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THREE FREE APPS THAT CAN HELP CO-PARENTS COORDINATE SCHEDULES

Sticking to you and your children’s schedules is tough enough during the school year, but add in a divorce and coordinating schedules may be even more complicated than usual. On top of after-school activities, play dates and school obligations, you may need to keep track of who it is that’s picking up your children, who will attend sports games and dance recitals, and where the kids will sleep at night.

As if simply keeping track of everybody’s busy schedules wasn’t work enough, you may also feel expected to remind everyone else what their plan is too. It’s one thing to remind your kids about the day’s schedule, but it’s probably not at the top of your list to touch base with your ex every day to solidify the details of your schedule. Fortunately, there are a ton of tech tools available to you that can help alleviate your schedule coordination madness.

Some of the top free apps for that help streamline scheduling include:

  • Google Calendar

  • Cozi

  • SquareHub

Sometimes a simple tool is all that you need

Although Google Calendar may be the least flashy app on the list, its minimalism and simplicity help make it one of the most effective tools for scheduling. Google Calendar allows you to make your own calendar and share editing permissions with other members, like your ex-spouse, so you can both make necessary changes to it without requiring communication. You’ve even got the ability to make more than one calendar to organize different types of events in your life. For example, you can keep things organized by setting up one calendar for your custody schedule and another for your children’s activities.

Having everything in one place has its advantages

Among other features, Cozi allows you to include each family member’s events in one color-coded calendar. Each family member can have access to the same calendar, so everyone will be well versed on the day’s events. You can even plug in reminders for important events and tasks. The Cozi app also allows you to store lists, such as grocery lists, to-do lists or packing lists— fully customized to your life.

Older children may want more involvement with scheduling

If you have older children in their teens, you may prefer an app that allows more fluid communication and multiple contributors. SquareHub is a private social network app that you can design just for your family. It allows each member to send messages to each other, coordinate and view schedules, and share photos. The app seamlessly brings all of this to one place. It is designed to be safe for children, and even includes a “check-in” feature so you can know your kids are safe, no matter where they are.

Managing schedules can be difficult during the school year when everyone in the family is busy. It can be even more challenging when divorce has caused changes to your family’s normal routines. However, a clever app may be able to help you get organized. If you find a system that works for your situation, it may help your whole family stay on track throughout the school year.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
CONSTRUCTION LAW: EFFECTIVE ARBITRATION CLAUSES FOR YOUR CONTRACT

Arbitration is not just a good alternative to traditional litigation in construction law disputes; it is often a mandatory requirement in Louisiana. Many business owners involved in building a new office or headquarters do not plan for an arbitrated solution. As such, they may not have an arbitration clause in their construction contracts. These clauses are essential for both sides in a construction law dispute.

Those who have not yet experienced a contract or other commercial dispute have time to add arbitration clauses to their contracts. In the interests of helping business owners in the Baton Rouge area, the following section contains several examples of effective arbitration clauses.

  • Who can arbitrate: This clause decides if one party or both parties get to determine if arbitration is necessary.

  • When to arbitrate: Without a clause detailing when arbitration should occur (as close to the time of dispute as possible), wronged parties might have to wait until the completion of the project to seek a solution.

  • How to arbitrate: Adding this clause to your construction contract allows you or the other parties to choose a forum for arbitration. Examples of such forums include the American Arbitration Association and the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service. The right forum might make a difference in the outcome of your arbitration attempts.

  • If a court can review the arbitration: Adding an option for a court review can ensure that the results of arbitration comply with the state's substantive construction law elements.

If you need assistance drafting or rewriting construction law contracts to include the appropriate clauses, please consult with an attorney. This has the added benefit of ensuring that your construction contracts provide you and your business with sound legal protections.

Orion MeyersConstruction Law
WHAT IS A PARENTING COORDINATOR?

Parenting effectively through divorce and other family law issues is hard! Parents and children alike need all the help they can get during times of adversity. Parenting coordination fills a need that many Baton Rouge parents do not even know that they have, but what is it exactly?

If you are getting a divorce or already divorced, you are likely very familiar with conflict. It plagues split families relentlessly, often lasting well into a child's early adulthood or even their entire lives. Parenting coordination answers the need for stability, peace and cooperation between parents. As a non-confidential process centered on the children, coordination helps children by helping parents in conflict-filled family situations.

A parenting coordinator is an unbiased third-party--usually a legal or mental health professional--trained to assist in high-conflict parental relationships. One of the main goals of parenting coordination is helping families put parenting plans into place and then abiding by the terms of these plans. Coordinators also help in other ways, including:

  • Educating co-parents about children

  • Monitoring the behavior of each parent

  • Helping parents resolve their disputes

  • Making suggestions or recommendations

The list above is far from exhaustive as parental coordinators often help parents address serious family law issues as well. Examples include psychological assessments for children and substance abuse testing for parents and/or children.

Most co-parents in Louisiana will never need a parental coordinator. However, if you hear this term in a family law court, it is probably a good idea to ask an attorney for guidance. Anything that can help children survive a divorce with their emotional and mental health intact is always worth pursuing.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF A COVENANT MARRIAGE?

In Louisiana and other states, many couples are choosing to enter into a covenant marriage. In a nutshell, this family law term means that couples promise to remain married forever. While most people intend marriage to last forever anyway, how does a covenant marriage even work?

According to the state's Department of Health, couples must agree to two significant provisions when choosing a covenant marriage.

  • The parties make a legal agreement to pursue counseling if their marriage begins to deteriorate

  • The spouses may only seek to divorce or separate legally for specific and limited reasons such as abuse, adultery or abandonment

The impetus behind these unions is to preserve the covenant of marriage, which has suffered greatly in recent decades with so many marriages ending in divorce. However, it is wise for couples to learn as much as possible about covenant marriages before entering into one. The following pros and cons of such unions can help you decide if it is the right choice for you.

  • Pro: Requires pre-marital counseling, which can help couples avoid relationship issues that might arise

  • Pro: Strengthens the bonds between all members of the family

  • Pro: Agreeing to take marriage preservation steps in the face of adversity can make a marriage stronger

  • Con: It is typically more difficult to get a divorce

  • Con: Some consider these unions "too religious" in nature

  • Con: The difficulty in divorcing can pose financial hardships for each spouse

Before agreeing to a covenant marriage, it is wise to explore the matter further by speaking with a family law attorney. With sound legal guidance, you can avoid ending up in an unsatisfactory relationship from which it is hard to break away.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
DOES SIGNING AN INJURY LIABILITY WAIVER MEAN YOU CAN NEVER SUE?

Many different types of entities in Louisiana use liability waivers to prevent victims from taking legal action after suffering an injury. For example, a tattoo parlor may require patrons to sign a waiver so that they cannot sue the parlor if a serious infection occurs. Other examples of businesses and companies that use liability waivers include the following.

  • Tour operators

  • Schools

  • Campgrounds

  • Amusement parks

  • Ski resorts

  • Equipment rental companies

  • Skydiving operators

In many cases, the liability waiver you sign may not prevent you from pursuing a personal injury claim. However, these waivers do seem to limit claims simply because injured parties believe the waiver will not permit a legal solution. Fortunately, there are ways a liability waiver may fail as legal protection against injury claims.

All liability: Forms that waive all liability are often unenforceable because courts find them too broad and nonspecific.

Reckless or intentional acts: Waivers that force you to sign away your legal rights in the face of a reckless activity may not hold up in court.

Waivers involving children: In some locations, parents cannot sign away an entity's responsibility if a child suffers an injury during an outing or event. For example, if you sign a waiver for your child's school-sponsored field trip, you can probably still seek a legal remedy if your child is injured.

Always read liability waivers in full before you sign them. If you or a loved one suffers an injury, take the waiver and your account of the incident to an attorney for guidance on the legal options that are at your disposal.

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Orion Meyers