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Lafayette Family Law Blog

How Louisiana family law divides marital debt

In 2016 alone, 827,261 people across the United States divorced, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While many people are concerned about dividing assets during a divorce, debt and liabilities can add a host of other family legal issues to consider. Louisiana couples with debt should take steps to find out what happens to their personal loans or liabilities under state family law.

Louisiana is a community property state. This means that all debts and assets acquired during the divorce must be split evenly between the spouses. This includes unpaid balances on credit cards and personal loans, even if they were accrued by a person's spouse without his or her knowledge. It is a good idea to be as aware as possible of shared finances going into a divorce for this reason.

Children's issues during divorce can go beyond child custody

Having parents break up can be stressful for a child. While sometimes a divorce is the best decision for a family, children could still struggle to adjust following parents' decisions to split. While issues like child custody and support may seem simply legal, the emotional, psychological and social implication of co-parenting and divorce should be understood by divorcing parents in Louisiana.

Research shows that children of divorce may face particular challenges. The stress of this circumstance may make children of divorce more likely to struggle academically, display behavioral issues or even commit crimes. Additionally, the financial implications of divorce can make these children more likely to struggle with poverty.

Communication and divorce mediation can make divorce easier

It can be difficult to communicate with a soon-to-be-ex spouse, as divorces can illicit many feelings of pain and resentment. Despite the challenges, Louisiana families who are able to communicate enough to settle a divorce mediation and continue co-parenting effectively can end up with a much easier and less expensive break up. Here are some of the reasons it may be worth trying to communicate effectively during a divorce.

A family law attorney is going to help fight for a client's best interests. Naturally, the lawyer will have a better chance at doing this if he or she has more information to work with from both sides. This will also result in quicker and less expensive proceedings, as divorcing couples may be able to work out some issues on their own with the support of legal professionals in a divorce mediation.

Is paternity a major issue in your divorce?

When you married, you assumed it was for a lifetime. After more than a decade went by, you recognized that this was not to be. When you filed for divorce, the main issues you worried about were those having to do with your children. Like most good fathers in Louisiana, you want what is best for them. You believe that, in connection to your divorce, that would include them living with you.  

You wonder if it's possible to obtain custody as a father. Someone told you the first thing you'll need to do is take a paternity test. You're not sure if that's true and feel a bit out of your league, trying to figure out a best course of action because you're not all that familiar with Louisiana state laws concerning such matters. This post may help clarify some paternity issues; beyond that, it's a good idea to make sure you understand your rights and know where to seek experienced guidance

Toxic marriage may make it hard to talk through issues in divorce

Divorce isn't easy for anyone, but certain personality types can make it even more challenging. While Louisiana couples often find it best to talk through issues related to a divorce, there are some people who are unwilling or unable to do so. Often these challenging of divorces emerge as a result of toxic relationships, the signs of which can be identified even before the marriage ends.

Abusive or belittling behavior is one warning sign of a toxic relationship. Individuals may be in a toxic relationship if they start to feel self doubt or lack of freedom in their lives. A toxic partner may also be highly critical and try to alienate their significant other from friends and family.

What are the warning signs of domestic violence?

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million people are abused annually in the United States. Men and women in Louisiana should be on the lookout for such behavior, as there are often red flags for possible future abuse earlier on in a relationship. Those who are in abusive marriages should also educate themselves on the safest ways to protect themselves when leaving such a marriage.

Early signs of abuse can vary, but most are related to control. For example, one sign someone may be abusive in the future is that they try to limit their partner's association with those outside the relationship. They also may insist on rigid relationship rules, becoming easily jealous. They may also try to influence the relationship to become interdependent more quickly, such as insisting on a joint bank account or shared home early on.

How to stay level-headed during a divorce mediation

Many people feel a loss of control when experiencing a divorce. Despite the many things that may be out of one's control, there are some things Louisiana divorcees can do to lessen the pain and focus on the real issues at play. Following these tips can help people identify what they may entitled to in a divorce mediation as well as helping them keep their head up in times of stress.

Staying as business-like as possible is a good idea for those going through divorce mediation. Divorce settlements are defined by contracts and laws, rather than feelings, so understanding the family law system and advocating for oneself professionally are good strategies. When advocating for one's own interests having a clear understanding of entitlements under the law as well as personal priorities can help move things in a good direction.

Strategies for co-parenting in the best interests of the child

Raising children within a marriage can make collaboration a bit easier, as each parent can see what the other is doing. For divorced couples in Louisiana, however, co-parenting conflicts can often arise. These issues are often based in miscommunication, past hurt or simply incompatible parenting styles. Regardless of the reasons for co-parenting squabbles, it is important that both do their best to put the best interests of the child ahead of individual agendas.

It is a good idea for people who are co-parenting to come to an agreement early on in a divorce about basic rules, including bedtime, diet, homework and when new significant others can be introduced. These distinctions should be clarified in the final divorce decree to avoid future backpedaling. In general, addressing as many issues as possible before they become conflicts is a good strategy.

Child college costs should be considered in divorce mediation

Terminating a marriage can be expensive. For parents, this strain can affect everyone in the family, particularly children with financial needs. Louisiana parents who have financial obligations related to their children's current or future college tuition should be sure to raise these expenses and associated savings during divorce mediation.

According to the College Board, the cost of tuition, fees and room and board at a private nonprofit college is now approximately $46,950 per year for a four-year program. Costs for an in-state public college averages $20,770. This cost rises an average of 3 percent per year.

Harsher penalties for marriage violence under new Louisiana law

Domestic violence is a serious issue across the United States. State lawmakers in Louisiana are looking to address this issue with legislation aimed at protecting victims of marriage violence. House Bill 896, also known as the "Crimes of Violence" Bill, increases penalties and expands existing laws related to domestic abuse. It was approved by the Senate on May 8, 2019.

Under the new bill, the legal definition of "crimes of violence" will be expanded to include domestic violence-related offenses. This includes battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a domestic partner. Violation of a protective order resulting in violence will also be defined as such.

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