Brett K. Duncan & Co.
Taking The Confusion Out Of The Law
800-725-6413

Hammond Legal Blog

Custody rights: Consider your options before turning to the court

The best interests of your child always come first in custody cases. Regardless of what you or your ex-spouse want, a court will always make a decision that benefits your child first and foremost. If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have your own parenting plan, you may not need to rely on a judge to determine what happens to your child, which can work out better for everyone involved in the case.

If parents can come to an agreement on what they plan to do with custody after their divorce, then the court and judge may approve that agreement. In some cases, the judge may decide the arrangements aren't in the best interests of the child and change the arrangement to suit what he or she thinks is right.

High achievers and study drugs

If your child is a student at Southeastern Louisiana University or another institution of higher learning, he or she probably talks about the pressures of college life. Perhaps over the recent holidays you heard about brutal final exams, impossible professors and long, late-night study sessions. Maybe you noticed something different about your child.

Did he or she act a little nervous or jittery? Did it seem that your child had lost weight? Was your child restless and unable to sleep? You likely suspect that your child is using drugs; however, you may be surprised to learn what kind of drugs are prevalent among college students.

Louisiana sets record year for adoption within the state

For many people, there's nothing more important than adding to their families. Some can't have children. Others want to give a child a good home.

If you're looking to adopt in Louisiana, this news is good for you. According to the news, Louisiana has set a new adoption record. In the 2017 fiscal year, 764 children were adopted. In 2016's fiscal year, 735 children found permanent homes.

Losing relationships: The impact of divorce on family

After a divorce, you sometimes lose more than just your spouse. When you were married, you had relationships with your spouse's parents, siblings, friends and others. When you go through a separation, those relationships could come to an end.

In many cases, people are fine with those relationships falling away. They may not get along with their in-laws or dislike their spouse's family members. In those situations, the divorce is a blessing in some ways. For those who have good relationships with others involved, this isn't always good news, though. Sometimes, family members feel they have to choose sides, and choosing sides means picking the person they're related to.

Does having a family pet or large home matter for custody?

You and your spouse are divorcing, and you want to make sure you have the best chance of obtaining primary custody of your child. You know that the home and its layout matters to your case, but what about the family pet?

The living accommodations you have prepared for your child could make a difference in your case. For instance, if you have a two-bedroom home, you'd have a room for your child and you separately. That would be acceptable by most courts. Another thing to consider is if you have a pet. Is your child allergic? That could backfire and hurt your chances of obtaining custody unless you're willing to rehome the pet quickly. Do you have the pet your child wants to live with? That could help your child speak out and say where he or she wants to live and why to the judge.

3 tips for getting through the holidays during divorce

The holidays are coming up quickly, and with your divorce on your mind, it's hard to imagine what you're going to be able to do or how you're going to pull yourself together for family events. Fortunately, plenty of people have been where you are now, so there are some helpful tips for managing your holidays and surviving your divorce.

It's true that you may not be feeling cheerful with your marriage ending, but that doesn't mean you have to avoid celebrating the holidays. Here are three tips for getting through the holidays with as little stress as possible.

Alimony: To be taxed or to avoid taxes?

Alimony is a word many people don't like to bring up during divorce, because it can have lasting implications. For those who have to pay alimony, it seems like they'll never escape the marriage they were once in. For those receiving it, it's a lifeline while they get back on their feet, but it's also a stress because it's taxable income.

The person who pays alimony can deduct alimony payments from their taxes. This is possible as long as you and your former partner do not do your taxes together, the alimony is paid in cash, the alimony is identified as such in your divorce documents and the payment isn't child support.

Emancipation is possible when minors want freedom

Entering the court while seeking emancipation is a serious situation. It's a process by which the court grants you the right to live as an adult despite the fact that you're a minor. There are cases in which an emancipation is necessary or appropriate. To receive an emancipation, you'll have to prove that your case is one of those situations.

There are requirements to meet before you can be emancipated. For example, you'll need to show that it's in your best interests not to be legally bound to your parents or guardians. Additionally, you need to be old enough to file the claim. In California, it's 14 years old, while in Alabama, you have to wait until you're 18. Every state is different. Louisiana's rules state that you must be 16 to be emancipated by judicial consent or 15 by parental consent.

How do you tell a young school-age child about your divorce?

When you plan to get a divorce, it can be hard to figure out how to tell your child. It's particularly difficult when your child is old enough to understand that you're separating from his or her father or mother but not really old enough to understand the nuances of a divorce.

Between the ages of 5 and 8, your child will understand that a divorce means big changes. School-aged children may have already heard about their friends coming from divorced families and have an idea of what a divorce is. Don't be surprised if your child has preconceptions about divorce that surprise you.

Thinking of nesting after divorce? This might help you decide

When you told your children you were getting divorced, you may have heard simultaneous mixed reactions. Even if your kids had an inkling ahead of time that all was not well in your marriage, they may have been taken aback as they considered the impact your divorce would have on their lives. That's only natural and many Florida parents find they need third party support to help their children adapt to new lifestyles when they sever their marital ties.

Like most parents, you no doubt want what's best for your children and you probably realize that you may be in for a challenge (or two, or more) with regard to developing a new parenting plan and child custody arrangement that will help your children continue to thrive. You also undoubtedly understand that what works for one family may not be what's best for your own; therefore, it often helps to consider all options before determining which path to take.

Contact

Brett K. Duncan & Co.
500 E. Morris Avenue
Hammond, LA 70403

Toll Free: 800-725-6413
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