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Baton Rouge Family Law Log

What should I do in a child custody dispute?

One of the most stressful situations you may encounter in your divorce is child custody. When disputes arise about custody, the courts must intervene to decide which parent the children would be better off with. Custody battles in the Baton Rouge area are never easy and often take time to resolve. 

You may feel like doing and saying things that may hurt your former partner's credibility. It is important for you to stay calm and rational. Trying to paint the other parent in a negative light may only improve their chances. If you are committed to winning your custody battle, take the following suggestions into consideration. 

Relocating with the kids after divorce

One question we often receive at Gregory S. Johnson, Attorney at Law, concerns child custody and relocation. It is not uncommon for parents in Louisiana who have child custody agreements to move to other cities and states with their children. According to The Spruce, many of them move out of state with their kids to pursue better employment opportunities for themselves and housing and education for their children. However, some people relocate with their children out of spite for their former partners. If you are considering a move with your children, you should consider the laws regarding child custody and how they apply to your situation. 

If you plan to move 150 or more miles from your kids' other parent, you will need their permission first. The request must be made verbally or on paper and with sufficient notice. Your former partner does not have to agree with your decision. You can contest their decision by filing a petition with the courts, where a judge will assess the situation and issue a verdict on if you can relocate with your child. If the other parent does agree to the move, they must put it in writing. 

Under what conditions can Louisiana grandparents seek custody?

If you are a Louisiana grandparent, a time may come when you believe securing custody of your grandchild would be in his or her best interest. Maybe your grandchild already spends the majority of his or her time under your care, or perhaps you have concerns or doubts about the child's mother or father's ability to raise the child. Regardless of your reasoning for wanting custody of your grandchild, certain circumstances must be present for you to move forward in your pursuit.

If your grandchild's parents have begun divorce proceedings, Louisiana Grandparents Raising Grandchildren reports that you may be able to seek custody if you can demonstrate that living with his or her parents would cause your grandchild considerable harm. You may be able to pursue custody through this method if you believe your grandchild is experiencing neglect or abuse. 

You may also petition the court for visitation, if your child is "not available" to allow you to visit.  If your child is in jail, on drugs, suffering from a mental illness or has passed away, the Court may give you a right to spend time with your grandchild.

Fight to keep your parental rights

Did you know that, under certain circumstances, the state has the right to revoke your rights as a parent? If you feel that you are doing everything that you possibly can, it seems pretty wrong. What grounds does Louisiana use when determining if your parental rights should qualify for termination?

According to the Children's Bureau, there are several reasons for which the state may remove your rights from you. These generally include that you have a criminal conviction on your record, you have allegedly neglected or abused your child, you have a mental illness or substance abuse problem, you have failed to financially support your child or you have declined to stay in contact with your child.

The unique challenges of Native American child adoptions

Adopting a child is a noble action. There are plenty of children who are in state systems who need a loving family. Adoption may be their only option in many cases. However, if the child is Native American, there will be special considerations and obligations for the adopting family. Families considering such an adoption must be aware of the law governing it.

According to the National Indian Child Welfare Association, a law was enacted in 1978 to help preventĀ Native American children from losing their cultural identity. Because of large numbers of Native children being put into state care, many of them were being taken away from their tribes and heritage. The Indian Child Welfare Act serves as the law to govern the adoption of Native children.

What are some special considerations in gray divorce?

If you are over the age of 50 and getting a divorce, your case is considered a gray divorce. You may not have the typical concerns that a younger couple would, such as child custody issues. However, you are more likely to face challenges with finances, health issues and adult children.

According to Good Therapy, gray divorce situations usually happen after the last child leaves home. You may feel at this time there is no longer anything holding your marriage together, so divorce is the obvious solution. While you won't need to worry about child custody issues, your adult children may still be affected. They could also express concerns about inheritances and health care decisions because those things will likely be affected.

How can you protect your children from domestic violence?

If you are in an abusive relationship, you are certainly not alone. Every day, many Louisiana families deal with the complexities and dangers of domestic violence. Your situation may be further complicated if you and your spouse have children together. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your children from exposure to violent situations.

Children are heavily influenced by the world around them and can easily be affected by changes to their environment, living condition and family situation. According to womenshealth.gov, you can take some precautions to help lessen the stress from situations related to domestic violence. These include the following:

  • Take time to listen: More than ever, your children will need someone to talk to if they are subjected to violence-related stress. Try your best to be attentive and sincere in listening to their concerns and taking steps to prevent further anxiety.

  • Seek counseling: One great thing you can do is to seek counseling on behalf of your children. Working with a professional counselor, your children may feel better about sharing their feelings in an environment that is safe, comfortable and accepting.

  • Designate a safe spot: Be sure that your children understand where to go if they witness domestic violence. Encourage them to stay away from the situation, call for help if possible and go to a place that will provide protection.

  • Try to get out: If you are the victim of domestic violence, try your hardest to get out of the situation and take your children with you. Enlist the help of trusted family and friends to get away from the violence and into a safe environment.

Signs of hidden assets in a divorce

In a Louisiana divorce, you want to be sure to know all the assets and income you and your spouse have. This is the only way to ensure they are properly divided during the proceedings. While a judge can compel your spouse to disclose all information to you and at Gregory S Johnson Attorney at Law we can help you discover assets, it really falls to you to be vigilant and watch for signs your spouse may be hiding things from you and trying to keep assets from being revealed.

Forbes notes there are many red flags you should watch out for that indicate your spouse may be trying to hide assets. Some are more obvious than others, but typically, if you know to watch out for them, they are all rather easy to spot. Obviously, if your spouse is very controlling of the household money and accounts, you should try to get information because it is likely you are not aware of all the financial details. You also need to check into banking statements and watch for any odd transactions.

Girl killed, man injured in domestic violence incident

Perpetrators of domestic violence in Louisiana often display red flags in the days or even months leading up to dramatic situations. However, recognizing these signs can be difficult and even impossible if people do not know what to look for. Often, domestic violence is more common than many people realize, and it can instantaneously affect the lives of many people.

This was the experience of an Arizona family when an act of violence put the lives of everyone at risk. A 19-year-old man was allegedly angry with his parents in connection with a $20,000 loan he gave them over a year ago. Authorities noted that the young man had a history of depression and domestic violence before he used a gun to shoot and kill his younger sister. An attempt to kill his father was unsuccessful when the gun malfunctioned and did not fire properly.

Controlling your social media during divorce

It seems like a natural move to post life events on Facebook or other social media sites. These events may include a death in your family, a job promotion or the color socks you decide to wear. There is little that is secret from social media.

Nevertheless, if you and your spouse have decided to divorce, social media can easily become the source of hurt feelings, resentment and delayed recovery. The way you and your spouse elect to handle your Facebook pages may affect many factors in your life.

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