the petitioner. Abusers who violate the terms of restraining orders may face criminal charges.

Fathers' rights for unmarried dads

In the past 10 years, the number of unwed fathers has jumped over 20 percent. Unfortunately, many of those fathers are not an influential part of their children's lives. Parenting experts believe this may be because unwed men are not aware of their fathers' rights and responsibilities. These advocates feel that fathers would participate more fully in their children's lives if they knew how.

As soon as a man learns of a pregnancy for which he may be responsible, he can begin to establish paternal rights. Louisiana, like many states, has established a putative father registry where a man can declare himself to be the father of a child. Claiming paternity gives a man advantages regarding the adoption or custody of the child.

State Senator Troy Brown accused of domestic abuse for 2nd time

Louisiana lawmakers often have tough decisions to make. However, recent events involving one of their own have left those elected officials struggling to decide the right course of action. After learning that State Senator Troy Brown had been charged with domestic abuse, some are calling for him to lose his job.

Senator Brown argues that the misdemeanors of committing violence against a woman should not disqualify him from his role. Apparently neither his wife nor his girlfriend, both of whom he is accused of assaulting, planned to testify against him before he pleaded no contest to the charges. He allegedly bit his wife during a tussle and punched his girlfriend in the face in separate incidents. The two events took place about four months apart.

Protecting children from personal disputes after divorce

The first year or so after a divorce may be the most difficult as former partners struggle to maintain a sense of balance and stability for their children while finding their own footing. While communication with an ex-spouse may be emotionally exhausting, it is also crucial to establishing the tone for co-parenting for years to come. Louisiana couples may be unable to avoid disputes as they move past the settlement, but psychologists advise them to be aware of how their actions affect their children.

It has been noted that negative comments and insults directed at each other may also be taken personally by their children. Parents who feel the need to vent about their former spouses are advised to do so in privacy, perhaps with a therapist, so children do not feel more conflicted than they are. It is also recommended that parents create an environment that does not place children in the middle of adversarial situations. One example might be questioning or quizzing them about the time they spend at their other parent's house.

Divorce mediation in Louisiana can be first step to new life

Undoubtedly, most people in Louisiana expect their marriages will last a lifetime. When the truth is different from those expectations, it can be a sad and even depressing realization. If one has made plans and goals based on the ideal of being part of a couple, letting go of those dreams may be difficult. However, a change in perspective may help one remain positive and even allow one to participate in divorce mediation with dignity and grace.

Advisors recommend looking at one's marriage with a critical eye. If a person can see the underlying unhappiness that led to the breakup, he or she may be able to focus on the opportunities ahead. This may be the chance for one to make long-desired changes or pursue interests the marriage may have forced him or her to deny. After a divorce, people often take trips or classes. Even if it is as simple as a new haircut, taking a step toward self-improvement can be empowering.

Going through a legal separation? Fathers' rights still stand

Choosing to end one's marriage is not an easy decision to make. A lot is at stake, and no one wants to make the wrong choice. If this is something you are thinking about but are unsure of, legal separation may be able to help bring clarity to the situation.

Child custody is complicated with addiction in the family

When drug addiction invades a family, children often suffer in unimaginable ways. Many children of drug addicts end up living with their grandparents when authorities decide their parents are no longer fit for child custody. However, the circumstances may become desperate if the grandparents are also dealing with drug addiction.

A picture that captured the attention of people in Louisiana and around the world is an example of just such a situation. The photo depicted an unconscious man and woman in the front seat of a vehicle with a small boy strapped in his car seat in the back. Police posted the image on social media to illustrate the dangers of heroin use, and the post went viral.

Changes in families brings changes in child support expectations

Louisiana courts have seen interesting changes in family law over the past few years. Some decades-old provisions that were taken for granted are now becoming less mainstream. Mothers having careers and fathers taking more active roles in raising children have led many to reconsider common issues like child support and alimony. More often, divorce settlements do not include those items.

While it is probably not likely that child support will ever become a thing of the past, the changes in post-divorce family dynamics are making it less necessary for many parents. More collaborative divorces mean that parents do not necessarily become adversaries after the settlement. Fathers are asking for equal parenting time instead of the traditional visitation schedule of alternating weekends and occasional overnights with the kids. With parenting responsibilities divided more equally, child support may not be necessary.

Disputes may be avoided by talking about money before marriage

The holiday season often brings a feeling of romance, which turns many Louisiana couples to thoughts of engagement and marriage. Soon, the two may begin planning their wedding, reception and honeymoon, interspersed with decisions about where and how they will live. It may seem that discussing finances soon after a proposal is not very romantic, but having a frank conversation now may prevent future disputes over money, the most common cause of divorce.

The first thing financial planners suggest is that couples share their philosophies of money. While one person may feel that money is meant to be enjoyed, the other may see money as something to save and protect as security. Establishing these differences, which often stem from a person's upbringing, will help the two reach a common attitude about their future.

Will you be given a fair chance at custody as a father?

Traditionally, mothers received preference when it comes to custody of the children. Now, the courts use "the best interests" of the children as a guide to awarding custody. Supposedly, this approach looks at mothers and fathers equally, but as many men in Louisiana already know, mothers still tend to receive preferential treatment.

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