Marriage is a contractual relationship between two people. A divorce of a short-term marriage with no children and no assets can usually be obtained without a lawyer. However, if the marriage is long-term, includes children, or has more complex issues, it is advisable to talk with a lawyer. If there are children, careful consideration must be given to the issues of child support, custody, and placement. If there are substantial assets and/or debts, a detailed review of the parties' overall financial picture must be made. The legal and emotional effects of all of these matters are my main concern. As your legal representative, we have the experience and creativity to understand the difficulties that arise and the flexibility to help you discover new ways to cope during this potentially stressful time.
Collaborative Law/ Collaborative Divorce:
The collaborative law model is defined as a dispute resolution method that utilizes two attorneys to help the disputants reach a settlement after the disputants have signed a disqualification agreement not to litigate the dispute in court. Should either of the disputants decide to litigate the matter, they are required to obtain new attorneys. The collaborative law model as expanded by the collaborative divorce model lead to the usage of teams of professionals to resolve divorce cases. The collaborative divorce model incorporates the same disqualification agreement as does the collaborative law model, but adds professionals, such as divorce coaches, who assist the divorcing couple in putting aside their emotions in order to have more rational settlement negotiations. The central premise of the collaborative models is the use of face-to-face settlement meetings under the protective umbrella of a disqualification agreement.
Louisiana Child Support
It is undisputed that divorce has emotional implications on the family. Financial implications can be almost as daunting. Because each state has a unique formula for determination of Child Support amounts, you need our proactive representation to help you reach a fair settlement and efficiency to reduce legal costs.
Child Support Tax Dependancy Deduction:
§ 9:315.18. Schedule; information
A. The amounts set forth in the schedule in R.S. 9:315.19 presume that the custodial or domiciliary party has the right to claim the federal and state tax dependency deductions and any earned income credit. However, the claiming of dependents for federal and state income tax purposes shall be as provided in Subsection B of this Section.
B. (1) The non-domiciliary party whose child support obligation equals or exceeds fifty percent of the total child support obligation shall be entitled to claim the federal and state tax dependency deductions if, after a contradictory motion, the judge finds both of the following:
(a) No arrearages are owed by the obligor.
(b) The right to claim the dependency deductions or, in the case of multiple children, a part thereof, would substantially benefit the non-domiciliary party without significantly harming the domiciliary party.
(2) The child support order shall:
(a) Specify the years in which the party is entitled to claim such deductions.
(b) Require the domiciliary party to timely execute all forms required by the Internal Revenue Service authorizing the non-domiciliary party to claim such deductions.
C. The party who receives the benefit of the exemption for such tax year shall not be considered as having received payment of a thing not due if the dependency deduction allocation is not maintained by the taxing authorities.
Child Support Definitions from the Statute:
C. Definitions.. --As used in this Part:
(1) "Adjusted gross income" means gross income, minus amounts for preexisting child support or spousal support obligations paid to another who is not a party to the proceedings, or on behalf of a child who is not the subject of the action of the court.
(2) "Combined adjusted gross income" means the combined adjusted gross income of both parties.
(3) "Gross income" means:
(a) The income from any source, including but not limited to salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, recurring monetary gifts, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, workers' compensation benefits, basic and variable allowances for housing and subsistence from military pay and benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disaster unemployment assistance received from the United States Department of Labor, disability insurance benefits, and spousal support received from a preexisting spousal support obligation;
(b) Expense reimbursement or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business, if the reimbursements or payments are significant and reduce the parent's personal living expenses. Such payments include but are not limited to a company car, free housing, or reimbursed meals; and
(c) Gross receipts minus ordinary and necessary expenses required to produce income, for purposes of income from self-employment, rent, royalties, proprietorship of a business, or joint ownership or a partnership or closely held corporation. "Ordinary and necessary expenses" shall not include amounts allowable by the Internal Revenue Service for the accelerated component of depreciation expenses or investment tax credits or any other business expenses determined by the court to be inappropriate for determining gross income for purposes of calculating child support.
(d) As used herein, "gross income" does not include:
(i) Child support received, or benefits received from public assistance programs, including Family Independence Temporary Assistance Plan, supplemental security income, food stamps, and general assistance.
(ii) Per diem allowances which are not subject to federal income taxation under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
(iii) Extraordinary overtime including but not limited to income attributed to seasonal work regardless of its percentage of gross income when, in the court's discretion, the inclusion thereof would be inequitable to a party.
(iv) Any monetary gift to the domiciliary party when the objective of the gift is to supplement irregular child support payments from the nondomiciliary party.
(v) Any disaster assistance benefits received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency through its Individuals and Households Program or from any other nonprofit organization qualified as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended.
(4) "Health insurance premiums" means the actual amount paid by a party for providing health insurance on behalf of the child. It does not include any amount paid by an employer or any amounts paid for coverage of any other persons. If more than one dependent is covered by health insurance which is paid through a lump-sum dependent-coverage premium, and not all of such dependents are the subject of the guidelines calculation, the cost of the coverage shall be prorated among the dependents covered before being applied to the guidelines.
(5) "Income" means:
(a) Actual gross income of a party, if the party is employed to full capacity; or
(b) Potential income of a party, if the party is voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. A party shall not be deemed voluntarily unemployed or underemployed if he or she is absolutely unemployable or incapable of being employed, or if the unemployment or underemployment results through no fault or neglect of the party.
(c) The court may also consider as income the benefits a party derives from expense-sharing or other sources; however, in determining the benefits of expense-sharing, the court shall not consider the income of another spouse, regardless of the legal regime under which the remarriage exists, except to the extent that such income is used directly to reduce the cost of a party's actual expenses.
(6) "Medical support" means health insurance and the payment of the medical expenses of the child.
(7) "Net child care costs" means the reasonable costs of child care incurred by a party due to employment or job search, minus the value of the federal income tax credit for child care.
(8) "Ordinary medical expenses" means unreimbursed medical expenses less than or equal to two hundred fifty dollars per child per year. Expenses include but are not limited to reasonable and necessary costs for orthodontia, dental treatment, asthma treatment, physical therapy, chronic health problems, and professional counseling or psychiatric therapy for diagnosed mental disorders not covered by medical insurance. The schedule of support in R.S. 9:315.19 incorporates ordinary medical expenses.
Louisiana Child Custody & Visitation
Divorce is traumatic for both parents and children. When searching for the right visitation schedule or deciding where and with which parent the children should live, each party should have an attorney who is knowledgeable of the applicable state standards, as well as being sensitive to the concerns of both adults and children. We will help you efficiently reach a fair settlement of these often divisive issues, with the interests of the children and their parents as my number one priority.
Joint Custody: A custody arrangement whereby both parents consult with each other in making major and minor decisions for the children. Such arrangement grants authority to the domiciliary parent to make the major and minor decisions after the consultation. The domiciliary parent?s authority can be challenged on major decisions and overruled by the court.
Shared Custody: Is a subset of joint custody whereby the visitation arrangement is close to 50 percent with each parent. Louisiana Courts have found that 43 percent of the time is not sufficient to create shared custody. A shared custody arrangement requires the usage of a different child support calculation using Worksheet B.
Sole Custody: Is a custody arrangement whereby the parent with sole custody has authority to make the major and minor decisions for the children. Visitation in joint and sole custody matters can often times be similar.
Parenting Coordinator: A family law attorney or mental health professional appointed to assist and determine visitation issues between divorced or divorcing spouses.
Complex Community Property Partitions
Pre-nuptial Matrimonial Agreements
Post-nuptial Matrimonial Agreements
Interstate Child Custody Disputes
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and the Uniform Support Enforcement Act provides the applicable law for these types of disputes.
International Child Custody Disputes
The Hague Convention may provide the applicable law for international disputes.
Louisiana Alimony has two types:
Interim Spousal Support: Is a temporary support that can be awarded a divorcing spouse during and for six months following the granting of the divorce. Interim spousal support can be extended after a showing of good cause. In order to be eligible for interim spousal support a divorcing spouse must meet the requirements of Louisiana Civil Code Article 113 which provides: "Upon motion of a party or when a demand for final spousal support is pending, the court may award a party an interim spousal support allowance based on the needs of that party, the ability of the other party to pay, and the standard of living of the parties during the marriage, which award of interim spousal support allowance shall terminate upon the rendition of a judgment of divorce. If a claim for final spousal support is pending at the time of the rendition of the judgment of divorce, the interim spousal support award shall thereafter terminate upon rendition of a judgment awarding or denying final spousal support or one hundred eighty days from the rendition of judgment of divorce, whichever occurs first. The obligation to pay interim spousal support may extend beyond one hundred eighty days from the rendition of judgment of divorce, but only for good cause shown."
Final Periodic Spousal Support: Is a permanent to semi-permanent spousal support that is subject to subsequent modification and termination by the court due to changes in circumstances or remarriage or cohabitation. A divorcing spouse must be free from fault in the breakup of the marriage in order to be awarded final periodic spousal support. In order to be eligible for interim spousal support a divorcing spouse must meet the requirements of Louisiana Civil Code Article 112 which provides: "[that] The court shall consider all relevant factors in determining the amount and duration of final support. Those factors may include: (1) The income and means of the parties, including the liquidity of such means. (2) The financial obligations of the parties. (3) The earning capacity of the parties. (4) The effect of custody of children upon a party's earning capacity. (5) The time necessary for the claimant to acquire appropriate education, training, or employment. (6) The health and age of the parties. (7) The duration of the marriage. (8) The tax consequences to either or both parties. C. The sum awarded under this Article shall not exceed one-third of the obligor's net income."
Contractual Spousal Support: Is interim or final periodic spousal support that is agreed to by the parties. It is not modifiable by the court except based on the terms of the agreement between the spouses.
More information on Family Law Cases .