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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Should one try to finalize a divorce before the year's end?

Ending a marriage can be a lengthy and complex process for Louisiana couples and, in some cases, can take an extensive amount of time to finalize. If a person is going through the divorce process yet still has issues to resolve, it may be beneficial to work toward a final resolution before the end of the year. Due to tax changes coming at the start of 2019, there could be significant financial consequences to delaying.

A high asset divorce will have a significant impact on the financial health of both parties, but the impact could be even more significant in 2019. In 2017, President Donald Trump passed new tax legislation that will affect divorce, alimony and the tax implications for both spouses. Essentially, the newly passed laws will remove tax exemptions for those who pay alimony, instead, making alimony non-taxable income for the recipient. 

Could divorce mediation be right for you?

You might be most familiar with divorce as it is presented through images presented in popular media. While there is nothing wrong with enjoying a good movie, you might be expecting to go straight before a judge at the beginning of the divorce process. While family law judges in Louisiana do play important roles when necessary, you do not necessarily have to leave all of your important decisions up to them. Instead, you can use divorce mediation to reach mutually agreeable solutions.

An alternative dispute resolution is a tool which individuals can use to solve legal issues without going to court. Mediation is just one such alternative dispute resolution, but it is incredibly useful if you and your ex are still relatively amicable as you approach divorce. Even if you are not 100 percent certain that you can reach an agreement with your ex, you may be surprised by how effective the process can be.

New Louisiana gun law aims to reduce domestic abuse

A new gun law is poised to keep domestic violence victims safer. The new Louisiana law bans those convicted of domestic abuse from owning firearms for four years in hopes the law will protect victims of violent abuse. Someone who has been convicted of the crime or who is under a protection order either can sign a court-sworn declaration that he or she doesn't own weapons or can sign a declaration in a sheriff's office that any weapons will be given to a third party or surrendered to the sheriff's office.

The convicted individual cannot purchase a firearm in those four years, either. Under this law, those convicted have 48 hours to transfer the weapons either to the sheriff or a third party. That also applies to those who have a protective order filed against them.

How can dads preserve their emotional well-being in divorce?

Louisiana dads know the divorce process can be a complex and difficult journey, both emotionally and financially. Unfortunately, fathers may find themselves with final divorce orders that feel unfair or unreasonable, or they feel emotionally destitute after everything is final. The process of ending a marriage is not easy, and it is beneficial to know how to protect your interests – legally, financially and emotionally.

When you think of divorce, you may have concerns over your bank account or how much child support you will have to pay. You may also wonder, as a father, how much time you will get with your children. In addition to these very important issues, it is in your interests to think about how to preserve your emotional and mental well-being as well.

Louisiana business owners benefit from prenuptial agreements

Louisiana business owners often take great pride in working for themselves and creating a company they can feel proud of. Unfortunately, a divorce can compromise everything that they have worked so hard to build. Prenuptial agreements can help protect business interests during a divorce and are a smart choice for their owners. 

A prenuptial agreement can define what is separate property and what is community property. This is important both for business owners and those who think they may start a company after tying the knot. For the former, starting a business before marriage does not necessarily guarantee that it will remain separate, as commingling of funds and other actions can cause it to become community property. For those who plan to start their business later, laying out expectations for behavior during the marriage can still protect a business and keep it separate. 

Can family law issues be contagious?

People in Louisiana generally like to think that they think and act of their own accord and not because of outside influence. While this might be true in some cases, a person's friends and family can have a significant impact on their behavior when it comes to family law. Simply knowing someone who has divorced puts an individual at a higher risk for pursuing the process for themselves. 

Recent studies suggest that divorce is actually contagious, easily spreading through groups of friends and even families. One study showed that the chance of filing for divorce rose 75 percent when an individual's close friend ended his or her marriage. For those who have multiple friends who are divorced, the chance of ending a marriage shoots up 147 percent. Friends are not the only influencers though, as siblings boost the chance of divorce by 22 percent, and coworkers increase that risk by 50 percent. 

Are millennials killing the divorce industry?

Popular media often paints millennials as desperate for instant gratification, willing to drop anything that is not working in their favor. However, this is not necessarily an accurate depiction, especially when it comes to things like marriage and divorce. While this generation of Louisiana residents might be marrying less frequently and at older ages than their parents, they are also divorcing at a much lower rate. 

The baby boomer generation is divorcing at higher rates than past generations in U.S. history. Indeed, between 1990 and 2015, the rate of divorce for couples aged 65 and over actually tripled. However, the average divorce rate fell 18 percent between 2008 and 2016. Experts attribute this to a slower approach toward marriage by Generation Xers and millennials.  

Prenuptial agreements help with more than just divorce

Planning the perfect wedding day is perhaps one of the most romantic endeavors that a Louisiana couple can undertake. Prenuptial agreements rarely factor into these plans, perhaps because of their negative association with divorce. However, reality is that some couples will end up divorcing, and in that case it is best to be prepared. 

Communication and money issues account for two of the three most common reasons for divorce. What if couples could find a way to address these topics before they ever walked down the aisle? Turns out there is something that gives them that exact opportunity -- prenuptial agreements. Sure, it may feel uncomfortable to discuss what will happen in the event of a divorce, but it allows couples to think about what is most important to them, including physical assets, money and more. A prenup also helps lay the groundwork for more open lines of communication. 

Understand what you're up against as a father seeking custody

The media makes it appear as though fathers no longer face some discrimination in courtrooms when it comes to gaining custody of their children. That may be true in some jurisdictions, but here in Louisiana, you will probably face an uphill battle if you want custody of your children.

The importance of fathers in the lives of their children continues to gain momentum in the courts, but a long way to go remains. That is not to say that you cannot obtain custody of your children or a closer to 50/50 parenting time arrangement. It simply means that you will want to prepare for your hearing and leave little to nothing to chance.

2019 tax changes set to affect spousal support

Post-divorce support payments are a common feature of Louisiana family law. Spousal support is just one such payment that involves one person making temporary, regular payments to an ex. In some cases support takes the form of a single, lump sum. The goal is to provide sufficient financial support until such a time that the recipient is stable. With the effective date of certain changes to the federal tax laws approaching, some couples may want to consider finalizing their divorces before the end of the year. 

Currently, those who pay alimony can deduct it on their taxes while recipients are taxed on the amount as income. This is different than how other payments -- such as child support -- are treated, which is essentially as tax-neutral. Child support payments are not taxed on either the paying or receiving side and neither can deduct the amounts. 

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