Law Office of Laura L. Davenport
Lafayette Divorce And Family Law Attorney

Lafayette Family Law Blog

Would you suggest bird nesting to your children's other parent?

Despite changing attitudes toward parenting, Louisiana's courts still tend to favor mothers over fathers. For this reason, if you can negotiate a custody agreement with your children's mother, you could end up having more time and interaction with your children than you would if you left it up to a judge.

Many parents decide not to let the courts decide the fate of their families anymore. Instead, they put aside their differences and work together in order to come to an arrangement that benefits everyone involved, especially the children. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to suggest a relatively new custody arrangement that some people still find a bit unorthodox, but it could work in your case.

Don't forget about important documents during family law issues

Ending a marriage is a complicated ordeal, both legally and emotionally. While some people in Louisiana might feel as if there is too much going on at once to be truly present for each individual process within divorce, failing to do so can have serious consequences for the future. Here a few family law matters divorcing couples should keep in mind.

Property division is an unavoidable aspect of divorce. However, it is not as simple as each person keeping what they want and letting the other hang on to their favorite properties. Complicated assets like marital homes and things of value like bank accounts and retirements funds are all on the line. Rather than leaving things up to chance, individuals should be certain to get all of the necessary documents related to these properties. When a person has easy access to information regarding accounts, incomes and more, he or she is usually more capable of securing a better outcome to property division.

Don't forget about debt during property division

From secrets to favorite activities to physical property, married couples tend to share most of their lives with another. Untangling these types of personal connections during a divorce can be tricky enough without piling things like property division on top. This is why it can be extremely distressing when individuals realize that they will not just be splitting physical property during divorce -- they will also have to deal with debt.

Louisiana is a community property state, which means that marital property is generally split into two even halves. Things like income and other assets that are acquired or accumulated during the marriage are considered to be the equal property of both spouse. This includes things like debt.

What you need to know about inheritances and property division

People usually put an enormous amount of time and effort into deciding what to pass on to heirs. These individuals might even try to envision how their heirs will enjoy their inheritances, but few might be able to predict an unfortunately all-too-common occurrence -- losing an inheritance during a divorce. Although generally considered separate property, some people in Louisiana might be upset to realize that their inheritances will be included in property division.

Assets acquired during a marriage are generally considered marital -- or joint -- property. This is not necessarily the case for inheritances. Unless a will specified both the named heir and his or her spouse as the recipient, then the inheritance belongs solely to the heir and is therefore considered separate property. However, a person might want to use their inheritance for marital purposes, which can cause a problem.

We understand how important fathers' rights are

As a father, you play an essential role in your children's lives. Unfortunately, family courts do not always take that role as seriously as they should. If you are worried that you are losing out on valuable time with your children or are being unfairly burdened with unrealistic support orders, you may need help protecting your fathers' rights.

Many family law courts in Louisiana still operate with an inherent gender bias. While mothers are certainly important, fathers are far too often overlooked. You may have already experienced being relegated to a "weekend dad," someone who is more of a visitor in the lives of your children instead of an actively involved parent. On top of only occasionally having access to your kids, you could also be paying too much in child support.

Jeff Bezos didn't have a prenuptial agreement, but you can

Louisiana online shoppers might not have known anything about the founder and CEO of Amazon until recently, when Jeff Bezos made national headlines because of his upcoming divorce. While some of the focus has revolved around Amazon itself and how the company might be affected, there are also bigger questions. Jeff Bezos and his soon-to-be ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, never signed a prenuptial agreement, so the fate of the couple's $137 billion is up in the air.

Although the Bezos couple plan to file for divorce in the state where Amazon is headquartered, there is a chance that their property will be divided in a similar manner as those who file in Louisiana. Both states are considered community property states, which means that in the eyes of the law all marital property is owned equally and must be divided as such. There is an exception to this, though. If a couple creates a pre or postnuptial agreement, they can usually divide marital property however they like.

Can fathers go to court for full custody and actually win?

Fathers going through the divorce process often feel like the courts favor the mothers, resulting in custody orders that are not fair or balanced. Through the years, many courts have developed an understanding of how the children benefit when allowed to have strong relationships with both parents, and now it is easier to secure joint custody. However, there are times when it may be necessary for a father to pursue full custody of his children.

If you think you will want to fight for full custody of your children, you may know you have a battle ahead of you. Despite the fact that Louisiana family law courts are fairer toward fathers now, it is still not easy for a dad to seek primary custody and win. Before you forge ahead with your fight, it may be helpful to understand the basics of how custody works and what you can do to protect your kids' well-being. 

Your child custody agreement can create a happy home

Creating a happy and comfortable space for children after a divorce is usually a priority for parents, and yet it can be incredibly difficult to accomplish. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, some Louisiana parents might find success in working together and remaining consistent. These approaches can make adhering to a child custody agreement easier and more fulfilling for both children and parents.

Past research has found that three main factors go into creating a happy home. In order for a home to be happy, it must be a place where a person feels secure, can relax and feel free to simply be oneself. Divorced parents can help foster these factors by creating consistent rules and expectations across both households. This means actively co-parenting with an ex to ensure that children know what is expected of them no matter where they are.

What you can expect from the divorce process in 2019

Divorce is difficult, no matter what time of year you file. However, new changes in tax laws can add a new layer of complication for Louisiana couples looking to end their marriages in the new year. If a person is planning to move forward with this process at any point in 2019, it is beneficial to know what to expect and start preparing for it now. 

On Jan. 1, new tax changes will go into effect, impacting the way that alimony will work. Alimony, or spousal support, are financial payments designed for the well-being of the lesser-earning spouse after the divorce is over. Currently, the paying spouse is able to deduct the amount from income taxes. The receiving spouse is taxed on the payments. After Dec. 31, that will not be the case.

Will I have to give up my dog in property division?

Planning for a happy future might be easy enough, but what about preparing for less than ideal situations? While Louisiana couples might not think that they will ever divorce, the simple truth is that many couples end up untying the knot. When couples are not prepared for this event, they may end up fighting over property division or even losing out on something precious to them, like their pets.

According to family law, a pet is property. It does not matter if an owner views their four-legged friend as a valued member of the family or if they have a deep emotional connection, because a judge still only sees one thing -- a piece of property that has to be divided. Sure, many divorcing couples do choose to work out what to do with their pooches outside of court, but this can easily turn sour. Virtually no one wants to see their dog turn into a bargaining chip during divorce.

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