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Lafayette Family Law Blog

October is dedicated to domestic abuse awareness

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. In Louisiana and across the country, people are gathering for walks, rallies and lectures, wearing the purple ribbons that represent the cause. Often, these events culminate in a candlelight vigil where victims of deadly abuse are remembered, and promises are made to work even harder to prevent future tragedies.

Some people who survived a period of domestic abuse looked back at the beginnings of their relationships and found similarities and patterns that are now seen as early indications that the relationship may turn violent. What may seem at first like the behavior of a devoted partner may actually be signs of a controlling and potentially violent personality. For example, a person may be quick to suggest marriage or living together, or insist on spending every spare moment together.

Property distribution only one aspect of Pitt/Jolie divorce

Unlike high profile celebrity couples such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, people in Louisiana may be fortunate to maintain some privacy about their personal lives. This may be especially true if they are going through a painful divorce. No matter how straightforward a marriage dissolution may be, a couple's property distribution and child custody considerations are unique and may require special attention.

Experienced divorce attorneys may say that a couple with a prenuptial agreement has already done a lot of the work of asset division that goes into a divorce. If the two have no children, the situation may be less complicated than it is for a couple who must negotiate custody and support details. In many states, there are already guidelines and formulas mandated for those decisions. With these safeguards in place, the chances of having a civil, agreeable divorce may improve.   

Louisiana Courts and Fathers' Rights: What Dads Need to Know

Gender bias is a common reality for women throughout the United States. One place, though, where men face significant gender bias is in family court.

The idea of equal protection for fathers has gradually entered into the public consciousness, but challenges still exist.

Child custody cases involving abuse are challenging

According to a recent study by the American Bar Association, children may be an unwitting tool an abuser uses to control his or her spouse. This kind of manipulation is one reason why child custody cases involving domestic violence may be difficult for courts in Louisiana and across the country to decide. According to child advocates, it may also be one reason why some children struggle emotionally even into adulthood.

Children of abusive parents may bond with the abuser as a method of survival. Some therapists compare this to Stockholm syndrome in which a victim's devotion to an abuser prevents him or her from seeing the abuser in a negative light. People who abuse their spouses may use the childrens' devotion to intimidate their victims until the victims become so traumatized, a judge may see them as unfit and award custody to the abusers.  

Procedural flaws can lead to unfair support conditions

When we are children, a lot of emphasis is put on what's fair. Even a pick-up game of basketball on a neighborhood court in Lafayette comes with an expectation that the basic rules of the game are in force. The understanding is so clear that whistles are needed.

It would be nice to think that the same would apply to family law. But the game of life and fighting for rights under family law statutes is a lot more complicated. Very often, what seems obviously fair to one person might be deemed unfair by someone else. The court might have yet another opinion. In the end, it's the court's call. While the appeals process offers the chance at a do-over, there are no guarantees.

Research: To improve education for all, counter domestic violence

Cries for improving schools in Louisiana are not new. Our state and every other state has concerns about whether our children are getting the education they need to realize their dreams and succeed in life.

Experts generally agree that every child learns in different ways. Many elements need to combine to create the right environment for each student to achieve his or her real potential. That puts a great deal of pressure on schools, teachers and counselors. And some researchers say one particular element that deserves greater attention is being proactive against domestic violence.

Fathers Play a Crucial Role in the Development of Their Children

Parenting is a difficult job, often stretching people to the extremes even when both parents are actively involved in the home. But if you are a divorced mother and you find yourself juggling the rigors of raising your children, meeting the demands of your career and other things vying for your attention, parenting can often stretch you beyond reasonable boundaries.

Women have often been placed in the position of primary caregivers; having to prove to themselves and to their employers that they can manage their careers, while still raising healthy, well mannered, well-adjusted children. In reality no one is capable of being all things to all people, and when you attempt to do so, some aspect of your life will go lacking. If you are fortunate enough to have an ex-husband who wants to spend more time with his children, you should consider the potential benefits for your children.

Among ways to end spousal disputes, crime is not advised

Paul Simon sings about how there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. There are a lot of them, to be sure. Bank robbery probably is not on very many people's lists. In Louisiana, the remedy for legally cutting ties with a spouse or dealing with some other domestic issue is through the family law courts. And consulting with a skilled lawyer about possible options is always advised before taking any action.

This might be a question a Kansas man is pondering now. The back-story remains murky, but what seems apparent from the news reports of his case is that he is no longer happily married to his wife. In a bid to get away from her earlier this month, he allegedly opted to rob a bank and go to jail rather than stay under the same roof with her.

Easing awkward 'back to school' situations after divorce

The school year is once again underway. This year could be tougher than others for students in Lafayette Parish. For awhile, the flood situation in the region raised questions about whether doors would be open, but things appear to be on track with more than 95 percent of students having reported for classes as they resumed last week.

If there is one thing of which the Acadiana region has been reminded in recent months, it is that life does not always go without a hitch. Not only can the weather wreak havoc on everyone, there are families staggered by the upheaval associated with divorce. Children of divorce facing the unknowns of a new school year may also be feeling unsettled by their parents' break up. Of course, it can be tough on parents, too, as they come to terms with new child custody arrangements.

Can a prenuptial agreement affect mortgages?

Events in life can be highlighted as happening in very distinct windows of time. That can leave those in Louisiana who experience them feeling as if they are singular occurrences. However, as anyone who works in family law will likely agree, life is not lived in a silo. What happens today can have a way of rippling. Not only might it be felt far in the future, but some who weren't even around when the original event took place might also feel it. This certainly can be said of marriage and divorce, even prenuptial agreements.

Take that last item for example. A prenuptial agreement is something that typically is drawn up before a couple weds. Its purpose is to spell out clearly what each party brings to the marriage in terms of assets and debts and how those elements will be handled in the event of a divorce. Assets and debts accumulated during the marriage are treated as being equally owned by both spouses.

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