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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Fears co-parents tend to share

Nearly 100 years ago, Franklin Roosevelt insisted that the only thing that the American people had to fear is fear itself. That observation tends to ring true when applied to many issues in life. Certainly, one can justify numerous fears that extend beyond the core issue of fear itself. However, when determining how to move forward in healthy and productive ways, fear itself does tend to manifest as one’s greatest obstacle.

This is generally true in terms of co-parenting. Certainly, if your child’s other parent is abusive, you have reason to fear beyond fear. If this is so, you may benefit from speaking to your attorney about modifying your child’s custody or placement agreement. However, if your child’s other parent is not abusive, fear may be one of the primary challenges you are navigating on a regular basis.

Divorce, retirement and you

No matter how old you are, if you are currently navigating a divorce, it is time to start thinking about your retirement. The ways in which you and your attorney opt to approach issues of property division during your divorce process will almost certainly impact your retirement years. Especially if you have been married for a few years or more, your property division settlement should be approached with some consideration towards your retirement years.

For example, if you opt to keep your marital home instead of taking your share of your retirement savings, you may or may not be doing yourself a disservice. If you are planning on selling your house at a profit in order to replenish your retirement account and add to it, you may be making a wise decision. However, if keeping your home will essentially eliminate your retirement savings and you hope to stay in your home as long as possible, you may not be making the most informed decision possible.

Looking forward to the positives of life after divorce - Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about altering one’s perception of the divorce process in order to see the positive opportunities it provides instead of simply the stresses it tends to inspire. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling and reacting to divorce-related stresses. However, it is also important to keep the positive aspects of the process in mind while navigating the present and preparing for the future. This perspective shift can help you gather strength and wisdom from this transitional period in your life.

For example, you may be struggling with a kind of loneliness that often accompanies divorcing a spouse. It is both normal and healthy to feel this challenging emotion. However, if you are willing to both process your grief and see the unexpected upside of your loneliness, you may be able to see some inspiration wrapped in this loneliness. After all, an unexpected upside of being lonely without your spouse’s company is that your free time is now yours to spend in any way you wish.

Looking forward to the positives of life after divorce - Part I

We frequently write about the challenges traditionally associated with the divorce process. There is no question that the divorce process tends to be physically, mentally and emotionally trying. However, it is important to reflect upon the reality that pursuing a divorce often leads to a brighter, happier and healthier future. Especially when individuals are willing to view this process as a transition between one phase of life and the next, instead of as a failure of some sort, divorce can act as a catalyst for a happier and healthier existence.

If you are struggling to see the positive opportunities present within the divorce process, you are not alone. Many individuals have a difficult time seeing past their grief, anger and frustration before their divorces are finalized. However, if you are willing to look past your understandably negative emotions even for a few minutes at a time, you may be able to draw strength from specific visions of the future.

How financial 'cheating' may affect a divorce process - Part II

During our last post, we began a discussion about the concept of financial cheating and the ways this behavior may influence one’s divorce process. We asked readers to think of financial cheating as “any time you have lied to your spouse about any significant financial matter or any time you have hidden a significant financial matter from your spouse. It goes without saying that if your spouse has hidden or lied about any significant financial matter that this behavior can be considered financial cheating as well,” for the purposes of this discussion.

We also noted that hiding information or providing misleading information about your finances during the divorce process is not just financial cheating, it can be considered a crime. It is therefore important that you “come clean” about any hidden assets, etc. that you may have knowledge of. In addition, it is important to alert your attorney to any suspicions you have that your spouse may be engaging in financial cheating, as constructing a divorce settlement without factoring this information in may leave you with far less than you deserve.

How financial 'cheating' may affect a divorce process - Part I

It is a well-known fact that finances tend to cause tension between American spouses. Oftentimes, disagreements about finances can lead to divorce. While marital disagreements about money may stay largely hidden from public view, the divorce process compels spouses to lay their financial realities out on the table. When instances of financial “cheating” come to light, they may ultimately end up influencing the divorce process in significant ways.

It is important to understand that hiding assets, debts, accounts, real estate and other financial matters from the divorce process can be a crime. If a judge discovers that you have hidden financial information from the court, you could be charged with contempt, charged with other criminal wrongdoing and even sued by your spouse. Even if you have financially “cheated” on your spouse in the past, it is imperative that you come clean during the divorce process.

Single parents: It is okay to admit that you are imperfect

The American experience tends to be hectic. In popular culture, much emphasis is placed on the concept of “having it all.” Educators, entertainers and advertisers seem to consistently praise the virtues of working hard, playing hard and resting well. There are few individuals who can pull off this delicate balance. And if you are a single parent with babies, young kids or teens, such a balance can prove truly impossible to achieve.

Whether you are recently separated from your child’s other parent or you have been a single parent for some time, there is absolutely no shame in admitting that you cannot achieve this kind of balance. There is also no shame in admitting that you are not perfect. In fact, your kids and your sanity can truly benefit from such an admission.

When is a marriage 'absolutely null' or 'relatively null'? p2

We are talking about how Louisiana law treats marriages that for one reason or another should not have taken place. Remember, a valid marriage requires the man and woman to consent to the marriage contract and to participate in a legitimate marriage ceremony. In addition, there cannot be a legal impediment to the marriage.

If there is a legal impediment, though, the marriage may be either absolutely null or relatively null. In our last post, we discussed the conditions that would render a marriage absolutely null, that is, as if the ceremony had never occurred. Here, we are moving on to relatively null marriages.

When is a marriage 'absolutely null' or 'relatively null'?

The definition of marriage has been a subject of controversy and lawsuits for the past couple of years (at least). Louisiana's definition is just two sentences long:

Marriage is a legal relationship between a man and a woman that is created by civil contract. The relationship and the contract are subject to special rules prescribed by law.
(La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 86)

Marriage Is A Contract That Creates Community Property

Under Louisiana law, LA-R.S. 9:237, when domestic partners marry, any property owned by the individual parties will become subject to the state's community property laws, unless the couple signs a prenuptial agreement or post-nuptial (after date of marriage) specifying which property will remain separate and in the control of the individual spouse. Even a prenuptial agreement, however, may not prevent the property as being classified as community property if the spouses commingle (join) the assets and realize a gain on their investment or take on increased debt as a result.

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