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Prenuptial agreements: Are you forgetting something?

So many details go into making a wedding day special. With everything the Louisiana couple needs to remember to do before the big day, it is no wonder that some things may slip through the cracks. That may be okay if you inadvertently sat two warring relatives next to each other at the reception, but when it comes to prenuptial agreements, you may only have one chance to get it right.

When negotiating a prenup, it is important to at least consider a variety of issues for inclusion in the agreement. For instance, if one spouse owns the house that the couple will call home during the marriage, the parties still need to discuss whether it will remain a separate asset during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. Will the engagement ring be separate property, or was it a family heirloom that the other spouse would want back?

Don't be too quick to dismiss divorce mediation

Anger, resentment and hurt are often predominant emotions at the end of a marriage. The first instinct of many Louisiana residents is to lash out and want to take the other party to court in order to teach him or her a lesson. Before making that leap, it would be beneficial to consider divorce mediation instead.

Rushing into a contentious divorce rarely works out for either party. Often, no one "wins" when the judge makes a ruling. In fact, both parties often end up disappointed and feel as if they wasted valuable time and financial resources.

What does the best interests of the child mean in Louisiana?

When Louisiana parents decide to end their relationships, they realize that they will need to find a way to continue parenting. This means that child custody arrangements need to be made through either direct negotiations or the court. Regardless of how custody is decided, parents may want to have at least some understanding of what "the best interests of the child" means in Louisiana law.

The court will use this standard regardless of whether it makes the custody arrangements or approves a parenting plan submitted by the parents. Numerous factors go into determining what will serve the best interests of the children. Perhaps an obvious factor is the relationship and love between the children and each parent, and these are primary factors.

What can fathers do to help their kids through divorce?

If you asked every Louisiana father what the most challenging part of his parenting vocation is, answers would probably vary greatly. You may have a few issues come to your mind when pondering the topic. Perhaps the very act of trying to help your children get used to the idea that you and their mother are no longer going to be living together is at the top of your list. Divorce happens often, and many parents feel overwhelmed and worried about how to help their children navigate the process.

Sometimes, it helps to talk to other dads who have trod similar paths before you. If you have a trusted friend or family member who is already divorced, he may be able to provide insight regarding children and divorcing parents that may prove helpful in your particular situation.

Prenuptial agreements: The practical side of wedding plans

Dresses, flowers and venues, along with other details, often preoccupy Louisiana residents who are planning their weddings. Creating the perfect day to memorialize their decision to wed is exciting, fun and sometimes frustrating. However, a wedding only lasts a day, and many couples are thinking much farther into the future by including prenuptial agreements in their wedding plans.

Some may say that this type of practicality takes away from the splendor and joy of the day, but dealing with financial issues prior to marriage could actually strengthen the relationship. Money remains a top reason for divorce, and avoiding the topic prior to the wedding will not make it go away. For couples who have already been through a divorce, a prenuptial agreement may be the insurance they need in order to feel more comfortable about going down the aisle again.

Do you really need to suffer through a contested divorce?

You and your spouse probably grew tired of arguing and no longer seeing eye-to-eye. You may have fallen out of love and now wish to go your separate ways. The problem is that you and your soon-to-be former spouse are not looking forward to going through a contested divorce. You would rather try to work out your own divorce settlement without having to battle it out in a Louisiana court.

Fortunately, you do not have to go through that. You and your spouse may retain control of how your agreement is structured. Using an alternative method of resolving your disputes such as divorce mediation could be the answer you are looking for in order to make your experience less contentious.

What does Louisiana say about child support?

Most Louisiana parents know that they must support their children financially at least until they reach the age of 18. This child support requirement remains whether the parents are married, divorced or separated. Even if the parents were unmarried, the state expects each parent to provide financially for the children.

In some instances, support may continue beyond the age of 18. For example, if a child has special needs, the parents may continue to be held responsible for child support beyond that age. In addition, if a child is in college, remains unmarried and is still claimed as a dependent for tax purposes, the requirement for support may continue.

Your gender shouldn't matter with regard to child custody orders

Times have changed in Louisiana and throughout the nation. Depending on your age, you may recall the days when most fathers worked at jobs outside the home and mothers stayed home full-time to raise children. Those days are all but long-term memories across a changing landscape of life in the United States. Nowadays, many children are raised in single parent households. Dads sometimes are the ones staying home while mothers pursue full-time careers. No two families are exactly the same.

There's really no such thing as a typical family life anymore. The needs and goals of individual families vary greatly and the same can be said for those adapting to life after divorce. Along with changes in parenting and family life, the court has also evolved in the way it makes decisions regarding such matters as child custody, visitation and other important issues.

Using divorce mediation to make financial decisions

Dealing with the family finances can become a challenge under the best of circumstances. When a Louisiana couple decides to end their marriage, the situation does not often improve for some time. Deciding what to do about the marital estate and a couple's finances could be done through divorce mediation.

One major concern for most couples is the family home. It is often the largest asset that a couple owns. What will happen to it usually involves looking at a myriad of options. If one spouse wants to keep the home, it is not as simple as the other spouse agreeing to it. Even if the parties own the home outright, the party not keeping the home is entitled to a portion of its value.

Sharing child custody may benefit everyone involved

Deciding how to parent after a divorce may just be one of the biggest challenges Louisiana couples face when they end their marriages. As societal views on parenting have changed, so has the way that parents deal with child custody issues. In the past, one parent (often the mother) had sole custody of the children with visitation for the other parent (often the father). Thankfully, times have changed and now parents often continue to share the parental duties as much as possible, which usually benefit everyone in the family, especially the children.

Louisiana parents need to be aware of the fact that joint custody and shared parenting time are not equal. Shared parenting time does not require or imply a 50/50 split of time between each parent. Instead, parents can come to an arrangement regarding parenting time that best suits their schedules and the schedules of the children. Many parents attempt to get the time they each spend with the children as close to equal as possible without causing undue stress to the children.

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