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Baton Rouge Family Law Blog

Tax concerns during Louisiana property settlements

The division of property can be one of the most complicated aspects of the end of a Louisiana marriage. Property ownership may be decided in a prenuptial or post-nuptial contract, an agreement reached by spouses during separation or divorce or by a family law judge.

Many spouses involved in high asset divorces enlist the assistance of accountants as well as attorneys. Before any property negotiations take place, marital assets and debts must be disclosed, counted and valued. Rules for the identification and division of separate and marital property are outlined in the laws of every state.

The Louisiana stepparent adoption process

Some Louisiana families are very different than the stereotypical mother, father and children. Divorces, remarriages and other circumstances can place individuals in the same household who have no legal relationship. Stepparents are related to a spouse but have no rights concerning the spouse's children.

The best remedy for this unequal legal situation may be a stepparent adoption. An adoption by a stepparent establishes legal rights and responsibilities to a spouse's child. The legal action also severs legal ties between the child and an assumed, alleged or biological father.

Divorce and the division of Louisiana family businesses

Louisiana laws concerning marital property are unlike most other states. Most states divvy up divorce assets and debts according to equitable distribution rather than community property laws. Here, unless spouses have made earlier prior financial agreements, property settlements split ownership right down the middle.

Businesses may qualify as either separate property, belonging to one spouse, or marital property, shared by both. A business purchased before marriage is the owner's property after divorce, but there are exceptions. Problems occur when separate property is commingled with marital property.

What are social workers’ roles in child custody cases?

Louisiana social workers sometimes are asked to enter into sensitive family law cases. A social worker's sole focus in a custody dispute is the best interests of the child. A parent, attorney or the court may ask for a social worker's assistance but throughout the case, the professional remains neutral and objective.

Social workers perform evaluations based on interviews and observations of parties involved with the child custody case. Third parties, like members of an extended family and others in the child's life, also may be interviewed. Reports provided by child caregivers, schools, health care providers and others are reviewed.

Do children take part in Louisiana family mediation sessions?

When a marriage is falling apart, it's difficult for Baton Rouge spouses to look beyond ending this unhappy period of their lives. The divorce process doesn't make getting past this point easy. A marital relationship can be relegated to the past with divorce, but parenthood is ongoing – the relationship with an ex-spouse changes but doesn't end.

Conflicts are common during divorce over custody arrangements, child and spousal support and property division. The decisions spouses make are often long-lasting. Emotionally-charged parties frequently hit roadblocks that require the help of third parties to clear.

Louisiana Child Support Enforcement and court orders

As part of its many programs, the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services helps establish and enforce court orders for the financial welfare of children. The Child Support Enforcement program facilitates the process of determining child support, according to state guidelines.

Laws require non-custodial parents to contribute to the support of their children. Support determinations are made based upon the parents' gross income and children's needs. Additional factors are considered before a final amount is decided.

Marital torts and spousal rights in Louisiana

Many spouses are unaware laws allow one spouse to take another to court over injury claims. Marital torts are permitted under circumstances dictated by state laws. To be clear, marital torts are claims outside divorce actions, although some states allow the two issues to be resolved simultaneously during the dissolution of a marriage.

A marital tort took place in Louisiana, where a wife sued her husband for giving her herpes. The wife discovered she had contracted the sexually-transmitted disease during a gynecological appointment. The husband later admitted he cheated on his spouse, knew about the STD and feared disclosing the information to his wife.

Facts and resources for Louisiana grandparents

Grandparents may be responsible for the care of grandchildren through a casual agreement with parents. However, there are times when it is necessary or desirable for a grandparent to become a grandchild's legal custodian. Under Louisiana family laws, grandparents may be awarded guardianships or obtain temporary provisional or full legal custody – even adoption is possible.

A legal arrangement is beneficial, since grandparents' rights are limited without one. For example, provisional custody includes parental authorizations to allow a grandparent to take custody of and care for a child. Legal ties give grandparents privileges that normally are reserved only for parents, like making education and medical decisions for a child.

Louisiana family laws establishing paternity

In Louisiana, an unmarried man is not presumed to be a father without establishing a legal or genetic link to a child. Biological fathers may have little or no say in the upbringing of their children unless they take actions to change that. A parent-child relationship must be established to exercise fathers' rights.

Fully taking on the rights and obligations of parenthood isn't as simple as making a claim. The Louisiana Putative Father Registry allows men to declare they are the father of a child. However, the registration must be accompanied by acceptable proof that the man is a child's father, including an authentic act of acknowledgment or a paternity judgment by a Louisiana court or family court in another state.

A Louisiana visitation program to help non-custodial parents

Non-custodial parents in Baton Rouge may have difficulties spending time with their children. The Louisiana Access and Visitation Program tries to help non-custodial parents gain access through visitations. The issue can be a sensitive one, particularly when parents part ways on less than agreeable terms.

The program is free and provides the services of an attorney to help non-custodial parents gain visitation rights. The Access and Visitation Program assists applicants with no current or past visitation orders in place. The non-custodial parent also must have an active case with Child Support Enforcement division.

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