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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Breaking out of abusive relationships may not be easy

"Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes." That's an old maxim most readers in Louisiana have likely heard at one time or another. As the website Grammarist.com points out, the moral behind the statement is that it's important to have empathy for others.

When it comes to domestic violence, it can be easy to be judgmental, though most would probably agree that it's not productive. It certainly doesn't help the person who is suffering the pain and abuse. Still, it can be easy for those who have never experienced it to ask why abuse victims don't just leave. As the anti-abuse organization loveisrespect.org observes, there is no single answer to the question.

Mindful parenting during divorce may ease things for children

Being mindful is something we probably have all been urged to practice at some point or other in our lives. How many of us in Louisiana can think back to when we were told to, "Mind your Ps and Qs." Those were words usually offered as a warning about behaving, but the idea of taking a mindful approach to life is something that has taken on new meaning in recent years.

Many scientific studies have shown that mindfulness – the practice of being consciously and curiously aware of our thoughts, feelings, senses and environment in a given moment – can deliver physical and mental benefits to individuals and to society in general. Indeed, some experts argue it has particular value in helping individuals through the social, emotional and legal rigors of divorce.

Child support is meant to be fair, but in child's best interest

Child support payments can wind up being the source of a lot of long-term wrangling in matters of Louisiana family law. We touched on this a bit in a previous post, highlighting that the process of establishing appropriate child support is driven by the desire to make sure the best interests of the child are being met.

At the same time, the courts are supposed to make efforts to carefully measure how much each parent contributes in income and then base fair support payments in a way that reflects a similar percentage. If a change in circumstances related to income occurs, it is possible to seek a modification of support payments. But remembering that the plan is based on a percentages, a change might not be very drastic.

How can I anticipate child custody problems?

In the throes of a relationship collapsing, it can become easy to get so focused on the one-to-one tensions that it becomes easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. This is one reason individuals in Louisiana facing this kind of turmoil owe it to themselves to be working with an experienced family law attorney. There are a lot of facets that need to be addressed, not the least of which is custody issues when there are children involved.

Few would disagree with the idea that it's best to keep the children out of the middle of the disputes that are the business of the two parents. But in the midst of a breakup, that can be a hard goal to achieve. Whether it's because one parent feels the other parent is somehow unfit, one parent fears losing all contact with the children or the children are seen as a handy weapon; problems can arise. At the same time, skilled attorneys know there are possible remedies.

Is it time to get behind the 'fatherhood revolution?'

Louisiana law follows the general U.S. model in that its language supports the notion that a child's best interest is served when both parents are actively involved in a child's life. That might be read to mean that both parents should get equal visitation or custody time with children in the event of a divorce, but that isn't always the way things work out.

It is a sad truth that gender bias favoring the mother is still in evidence today. Dads can often feel they are somehow playing second fiddle in the parenting duet. Fighting for fathers starts with knowing what rights the law allows. If divorcing parents are able to reach accommodation on a custody or visitation plan that suits everyone, that's good. Sometimes defending rights means mounting a strong argument in court.

To help domestic violence victims it's important to know facts

Did you know that there are 245 active missing persons cases now ongoing in Louisiana? That's the word from an official with the Forensic Anthropology and Computer enhancement Services Laboratory at LSU.

These are outlier cases in one way. According to the official, who spoke as part of a recent community event in Breaux Bridge aimed at raising public awareness about missing persons, hundreds of people go missing in the state every month. Fortunately, most are found within a week. That sets the long-term cases apart and organizers of the event say they don't want those cases falling off law enforcement radar.

Emancipation: When parents and children seek to separate

The general rule of law in Louisiana is that parents and children are bound to each other in some way until the children reach the age of adulthood. Children have a right to expect a certain level of support from their parents and parents have an obligation to provide for the child. There's also some expectation that the parents will take appropriate steps to raise the child to become as productive a member of society as possible.

Things don't always work out according to the ideal. Just as two adults who marry sometimes wind up divorcing, there are situations in which children and parents might begin to consider whether it wouldn't be a wise idea to separate from each other. No legal basis exists for minor children to divorce their parents, but they may be able to petition for legal separation by seeking emancipation through the courts.

Parents advised to avoid child custody conflicts after divorce

Louisiana parents who end their marriages often face continued legal battles afterwards. Unfortunately, such battles often involve issues regarding their children, such as child custody or visitation agreements. In order to help children adjust to new family lifestyles after divorce, many family advisers say it is crucial for parents to avoid conflict, especially in front of their children.

It can be very difficult to maintain an amicable relationship with a former spouse who refuses to cooperate regarding the upbringing and raising of children following divorce. A parent facing such difficulty may find it helpful to retain legal representation in the matter. Experienced family law attorneys are often skilled negotiators who can help a concerned parent obtain a peaceable resolution to legal problems surrounding parenting issues after divorce.

Baseball star, Bartolo Colon, in court dispute over secret family

Whether in a quiet Louisiana neighborhood, or in the limelight of a professional baseball team, it is never easy to become engaged in a drawn out court battle over child support. Major League Baseball pitcher Bartolo Colon is currently involved in such a dispute, however. The incident arose when a woman who is not his wife filed a lawsuit against him.

Colon is known as "Big Sexy" by  baseball fans and reporters throughout the nation. His 6'11", 285 pound frame is a force to reckon with on the pitcher's mound. Apparently, his 21-year marriage that brought forth four sons was not the only "family" relationship in which he has been involved.

Create a positive impression at child custody hearings

Divorce is rarely easy, and, even after a settlement, former spouses often face ongoing legal problems. Continued discord may be associated with child custody or other matters concerning the care and upbringing of children. Louisiana parents are advised to keep in mind the apparent importance of creating a positive first impression when appearing at a court-ordered hearing to discuss such issues.    

More than 60 counties in another state require parents to attend alternative hearing procedures before the court rules on custody-related issues. Known as a "custody conciliation conference," such a hearing is designed as a pre-trial mediation meeting. The officer overseeing the hearing then has the authority to make recommendations to the court. 

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