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Lafayette Family Law Blog

Stepfamilies increasingly common in the U.S.

There are many different types of families here in America. One type that has become more and more common over the past few decades is the stepfamily.

This can be seen in statistics on the issue. In 1960, stepfamilies made up a mere 13 percent of families. In 2014, stepcouples made up 40 percent of all married couples with children. Having a step-relative is remarkably common now, it's estimated that around two-thirds of people do. 

Prenups can help with many things

A common assumption out there is that prenuptial agreements are mostly just for rich people. While it is true that prenups can provide valuable asset protection for high-net-worth individuals, what is untrue is that prenuptial agreements cannot be helpful to those of more modest means.

Court-ordered mental health evaluations in Louisiana custody cases

There are many different types of impactful evidence that can show up in Louisiana child custody cases. One such type are reports/testimony by mental health professionals.

Such reports/testimony can end up being a part of a custody case as a result of a court-ordered mental health evaluation. Under certain circumstances, courts in Louisiana child custody cases are allowed to order that an evaluation, interview or test be conducted of the child the proceedings regard or a party in the proceedings by a mental health professional. When such a court-ordered evaluation is conducted, the mental health professional who performed the evaluation is to be a witness in the case and give the parties in the case and the court a report containing the findings of the evaluation.

One major source of divorce/marriage data could disappear

One thing that has been a pretty major focus area for studies in recent times is divorce trends, such as trends in how common divorces are. Recently, the U.S. Census Bureau announced a proposal which could eliminate a major source for divorce and marriage data for research on divorce trends.

Starting in 2008, certain divorce and marriage questions have been included in the bureau's American Community Survey. Such questions include questions on whether a person has gotten divorced or married in the past year and questions on a person's marital history.

What factors help determine child support payments?

A divorcing couple has numerous things to worry about. Disputes ranging from property division to debt division to child custody must be resolved during the divorce process. While child support might seem like a formulaic calculation, there are several aspects that must be considered.

While the Louisiana child support guidelines are balanced heavily toward income and the number of children, other monetary considerations are taken into account. We have previously discussed the impact extracurricular activity expenses can have in the determination of child support payments. It is wise for divorcing parents to discuss other factors with an experienced attorney.

Irregular work schedules and child custody

There are certain lines of work that have work schedules associated with them that are very different from the typical work schedule. For example, individuals who work on offshore oil rigs can have irregular work schedules. Military jobs can also have unusual work schedules attached to them, particularly when it comes to active deployment.

When a person has a job that has an irregular work schedule, there are several different areas where special considerations may be required due to the odd work schedule. One such area is the area of child custody.

Divorce timing and ex-spouse Social Security benefits eligibility

There are many different things for which timing can be a very important element. Divorce is one of these things. When specifically a divorce occurs can impact many different things. One thing divorce timing can potentially impact is what sort of Social Security benefits a person is eligible for.

When a person gets a divorce, and their ex-spouse is eligible for disability or retirement benefits from the Social Security program, they too may qualify to receive Social Security benefits in connection to the work record of their ex-spouse, if they meet certain requirements. A couple of examples of these requirements are that a person seeking benefits based on an ex-spouse's work record must not currently be married and must be 62 years of age or older. 

Can courts in Louisiana custody matters order drug tests?

There are many different things that can impact what is in a child's best interests when it comes to child custody. Thus, there are many things that can be potentially impactful issues in Louisiana child custody matters. One is the issue of whether or not one of the parents has a substance abuse problem. If a parent in a child custody matter is concerned that the other parent may have a substance abuse problem, one question they may have is: can the court order the other parent to take a drug test for the child custody proceedings?

Here in Louisiana, state law does allow courts in child custody cases to order a parent to take drug tests under certain circumstances. These circumstances are when a contradictory hearing has been held and the court has found that there is good cause to order the tests.

Tips for making a first post-divorce Thanksgiving less stressful

Stress is something we all face. However, there are certain things that can expose a person to a much greater degree of stress than they are used to. Divorce can have the potential to be one of these things.

There are many different potential sources of stress for individuals who are going through a divorce. One are the legal proceedings related to the divorce. Such proceedings can be rather complex and can sometimes have some confusing aspects.

Divorced parents and gender differences in communication

It is well-known that good communication is very important for married couples. However, good communication can also be very important for divorced couples, particularly for divorced couples with kids. When parents divorce, there generally are many matters regarding the kids that they will need to communicate with each other about, such as custody exchanges, joint parenting decisions or the kids' holiday plans. Good communication between divorced parents when having conversations about these topics may be able to help such parents prevent minor issues from becoming major disputes.

Now, there are some things that can be potential sources of communication problems between divorced parents. One is any animosity and emotional hurt they feel over the divorce. Thus, keeping one's emotions in check can be important when talking with one's ex about matters regarding the kids.

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