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

Could a postnuptial agreement improve your marriage?

Many coupes draft and sign prenuptial agreements, but far fewer utilize the benefits that postnuptial agreements can provide. In fact, many couples don't even realize that it's possible to re-tool your marriage after taking your vows.

These legal contracts address the disposition of community property assets in the event of separation or divorce. Postnups can also address how debts will be divided if the couple decides to split.

Custody agreements breaking mold

Courts across the country have departed from their outdated bias concerning child custody. Now, custody orders and agreements are now tailored to meet the needs of families. This can provide more flexibility for families in Louisiana going through a divorce.

Until a few years ago, courts generally granted custody to mothers because of the belief that mothers were better parents and giving them primary custody was in the best interests of the child. Courts, however, have begun issuing custody orders that are fairer for fathers and provide more time with the children.

Divorce and retirement

A divorce can have a significant impact on retirement plans. This problem is growing because the rate of divorce for spouses over 50-years-old doubled over the last 20 years, and older divorce even grew for remarried couples.

One of the biggest financial challenges for divorcing couples at any age is the added costs of maintaining a standard of living. Couples split their property and assets that they acquired over their time together, but must keep two separate households.

What are the divorce support laws?

Financial support of former spouses and the couple's children is an important divorce issue in Louisiana that can have long-term consequences. This can determine whether a family can pay for daily living expenses, education and health care, and whether they can have a reasonable standard of living.

The parent without custody, or primary or physical custody when joint custody was awarded, usually has the responsibility of paying financial support for their minor children. Courts use the state's child support guidelines for setting the amount of support. A court may depart from these guidelines for the child's best interest and if it issues a written or oral justification.

How does community property work?

The classification of property acquired during marriage is vital for property division and what a spouse keeps or gives up following divorce. Louisiana is one of the nine "community property" states.

"Community property" is property that is obtained during marriage through the work or skill of either spouse. A spouse owns an undivided one-half interest in this property with their spouse. A spouse cannot sell, mortgage or lease their interest until it is divided.

Dealing with finances after divorce

Going through settlement negotiations or litigation and issuance of the divorce decree does not end all the financial and legal issues after the end of a marriage. There are still practical matters that must be addressed following the end of this often long and tedious process.

First, cancelling joint credit cards and establishing sole credit for one spouse is important and should be done immediately. This also prevents a former spouse for running up debt for both spouses.

What are some the most common causes of divorce?

While no couple that gets married plans to divorce, many will wind up doing just that. Statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that "marital disruption" occurs in 22 percent of couples during their initial half-decade of marriage. If they manage to hang in there for two decades, 53 percent of couples will experience a disruption.

With the odds being what they are, it's important to understand what types of problems cause marriages to unravel. Below are some of the most common reasons for divorce.

Understanding child custody is an important part of divorce

When parents in Louisiana divorce, one of the most important aspects of their split involves who will have custody of their child. There are two types of child custody. Knowing the difference is important for planning for a family's future.

The parent with legal custody has the right and responsibility to make decisions on their child's health, education, welfare and other important matters. A parent with physical custody lives with their child.

Don't make these common courtroom mistakes in a divorce

When a couple in Louisiana decides to end their marriage, it may be the first time they are facing a judge in court. Courtroom behavior can have long-term consequences on child custody, property division and support in a divorce. Litigants should avoid behavior that is almost certain to lead to a bad outcome.

Preparation is almost everything. Judges are usually displeased if a spouse cannot answer their questions. For example, a spouse should have documentation proving income and debts if they are seeking a reduction in spousal or child support.

New tax law causes divorce uncertainty

The new federal tax law approved last year has presented uncertainty in Louisiana and across the country. This change has even gone so far as to affect divorce planning.

Before the new law, the payer of spousal support could deduct the full amount while recipients of spousal support paid taxes on it at a rate of 15 percent. To recapture some loss revenue from other changes, however, the new tax law eliminates the long-standing deduction for alimony payments.


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