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WHY YOU NEED A POSTNUP IF YOU BECOME A STAY-AT-HOME PARENT

When expecting a child or when their children are still very young, a parent will sometimes make the decision to take some time away from the workplace to stay home and care for the kids. Sometimes, they will move to a job where they can work from home or part-time. Others, if the family can afford it, will take a sabbatical from their career completely.

Usually, it's women who do this. However, men sometimes become stay-at-home parents as well.

If you have a new baby or young children, you're likely not thinking of divorce. However, if you've decided to be a stay-at-home parent, you should give some thought to protecting your financial future if your marriage were to end.

It can be difficult to re-enter the workplace after you've been away for a time. Even if you do, you likely won't be able to get the salary you'd have if you'd remained in your job.

That's why a postnuptial agreement may be a good idea. A postnup is essentially the same thing as a prenuptial agreement. However, it's negotiated and put in place after a couple is married.

With a postnup, a stay-at-home spouse can stipulate that if they divorce, their spouse will fairly compensate them for the amount of money they gave up by being out of the workforce or taking a lower-paying, less time-consuming job so they could focus on caring for the children. This may be done through spousal support or in the divorce settlement itself.

With the help of an experienced family law attorney, you can estimate how much money you're forgoing while you're out of the workforce and how that will impact your earnings potential in the future. They can help you work toward an agreement that will protect you financially in a divorce.

As with a prenup, both partners have to agree to the terms of a postnup. That's why it's important that you and your spouse each have your own attorney involved in the process.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
HOW ARE THE CHILD'S BEST INTERESTS DECIDED DURING A DIVORCE?

Parents are used to believing they know what’s best for their child and they are usually loathe to give up that control, But if parents can’t agree on child custody during a divorce, a judge will hold a custody hearing during which each parent can state his or her arguments for legal and physical custody of the child.

However, it’s not the parents’ wishes that are paramount to the judge. The judge will determine child custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child.

Health, safety and welfare of the child

Although there is no standard definition of “best interests of the child,” factors that are included in determining the child’s best interest include the child’s:

  • Best chance for health, safety and/or protection.

  • Relationship with siblings

  • Need for consistency in education, community and family

  • By age 11, their own wishes

  • Religious and cultural considerations

In addition, the judge will consider both parents’:

  • Ability to provide for the child’s daily physical, emotional, educational and special needs care

  • Ability to provide a stable, nurturing environment

  • Mental and physical health

  • History of drug or alcohol abuse

  • History of physical abuse

  • Criminal charges and convictions

Generally speaking, it’s in the child’s best interest to have a loving, close relationship with both parents. The courts don’t look at one factor but look at a number of factors relating to both the child and parents to determine the custody situation that will create the child’s ultimate happiness and safety.

Visitation, third-party custody

If custody with either parent will result in danger, a judge has the ability to award custody to a third-party – such as an uncle, aunt or grandparent – who has already provided a loving, stable environment for the child.

In addition to visitation rights for the parent who does not have physical custody of the child, the court may also grant visitation rights to another relative if it is in the best interest of the child.

Divorce is a difficult and emotional procedure. It’s hard to separate your feelings from what may be best for your child. To make sure your rights are protected, seek out the advice of a qualified, experienced attorney.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
ARE TRAMPOLINE PARKS UNNECESSARILY DANGEROUS?

Trampoline parks have become a billion-dollar industry. They provide year-round family fun and exercise. Most people come away from their visit exhausted and exhilarated. Some, unfortunately, suffer serious and even fatal injuries.

Jumping on any trampoline can be dangerous. However, in trampoline parks, multiple trampolines are connected by chain links or steel cables. With multiple people of varying sizes and weights jumping on this interconnected equipment simultaneously, the resulting waves of energy create "double bounces."

These can result in serious falls and other incidents. As one former gymnastics coach notes, the people on the trampolines are "moving at speeds and with energy that when they hit or get hit by somebody else that's twice their weight, they end up with crush injuries."

The former coach, who is sometimes called as an expert witness in civil cases against these parks, says, "Everyone in the gymnastic community calls them death parks."

While that may be an overly grim assessment, a recent report by CBS News found that at least six people have suffered fatal injuries in trampoline parks since 2012. The real number could be higher if some of the plaintiffs had to settle their cases in arbitration and sign confidentiality agreements.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the number of people treated in emergency rooms for injuries suffered at trampoline parks rose from 2,500 to nearly 18,000 between 2013 and 2017. Even nonfatal trampoline injuries can be catastrophic -- like broken backs and necks. Some people break or dislocate bones.

The former coach blames the design of these parks -- with trampolines not only interconnected but placed up against walls with only thin padding. Foam pits next to the equipment are often too shallow, he says. He also blames a lack of supervision.

The International Association of Trampoline Parks acknowledges, "There are parks that do not adhere to industry technical standards, and do not operate with safety at the forefront of their agendas." The group says it's working to require inspections of the facilities. State laws vary, and the federal government currently has no oversight of these parks.

If you take your family to a trampoline park, it's essential to carefully read any liability waiver or other document presented to you before you sign it and to keep a copy of it. If you or a loved one suffers an injury, it's wise to explore your legal options.

HOW DO ALCOHOL ISSUES IMPACT CUSTODY DECISIONS?

When courts are called on to make decisions regarding child custody, the overriding consideration is what's in the best interests of the child. Ideally, both parents are able to have some kind of relationship with their children, even if one parent gets primary custody and the other only has visitation privileges. In cases where neither parent is physically and/or emotionally equipped to safely care for a child, a court may award guardianship to a third party, such as a grandparent.

Often, people assume that if a parent has a substance abuse problem such as alcoholism, they can't be awarded custody or even visitation rights. However, that's not necessarily the case. If the parents can't agree on custody and a judge has to decide, they will generally consider how that parent has behaved around their children and if they've done anything to threaten their children's safety or well-being.

If you believe that your co-parent's drinking is placing your children at risk, you'll need to convince the court of that. This is true whether you're seeking custody as you go through a divorce or you believe that your co-parent's drinking has become a greater problem since the original custody order was put in place.

If you're the parent who is facing a potential loss of custody or visitation rights because of your drinking, you can work to show the court and your co-parent that you can be trusted to properly care for your kids when they're with you. That's typically an easier task if you haven't done anything to harm your children or been abusive to them.

Recognizing your problem and seeking treatment are important first steps. Some parents agree to use a remote alcohol monitoring tool. This tool, which is similar to a Breathalyzer, lets people prove that they have no alcohol in their system. Results can be transmitted to the court, the co-parent and/or other designated parties. Some people agree to daily monitoring. Others use the monitoring system only around their parenting times.

Whether you're the parent with alcohol issues or your co-parent is, it's important to understand how alcoholism and other substance abuse issues are factored into custody and parenting time decisions by courts. Your attorney can answer your questions and help you work to seek the parenting arrangement you believe is best for your kids.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
PREPARE CAREFULLY FOR DIVORCE BATTLES IN COURT

While many people are able to go through a divorce without enduring a trial, there are some who must have the court determine the outcome. If you think that you and your ex won't be able to work things out together, you should start to prepare for the possibility of a trial. We know that this might not be a pleasant experience, but we can try to help make things less stressful for you.

It is important for you to determine which decisions will be decided by the court. In many cases, child custody is the contentious matter. But even discussing who will get which assets can be challenging in a bitter divorce. We are here to help you weigh your options and evaluate the possibilities of resolution to your case.

When you are getting ready for the trial, decide which aspects of the divorce are worth fighting for. As an example, you may feel strongly that the children should attend a specific school while your ex might want them to attend another one. By deciding what is important now, you won't have to waste your efforts on unnecessary battles.

Our dedicated legal professionals are here to help you prepare for the trial so that we can present your side of the matter to the court. We want the judge to see why you feel your desires are the ones that should prevail. You may find that you feel more secure in your decisions and that you have less stress as you finish the journey and start your new life.

Orion MeyersFamily Law