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Baton Rouge Family Law Log

Is your prenuptial agreement in danger?

Louisiana readers understand the importance of securing their financial assets, even before marriage. A common way many couples do this is by drafting prenuptial agreements. These are legal contracts that outline the division of marital property in the event of a divorce. They can also address other financial issues that will be effective over the course of the marriage.

These agreements can be valuable tools because they can give you great confidence for the future, yet it is important to be certain that mistakes do not derail your efforts. Certain errors with prenuptial agreements can actually render some or all of the terms invalid. This exposes you to legal complications and potential financial losses.

Do Louisiana grandparents have visitation rights?

As a Louisiana grandparent, you may have any number of reasons for wanting to establish legal visitation with your grandchild. Maybe you have a poor relationship with one or both of your grandchild's parents that prevents you from visiting, or maybe you have valid concerns about how your grandchild's parents raise him or her. Regardless of your reasoning for desiring legal visitation, however, certain circumstances must be present in order to obtain it.

Per KPLC, in most cases, your best bet at getting more time with your grandchild lies in fixing the relationship with the child's parents. Otherwise, you may be able to obtain legal visitation as a grandparent, but this typically only happens in limited cases, where extenuating circumstances exist.

Determining when alimony can truly end

Some people have likely heard the term "final alimony" and believe it to mean when a person makes a final alimony payment to an ex-spouse. In reality, when final alimony is discussed, it actually means the final calculated alimony payment one spouse must make to another after a divorce is finalized and does not actually mean the last alimony a person pays. So when does a person in Louisiana truly stop paying alimony? The answer can vary.

When alimony is awarded to a former spouse that has a low paying job or is unemployed, it is done for the purpose of assisting the spouse until the spouse is able to become self-sustaining. According to Findlaw, during this period, the spouse who receives alimony may undergo training to acquire the skills necessary for a new job. But even if the spouse successfully finds a higher paying job, it is still up to the courts to determine if the alimony payments cease.

Can bird's nest co-parenting work for you?

One of the biggest hurdles in an divorce in Louisiana is figuring out a parenting plan. Trying to decide who lives where and what the visitation schedule will be can cause a lot of stress, not only for you and your spouse but also for your children. There is one concept, noted by Psychology Today, that may help make the situation easier on the children and this is bird's nest co-parenting.

Bird's nest parenting uses the idea of a family home where the children live full time and where each parent takes turns living. It is like a flip of the traditional idea where the kids move from home to home. It provides more stability for the children. You and the other parent can either get separate homes to live in when you are not at the family home or you can share a place since you will not be there at the same time.

Divorce when both parties already know what they want to do

You and your spouse have had a good run, but you have drifted apart and have decided that ending the marriage would be better for everyone. You know you do not want to fight things out in court. In fact, you have already decided how you want to split your property and divide time with your children. When you have everything pretty much worked out, do you have to go through the traditional divorce process?

Every year, there are numerous couples in Louisiana who choose to end their marriages without all the drama and hassle of dragging things out in court or mediation. They choose to file an uncontested divorce in order to get it over with quickly and quietly.

What are Louisiana's domestic violence arrest laws?

Domestic violence is a very difficult situation for those involved and for law enforcement in Louisiana. According to the American Bar Association, some states have a policy where law enforcement is required to arrest everyone involved and figure out later who is the aggressor. This means that in some states, you could go to jail even if you are the victim. The idea is to defuse the situation and then let attorneys and judges do the legal legwork to figure out who is in the wrong.

Of course, such a policy is not always ideal. You, as the victim, should never be locked up for calling for help, but some states still have such policies and require officers to follow it. Louisiana, however, is not one of those states.

What is classified as separate property in a divorce?

If you are getting a divorce in Louisiana, you will eventually come to the part where property is divided. This can often be a difficult process, especially if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement easily about how property should be divided. If the court steps in, it will look at both private and marital property to make its determinations. If you have separate property, you can protect it and ensure it stays under your control, but you need to know what is classified as separate property to do this.

According to the Louisiana State Bar Association, separate or non-marital property is anything you own exclusively. If you got property before you were married, it may be separate property. You can also acquire property after marriage that is classified this way. However, property must have certain qualities to be considered separate.

How asset participation can affect separate property

Louisiana's status as a community property state means it is important for couples to understand what is and what is not considered marital property, as such property will be divided among the two spouses in the event of a divorce. Sometimes the distinction between separate and marital property is not clear because some separate property may actually contain value that could be considered marital property. This is where asset appreciation comes in.   

A wife or a husband may own a piece of separate property that over time increases in value. Should the wife or husband divorce, the owner of the asset would expect to retain the asset and all the value it accrued. But this may not always be the case. If the other spouse has performed any action to increase the asset's value, the other spouse could claim to be entitled to that asset's increased value.

Making your divorce wish list

If you were to bring a divorce case to the offices of Gregory S. Johnson, Attorney at Law, you might not know what to expect from the process. You might be unsure about the future. You might feel a mix of powerful emotions towards your partner. Start by preparing yourself for success: generally speaking, individuals who get the best possible results during a divorce are those who think positively. That does not mean you have to look on the bright side of your situation. For many people pursuing a divorce in Louisiana, there is not much to be cheerful about regarding the process.

Being positive, in this case, means thinking about what you want -- rather than dwelling on what you are afraid might happen or contemplating how to inflict the most damage upon a spouse who might have wronged you. Your needs and desires might include many things, such as:

  • Maintaining a relationship with your children
  • Getting your fair share of marital property
  • Keeping an abusive spouse away from yourself or your kids
  • Negotiating a fair spousal support agreement

Can I refuse visitations for unpaid child support?

When you get divorced and have children, you will end up dealing with child support and custody issues. This is a natural part of the process. While the court initially sets up agreements between you and your spouse, the administration of those agreements may not fall to the court. The court will still manage custody matters, including visitation, but it is the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services that handles child support. As explained by Very Well Family, child support and visitation are two different matters. One does not affect the other, so you cannot stop visitation rights because child support is not paid.

This is a common issue in such cases because you may feel the child's other parent has no right to see him or her if child support has not been paid. The court sees these as different because child support is a natural obligation of a parent. They are required to support a child they have brought into the world. Visitation is something that is the right of the child and based on what is best for the child. It has nothing to do with the parents.

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