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Baton Rouge Family Law Log

How can I hold onto common sense in a divorce?

You see it all the time on television. One spouse learns their partner is leaving or cheating on them. The very next day divorce papers are on the dinner table. As simple as television makes divorce seem, in real life, it is not that easy.

When faced with separation, many people, including those in the Baton Rouge area, tend to react first and think last. That is no way to approach the divorce process. Here are some ways you can keep your sanity and use good sense while navigating through a challenging divorce. 

Why is the divorce rate in Louisiana so high?

As your wedding day approaches, you may be filled with thoughts and dreams of growing old with your fiancé. As exciting as the future may seem, there is a strong possibility that divorce is in it. It is often the one life event that many happily married couples do not anticipate or plan for, especially locally. 

The national divorce rate is on the decline. It seems as if more couples are opting to stay married. But, according to census data posted on WAFB.com, in 2016, for every 1,000 married Louisiana couples, 20.8 of them filed for divorce. To better understand why the divorce rate is so much higher here locally than in other states, take a look at the following pieces of information. 

Can politics ruin a marriage?

With the political climate in the country being what it is today, it is probably no surprise that many couples in Louisiana may fight over politics. For some people, politics is a major passion. They may be unwilling to bend to any other viewpoint than the one they hold. This can spell trouble for couples who find themselves on the opposite ends of the political spectrum. If you are in this situation, does it mean your relationship is doomed? According to the Huffington Post, differing political opinions could very well mean the end of your marriage.

It is important to note, though, if your relationship is strong and healthy, then the chances are not too high that differing politics could break you up. However, if you are already having marriage troubles, then politics could be the last straw. Luckily, there are some things you can try to help diffuse tensions.

Signs that divorce may be in your future

Many people are so in love with the thought of marriage that they fail to realize how much work is required to make their relationships work. Once the honeymoon period is over and years have gone by, some people begin to feel like their relationships are not working out the way they imagined they would. 

There are many reasons why some individuals separate from their partners. According to Time.com, the chances of a marriage lasting is approximately 50 percent. Here is a brief overview of some possible signs of divorce.

Keys to co-parenting

After a divorce, one of the major strains on a family is how well the parents work together to raise their children. Arguments or different opinions on how to parent can lead to problems. It also negatively affects the children. It is best for everyone when parents can learn to co-parent effectively.

GoodTherapy.com recommends parents work together to create a parenting plan. This means clearly defining boundaries and structure for the children and for each other. Each parent must realize that he or she will have to give up some control. When the children are with the other parent, it is his or her job to take care of them, so the absent parent must give up control. By setting boundaries, each parent can become the head of their own household and have the power to set rules and parent as he or she sees fit without concern about interference from the other parent. By working on a cohesive plan, parents can be better assured that when the children are with the other parent, the decisions being made are beneficial to the children. Above all else, it can stop arguments from occurring because the parents are working together.

Tax considerations after a divorce

In the event of a divorce, couples have many financial things to worry about in Louisiana. One issue that may get overlooked but that requires some attention is the tax ramifications. When property is split during the divorce settlement process, couples need to be aware of how some property divisions may be taxed to avoid high taxes or being hit with serious penalties.

The Journal of Accountancy notes Louisiana is a community property state, which means everything is equally divided between each spouse in a divorce. While some property, such as that obtained before the marriage, may be protected against separation, most property will be divided. In addition, there are other financial obligations that may be ordered, such as alimony. Alimony, under tax laws, is considered a liability for the payer and an asset for the payee. The payer can deduct the payments on his or her taxes, but the payee must claim them as income and pay taxes on the total amount received each year.

Don't let your former spouse ruffle your feathers on turkey day

Are you one of many Louisiana residents who gets stressed out during the holidays? Holiday depression is a real problem for some, and if you recently divorced, then your challenges may go far beyond your typical problems of what to make for dinner, how many guests to invite or whether you should spend Thanksgiving at home or abroad. In fact, if your former spouse is trying to throw a wrench into your plans, you may be wanting the holiday season to end before it even begins.

You are definitely not the first person to face custody or visitation issues during the holidays, nor will you likely be the last. However, knowing you're not alone doesn't necessarily solve your problem. The key to a swift and successful holiday problem resolution is knowing your rights and how to protect them. You may also want to consider various low-stress holiday ideas that have helped others in the past.

Things to keep in mind about divorce and debt

One issue that many people overlook during their divorces in Louisiana until after they are over is debt. While they are so busy focusing on getting their share of the marital property, they forget to consider who gets the marital debt. Joint debts that couples accumulate during their relationships do not disappear. Some debts that were acquired by one spouse can become the responsibility of both parties. 

Many people use prenuptial agreements to detail the ownership of assets and financial obligations to make it easier to divide their debts when they separate. However, in their rush to exchange vows, some individuals forget to make provisions that can save them a ton of grief and stress. 

Dividing assets and debts "equally" is not always a numerical equivolency.  Certain personal factors should be considered when forming the structure of your settlement or court ordered division of property.

Prevent an inheritance from being community property in divorce

You may be like many other couples who share everything during their marriages. This includes any windfalls you may receive upon the death of a loved one. Should you take steps to share your inheritance if you believe your marriage is ending? Are you about to marry and come into the marriage with an inheritance? Will you share your good fortune with your future spouse? You may want to consider these questions before taking any action.

Louisiana is a community property state. That means that if you divorce, the court begins by assuming that you and your spouse own all property equally. If you received an inheritance -- or anticipate receiving one in the future --, it may end up as community property depending on how you treat it.

How is a mortgage handled in a divorce?

If you are getting a divorce in Louisiana, it is important to understand that separating your life from your spouses will not be easy. One area where trouble often arises is if you own a home. Your mortgage lender will not care if you are getting a divorce. The mortgage contract was signed by two individuals and that is how they look at you. Even if you divorce, your obligations to the lender still remains. It is up to you and your spouse to clear up what will happen with the mortgage.

Time notes that you have several options in how you handle your mortgage when you get a divorce. You should look carefully at your situation and your finances when making your decision because you could end up with financial responsibilities you cannot afford if you do not make careful choices.

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