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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Avoid mistakes in dividing debt in an uncontested divorce

Amicable separations are becoming more common among married couples here in Louisiana and elsewhere. As a result, more people take advantage of the uncontested divorce option in lieu of the traditional, more adversarial, courtroom battle. Even so, couples taking advantage of the less contentious option still need to remain vigilant in order to preserve their financial security in the future.

This is because after the property is divided, the debts need to be divided as well. In most cases, the longer a couple has been together, the more debts they share. Since Louisiana is a community property state, this means that the courts will view all of the debts incurred as marital and joint. This means that each party is responsible for all debts incurred during the marriage.

Is the best way to win a child custody battle not to fight?

Many Louisiana parents find themselves at the end of their relationships. As a result, they may also find themselves involved in a child custody battle. In some cases, the best way to win is not to fight, but what happens when that does not work?

Some couples can come to a custody agreement without going to court. If that does not work for you and the other parent, it may help to know what you could face. Understanding what the court looks for when it hears child custody cases, could provide you with the tools you need to prepare for your court date.

Maintaining control of the future through divorce mediation

The end of a Louisiana marriage often causes a couple to feel as though their lives are spinning out of control. How you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse deal with these emotions in the first days of the divorce will shape each of your futures. One way to regain some control and feel better about the future could be to engage in divorce mediation.

Like other Louisiana couples, you do not have to dread a nasty battle in a courtroom. Whether you and the other party anticipate getting along after the divorce does not necessarily matter. If you can put aside your negative emotions for each other long enough to create a settlement that benefits the both of you as much as possible, you both win.

When your ex won't let you see or communicate with your kids

Are you a parent? Do you share custody of your children or at least have some type of visitation rights? Is your ex refusing to let you see or communicate with your kids? If so, you may, according to the laws of Louisiana, have the right to take legal action.

Parental alienation is a real problem in Louisiana and elsewhere. It is where the primary custodial parent purposely keeps a child away from the other parent. The goal is to make the child feel that the other parent does not care for him or her.

When an uncontested divorce can create a financial nightmare

For most Louisiana residents, there is no way around losing financial ground when ending a marriage. The prospect of supporting two households with the same resources that used to support one is often daunting, which leads many couples to try to get through an uncontested divorce on their own. The problem is that if certain aspects of the divorce are not handled properly, it could cause a financial nightmare for the parties.

This is especially possible when it comes to dividing retirement accounts. If they are not properly divided, the tax ramifications can be costly. Many Louisiana residents may not be aware that some retirement accounts such as 401(k)s require a qualified domestic relations order to split them without incurring tax penalties, and those who do know about them may not draft them properly.

One of the tradeoffs for paying spousal support may disappear

There is no way around the fact that money is a part of every divorce whether it happens here in Louisiana or elsewhere. One of the financial issues that arises in many divorces is spousal support. Even when the paying spouse agrees that it is a necessity for the other, it may not exactly be pleasant to watch that money leave the bank account. Many who make these payments consider the right to deduct them at tax time as a consolation prize of sorts, but that benefit may go away.

Proposed tax legislation may eliminate the ability of the paying spouse to deduct alimony payments. Eliminating this deduction is being considered due to discrepancies between how much the payer claims that he or she paid during the course of the year and how much the payee claims that he or she received. Since spousal support is often needed due to one spouse making more money than the other, the payer is often in a higher tax bracket than the one receiving payments. This fact is often considered when determining an amount for support.

Brendan Fraser's spousal support problem

Sometimes there is no way out of paying alimony to a former spouse. While it certainly is not awarded in every divorce case in Louisiana and elsewhere, there are some instances when spousal support simply cannot be avoided. For the breadwinning spouse, this may be a tough pill to swallow, especially if the amount of support awarded and the duration of support seem unfair or unrealistic to maintain. This seems to be the case for actor Brendan Fraser.

Mr. Fraser has been apart of the Hollywood crowd for a long time now. Thanks to his career, his bank account is pretty padded, holding approximately $25 million. However, due to the details of his divorce settlement, he loses nearly $1 million a year to his ex wife in alimony and child support payments. While his child support obligation is set to end when his three sons turn 19, there seems to be no end in sight for his alimony payments.

Fatherhood should not decrease your child custody chances

When you first looked upon your firstborn child in a Louisiana hospital delivery room, you likely had similar mixed emotions as many other fathers who have been where you were in that moment. You may have experienced everything from wonder, joy, excitement and amazement to utter fear, stress and worry before your son or daughter completed his or her first breaths. As time went on and another child or two joined your family, you finally began to feel comfortable wearing the shoes of fatherhood, that is, until you divorced.

Since then, you've been worried that you might not succeed in getting full custody of your kids. Although the fact that you are a father cannot prevent you from seeking custody, there are a few things to keep in mind to help avoid complications in the process. 

There is more to domestic violence than physical abuse

October was domestic violence awareness month. Even though the month has come to a close, this column would like to touch on the different types of domestic violence that may be present in any marriage or relationship. While most people in Louisiana may tend to think that domestic violence is all about physical abuse, this simply is not the case.

There are actually five different types of abuse that are considered domestic violence: physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and financial. Both physical and sexual are pretty straightforward as to what they are. Emotional and psychological are very similar in that a victim of such abuse is left feeling of little worth and may feel that his or her life is in danger. Financial abuse is one that few people consider. With this type of abuse, the victim is totally financially dependent on his or her abuser, who will make one believe that he or she cannot move forward, as so much in this life requires access to money.

You could encounter some issues regarding child support

Raising kids here in Louisiana or elsewhere can be challenging enough for two-parent households these days, and even more challenging for one-parent households. If you have children and your relationship with the other parent ends, you face working out child custody and child support arrangements. As you move through the process of establishing child support, you may encounter one or more of the following issues.

You may not be able to find the other parent, and you may need some help doing so. In the alternative, you may not know how much the other parent receives as income. If he or she is unwilling to provide that information, you may need the court to order the other party to provide it.

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