Eric S. Neumann, APLC
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Lafayette Divorce Blog

Understanding how divorce mediation works

For most Louisiana couples who are contemplating a divorce, the process seems to be a long, dark and twisting tunnel. One of the most common causes of such anxiety is fear of anger. A party may fear his or her anger toward the other spouse or fear that spouse's anger. One technique for reducing or eliminating anger in the divorce process is the use of mediation. Unfortunately, many spouses in Louisiana do not understand how the process works or how it can help.

Mediation has two important characteristics. First, it is non-binding, that is, the only binding outcome is whatever agreement the two spouses can reach concerning the issues in their divorce. Second, mediation relies on the services of a neutral individual who helps the parties see areas of agreement and understand reasons for disagreement. Most couples prefer to use mediators who have been trained and certified in the various interpersonal techniques used in mediation.

Communication is a priority in co-parenting

One of the most difficult challenges of co-parenting is having to continue communicating with your ex. Still, it is critical that both parents can speak to each other when there are decisions to be made about the children. There are many ways to do this.

At no point during these discussions should you allow yourself to become so irritated or upset that you say things that could be detrimental to your parenting relationship. Being able to control impulsive behavior must be a priority when things are getting heated.

Understanding the "best interests of the child"

If a divorcing couple in Louisiana has minor children, the custody and financial support of the child can become a divisive issue. If the parents cannot agree on issues of custody and support for their child, the court will be required to intervene. In making decisions on child custody and support, the court must consider the "best interests of the child." The term itself is very vague, but the state legislature has provided a number of factors that the court can consider.

The statute first directs the court to consider "all relevant factors" in determining the best interests of the child. The statute then provides a list of 12 factors that the court may, but is not required to, consider. The list begins with "the love, affection and other emotional ties between each party and the child." The second factor is the "capacity and disposition of each party to provide the child with love, affection and spiritual guidance." The court may also consider the ability of each party to provide food, clothing, medical care and other medical needs for the child.

Finding hidden assets in a divorce case in Louisiana

In a divorce case in Louisiana, many spouses worry about being treated fairly in the division of property process. Louisiana is a community property state, in which joint marital assets must be evenly divided, but many spouses take steps to conceal assets from the other spouse and thereby attempt to avoid having the court include these assets in the inventory of community property. This tactic is plainly illegal, but more than a few people have believed that they could outwit the system.

Accountants may identify many of the devices used to conceal assets, and knowing about these devices can help ensure a fair division of property. A common method of hiding income is to postpone the award of a bonus or a pay raise until after the divorce is final. Another tactic is the purchase of a luxury or expensive item before the divorce and then under-reporting the value of the asset. Another method is the withdrawal of unusually large amounts of money from joint or individual bank accounts. Some people involve their friends by "paying back" a phony loan or selling a high value asset to a friend for far less than fair market value and then reversing the sale after the divorce is final. The most common method of hiding assets is simply to actually hide them, that is, omit high value assets from the financial disclosure that the court will require during the divorce.

The right approach to family law issues in Louisiana

While few people enter a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, some spouses find divorce to be a solution to their marital woes. A spouse may find that the marriage's end is a relief instead of a source of shame, and often both spouses - and any children - find their quality of life has improved after a divorce. This means that spouses and children may experience less stress after a divorce.

Not long ago a previous post here discussed some ways to make the divorce process itself less stressful. When telling friends and family of a divorce, being direct may be the best course of action. But, you also might want to forewarn them that you are going to share difficult news with them. Spouses should also remember that they may not get exactly what they want in the negotiations prior to dissolution, so they should think about what sorts of concessions they would be willing to make to reach an acceptable compromise.

What questions could come up during property division?

One of the least favorite, and most questioned, topics of the divorce process often centers around the topic of property division. Property division is the portion of the divorce process in which a married couple's assets and liabilities are divided fair and equitably. How is this done? Each couple's property division will be specifically tailored to their situation, financially and personally.

So, naturally, the topic of property division can bring up many questions. One of which being, who will keep the house? A family home is not only a place with many memories and emotions tied to it, but it is also generally a wise investment. Usually married couples buy a home together, co-signing on a mortgage and thus there is only one house - which spouse gets it in the property division process? The truth is that if a person is set on keeping the house as their largest asset, they will likely need to trade something large for it, or many things, to keep the asset division fair and equitable.

Set goals, expectations for the child custody process

Before you begin something, you often think about what the ideal outcome would be in the end. There are many reasons to begin something, but sometimes people have a hard time finishing. Things can come up that are unexpected or challenging that can get between a person fulfilling their goals. When it comes to your child, it's important to put their best interests first during the child custody process.

The child custody process, the goals you are hoping to achieve and the expectations a person have can vary greatly from person to person. Everyone can be at a different point when it comes to this process. Maybe you have been through the child custody process once before and need a revision. Maybe you and your spouse are going through a divorce and this is all brand new. Maybe you are a parent looking for child custody rights or child support.

An uncontested Louisiana divorce can be easier for the children

The word "divorce" probably conjures to mind images of a former couple screaming at each other in court and fighting for each penny of their assets and minute of time with their children. While it is true that many divorces become bitter, contentious events, they are not inherently negative experiences.

Instead, it is the attitudes and behaviors of the adults involved that will inform whether to the divorce becomes bitter and difficult. You can divorce without putting your ex and your kids through the proverbial emotional ringer.

Sacha Baron Cohen claims his movie caused celebrity divorce

The smallest thing can be the catalyst of a divorce, or so many divorcing couples claim. However, there are usually several underlying issues when it comes to a married couple's decision to get a divorce. It is true for some people that one incident can bring all these issues to a head. Actor Sacha Baron Cohen claims his movie, "Borat," was the reason for Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock's divorce.

This wasn't the first divorce for former Baywatch star Anderson, but it made headlines when the movie at the time hit the big screen. According to Cohen, he had texted the actress shortly after they saw the movie in November of 2006. When Cohen asked how they liked it, she replied that they were getting a divorce. He says when asked her why, she said, "The movie."

Do you understand the child custody process?

If you are pending a divorce and have never experienced the process, everything can be new to those looking to divorce their spouse. If there are children in the marriage, this is top priority for most Lafayette parents. So, do you understand how the child custody process works?

The child custody process is difference for everyone. Those going through it may not even be seeking a divorce, they may just be seeking child support, paternity or an amendment to an old child custody arrangement. What's important is that child custody determinations are customizable to a family and to the best interests of the child. Because of this, you no doubt have specific questions about how a child custody arrangement will affect you and your child.

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