Eric S. Neumann, APLC
Family law attorney serving clients in Lafayette and throughout Acadiana
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Lafayette Divorce Blog

Staying calm during the stress of divorce

A divorce may be a stressful, complicated and weary process for Louisiana couples ending their marriage. However, being organized and documenting as much as possible can help in court proceedings or mediation, and help a spouse carefully and calmly deal with issues.

Mediation is often recommended before going to trial, especially when the couple must deal with business assets. This generally is a less expensive and stressful process, which involves the spouses negotiating their own resolution of divorce legal issues outside of court and before an impartial mediator. Being organized, prepared and having a clear goal can help during this negotiation process and facilitate its success.

Oil rig workers and child custody matters

The prevalence of oil field work in Acadiana is a beacon for the local economy. The workers stand to make a good amount of money for their efforts. This can place a huge burden on the family members who are left at home. These workers face the risk of divorce, which is difficult since they are only trying to support their family members.

When a marriage fails, there is a good chance that there will be children who are stuck in the middle. This poses a challenge to the oil field workers who still want to be a part of their child's life but need to continue to earn a living. In most of these cases, creative child custody arrangements are necessary.

Divorce and social media

Social media is playing a part in divorce throughout the country, and spouses should address postings with caution. At least 40 to 50 percent of marriages in this country end in divorce, according to the American Psychological Society. There are many ways couples address the end of their marriages on social media. Some spouses simply remove their married status from Facebook. Other couples draft and post a mutually-agreeable announcement.

Spouses also removed their ex-spouse from social media platforms so they did not have to follow their relationship status. Others quit posting altogether. Some spouses have become so accustomed to social media that it is practically impossible to quit sharing their lives online. During an apprehensive time, such as during a divorce, social media can provide strong support. This is even more beneficial for people who have trouble with communicating offline. Another benefit is that the anticipation of a response to a social posting is a positive experience for many.

What are the visitation rights for parents?

Visitation rights are different than child custody rights for parents in Louisiana. Determining who is around the child, nonetheless, is also very significant. Visitation is the time that a parent may spend with the child. Custody is the right to make important decisions about education, health and other important matters in the child's life, even if the child lives somewhere else.

Mothers and fathers have equal visitation rights. Courts try to assure that each parent may spend enough time with their children so that they can continue their relationship. Even though parents can usually decide who may be around their children, courts may grant limited visitation rights to grandparents under certain circumstances.

Schools have child custody disputes procedures

Disputes over child custody are not restricted to families. Schools often become involved and must implement procedures to protect children. Access to school records, not abduction, is the biggest complaint involving schools from non-custodial parents according to a security consultant. Unless a specific court order prohibits access, however, a non-custodial parent has a right to their child's records.

The federal Family Educational Rights Privacy Act grants both parents in Louisiana and throughout the country equal access to their child's school records. If it is proven that a non-custodial parent is abusive, however, schools may redact parts of the record containing the school name, parent or child's address and the abused parent's workplace. Schools may be held liable if an abusive parent gains access to this information.

Preparation is important during a divorce

Going through a divorce requires mental and financial preparation. Taking these steps before filing helps assure that a family can take care of their future expenses. First, a spouse should open their own checking and savings account to take care of their financial needs. An accounting of deposits to the other spouse, however, helps assure that there are no justifiable accusations that the spouse is hiding assets.

All joint credit card, mortgage and other accounts should also be closed or paid off. Creditors should be apprised if any of these accounts cannot be paid off. This helps decrease any debt that must be resolved after divorce. A spouse, accordingly, should not incur new future credit card debt.

Challenges in divorce for those over 50-years-old

Relationships and lifestyle during marriage can have an impact during divorce and require additional vigilance when the coupe undergoes property division. This has become apparent for spouses, particularly men, who end their marriages after they turn 50.

Despite career advances and progress, 56 percent of women still allow their husbands to make investment and financial decisions. This also applies to 61 percent of younger millennial spouses who leave these decisions to their husbands and 54 percent of baby boomer wives. This information came from a recent report by UBS Global Management. Survey respondents had a minimum of $250,000 in investable assets.

6 ways you can make divorce easier for your kids

You and your spouse want an amicable divorce because you always put your kids first. You want to make sure they come through this process as easily as possible. You do not want them to feel like their parents dragged them through a bitter divorce, always fighting and stressing them out. Your No. 1 goal is to be excellent parents, even as your marriage ends.

That's a great mindset. If you both share it, it is possible. Below are six things you can do to make this easier on the children:

How are debts divided during divorce?

Married couples acquire both property and debt during their relationship. In a divorce, in addition to marital property, Louisiana courts must also address how debt should be allocated. These decisions can have serious and long-term financial consequences.

Louisiana is a community property state. Accordingly, debt acquired by one spouse is that spouse's liability. However, the debt is considered community property if it was incurred for the couple's benefit or for the other spouse's interest. A spouse's separate debt can be paid off from that spouse's own property. Community property may also satisfy that debt.

How do Louisiana's matrimonial agreements work?

Louisiana is a community property state where, with some important exceptions, property acquired during the marriage by either spouse is "marital property" that can be divided during divorce. However, spouses can enter matrimonial agreements, such as a prenuptial agreement, that can renounce, modify or depart from the state's community property rules during property division in a divorce.

These agreements may separate the spouses' property acquired throughout the marriage or specify which property will be separate or marital. For example, one spouse's salary may be classified as their separate property, while the other spouse's salary may be labeled as community property. Spouses can also agree to fixed contributions for their expenses or allocate community property by shares. Minors cannot enter matrimonial agreements without their parents' written consent unless they are emancipated. The parent with legal custody or their tutor may also grant written approval.

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