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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Louisiana's 'covenant marriage' option discourages divorce

Louisiana has a unique matrimonial option for couples who want to foster a higher standard of commitment in their relationships. A "covenant marriage" seeks to ensure that the relationship is not entered into lightly or ended precipitously.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals says that to be considered a covenant marriage, both parties must sign a "declaration of intent."

Your surprisingly positive post-divorce checklist

Whether your divorce has been amicable or contentious, you will likely feel a combination of both grief and relief once it is finalized. As you prepare for the finalization of your divorce, you are also preparing for your newly single life. You may be moving to a different residence, altering your work-life and shopping for new possessions, depending on what possessions your spouse opted to keep post-split. The process of transitioning from married life to single life can be unquestionably difficult.

Thankfully, once your divorce is finalized, your to-do list will change somewhat. You may need to continue to shop, move things around and otherwise adjust to living alone. However, once you have weathered the process of divorce, you can begin to live in a way that is more fully devoted to your own needs as opposed to the needs of the process itself.

Conquering your bad habits during and post-divorce

We frequently write about how important it is to take excellent care of yourself during the divorce process. Ultimately, if you allow your negative emotions and habits to rule your divorce process, you may end up with an unfair divorce settlement or an undesirable child custody arrangement. However, we have also acknowledged that it can be difficult to take excellent care of yourself while grieving your marriage and navigating the divorce process.

A few months ago, we published a blog entitled Finding yourself again after divorce. In this piece, we note that finding yourself again in the wake of divorce requires time and effort. Once you have begun to reestablish a healthy sense of self, it becomes time to tackle bad habits. Tackling your bad habits can both help you ensure that your divorce process remains fair and positive and help you establish a solid foundation for a healthy, happy future.

What to know so you can face your custody battle fears

One of the most common ways a jilted spouse will try to get under your skin during divorce proceedings is to threaten to seek full-custody of the children. Indeed, they might have seen one too many episodes of  “The Young & Restless,” or believe that on some level they are the “superior” parent, but more often than not parents begin to panic at the possibility of enduring a custody battle.

With that said, it is important to prepare for custody disputes. So here are three things to take solace in so that you don’t lose your mind worrying about what will happen.  

A pre-wedding legal checklist

Before you may legally wed, you must obtain a marriage license. Depending on where you live and where you opt to hold your marriage ceremony, you may be required to submit to blood testing and other mandates before you may obtain your marriage license. While these state requirements are among the only legal requirements you must respect before you may legally wed, it is important to consider a few other items on your hypothetical pre-wedding legal checklist.

We have noted previously that drafting a prenuptial agreement in advance of your wedding can help to ensure that you and your partner’s interests are protected in the event of divorce. However, drafting this kind of legal contract can also help you clarify your financial and moral expectations of your marriage before you walk down the aisle. Taking time to scrutinize your expectations and values together may save you from marital tension later on.

Fraud in the inducement of marriage... what about divorce?

Most states have moved to a no-fault divorce system. This means that a spouse is not required to prove fault in the marriage such as adultery or fraud. It certainly does not mean that these are no longer sufficient grounds for divorce. What if the divorce itself is fraudulent?

A man recently filed a lawsuit in Louisiana against his ex-wife based on a fraudulent divorce. In this case, the divorce was filed in another jurisdiction. It was also filed and a judgement was entered without his knowledge.

Should unwed dads get a paternity test before paying support?

The "average" family doesn't always fit into the nuclear definition. Blended families with unwed parents, children born outside of marriage or children from a previous relationship are quite common, and the adults are more than willing to voluntarily take on traditional parental obligations. 

What happens when the relationship changes? Under Louisiana law, paternity must be established before a mother can legally force a father to pay child support. What if the father willingly agrees to pay? Should he be concerned with taking a paternity test first?

Why you should (almost) stop ranting about your divorce

We frequently write about the importance of processing any negative emotions you may experience as a result of your divorce. Having these emotions is completely normal and healthy. But if you fail to process them appropriately, you may impact your ability to obtain a fair divorce settlement, to receive the kinds of child custody arrangements that are truly in the best interests of your child(ren) and your wellbeing.

One of the ways in which some individuals process negative emotions is to write or speak about them repeatedly. There is something cathartic about repeating your thoughts until you can make more sense out of them or until they do not seem so pressing. As a result, “ranting” can be a healthy way to process emotions. But ranting is only healthy in certain contexts and to a certain point.

Looking on the bright side of living alone again

We frequently write about how important it is to take excellent care of yourself during your divorce. No one can completely separate the hurt feelings and emotional wounds one sustains as a marriage is ending from the practical process of divorce. However, taking good care of yourself places you in the best possible position to weather the divorce process with grace, with dignity and with an eye towards the future instead of the past. This approach helps to ensure that negative emotions do not rule the process and imperil your ability to obtain a fair divorce settlement.

It is not always easy to take good care of yourself during the divorce process or in its wake. You may feel exhausted and overwhelmed much of the time. However, there are realities which accompany divorce that oddly make it a bit easier to take care of yourself. For example, you no longer have to worry about taking care of your spouse. Your needs, and the needs of your children if you have children, can come first each and every day.

How do I lovingly ask for a prenuptial agreement?

We have previously written about the benefits of drafting prenuptial agreements prior to marriage. In addition to protecting your interests and your romantic partner’s interests in the event of divorce, these legal contracts can help to ensure that your marriage is stronger, less filled with tension, more honest and more grounded in terms of financial expectations. Yet despite all these benefits, prenups do sometimes inspire stigmas. And as a result of these stigmas, you may feel hesitant about discussing them with your romantic partner.

You may be afraid that he or she will take your request as a sign that you are unsure about the longevity of your relationship. You may be concerned that asking for a prenup will bring up questions about trust. And you may also be frustrated that in order to draft a prenup you must think about the potential for divorce at the very time that you are likely planning a wedding. All of these concerns are valid. However, the benefits of drafting a premarital agreement often outweigh the burdens associated with facing down these fears.

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