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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Resolving Louisiana divorce issues through family mediation

Third parties are used frequently to settle disputes of every kind. Many Baton Rouge residents might not be aware family mediation is an alternative to court battles over divorce issues. Qualified Louisiana mediators are more than referees in conflicts over child-related matters and property settlements.

Helping to solve problems isn't the same as supplying answers. Mediators are impartial, although they may provide information, opinions or suggestions to help parties reach agreements. The largest part of a mediator's job is to get individuals to communicate, negotiate and work out their own problems.

Critics want child support laws to reflect family changes

Revisions to laws often lag behind changes in society. Consequently, families try to cope with current conditions using old ways. Several analysts feel Louisiana and nationwide child support rules are based on outdated definitions of families.

The child support system as we know it today was put in place during the 1970s. Back then, parents were married or divorced, but comparatively few parents were never married. Today, a significant number of couples choose parenthood without marriage.

How Baton Rouge marriages end

You'll find countless blogs listing the reasons marriages end. Blogs containing that sort of information can be helpful when you're trying to cope with emotional turmoil during separation and divorce. However, this post deals with the legal process of obtaining a Louisiana divorce.

We'll start with the less common ways Louisiana marriages are dissolved. Annulments, known as declarations of nullity, are granted when a marriage takes place without one person's consent. Declarations are not required when no ceremony is performed, a participant is a bigamist, the relationship is incestuous, the partners are the same-sex or the marriage is performed using substitutes for the couple.

Is consent ever unnecessary in a Louisiana stepparent adoption?

Baton Rouge individuals and couples who want to adopt can benefit by learning all they can before committing time and energy to the process. A blog can't provide all the answers, but an overview may help you prepare questions to ask an attorney. Let's narrow the field to stepparent adoptions, the most common type of all adoptions.

An adoption transfers legal and parental rights to an adoptive parent. Once that transition occurs, the birth parent loses all parental rights and is freed from all parental obligations, like child support. A stepparent child adoption is dependent upon several factors, including the consent of several parties.

Trial decision on property settlement in oil baron’s divorce

Harold Hamm has been listed as the 28th richest man in the U.S. His mega-wealth will be diminished somewhat as the result of a divorce-related property settlement, recently decided in a 10-day trial. Hamm's wife of 26 years will receive $972 million dollars, a fraction of a fortune estimated to be more than $16 billion.

A court decided Harold Hamm did not have to sell off his majority 68 percent stake in Continental Resources, with oil operations reaching into Louisiana. While anything close to $1 billion dollars seems like an enormous settlement, the ex-wife actually received far less of the couple's marital assets than some observers expected. An appeal is under consideration.

What assets are separate property in a Louisiana divorce?

No matter where you live, the end of a marriage requires spouses to divide property. How you go about the process determines the shape of your financial future. For many Baton Rouge couples, it is better to negotiate a property settlement than to have a judge make decisions for you.

Property division follows Louisiana community property laws. Any assets and liabilities that are not considered separate property become marital property, which is equally divided. Before you can determine how to divide a marital estate, you must understand the difference between separate and marital property.

Louisiana professor sues ex for suppressing divorce papers

Property division at the end of a marriage can be determined by spousal agreement or a family court in accordance with Louisiana community property laws. Property settlements are contracts that must be entered in good faith. Spouses may not hide income, assets and liabilities or engage in other fraudulent activities to gain a financial advantage during divorce.

A Louisiana professor claims his ex-wife knowingly cheated him during the couple's divorce. The wife filed for divorce in Columbia in 2001, where she was living and where the couple married nearly three decades earlier. A lawsuit filed by the former husband stated he had no opportunity to contest the international divorce, because he was not properly notified about it.

Intrafamily adoption in Louisiana

When you think of adoption in Louisiana, do you think of a couple adopting a child whose parents they have never met? Perhaps they cannot have children on their own, but they still want to raise a family. This is a very common type of adoption, of course, but it is important to note that intrafamily adoptions also happen frequently.

In short, this is the official adoption of a child by a stepparent. For example, a woman may be married, have a son and then get divorced. When the son is five years old, she could get married again. Her new husband may want to have a big role in the son's life, so he could decide to adopt the boy as his own.

Visitation program benefits Baton Rouge non-custodial parents

Louisiana courts encourage co-parenting following a couple's separation. Isolated Baton Rouge non-custodial parents sometimes drift away from their children or are kept at arm's length by a custodial parent. The Department of Children and Family Services has a program that attempts to foster the non-custodial parent's relationship with children.

The Access and Visitation Program is primarily geared toward the best interests of children, but the benefits to parents are evident. Children without the love and support of both parents may have emotional, educational and behavioral difficulties. Courts try to prevent these future problems by working through visitation issues with parents.

Are open adoptions more common than closed adoptions?

Society has changed its views and laws about the roles of Baton Rouge birthparents who choose to forfeit parental rights. In decades past, ongoing relationships among birthparents, adopted children and adoptive parents were nearly nonexistent. Today, at least in many domestic adoptions, open adoptions are the norm.

Closed adoptions sever legal and all other ties between birthparents and adopted children. In the past, adoptive parents commonly used agencies to find children, often without meeting or knowing anything about biological parents. In some cases, children were not told about adoptions and when they were, they had no access to details since court records for adoptions were sealed.

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