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SHOULD I AGREE TO SWAP CUSTODY DAYS WITH MY CO-PARENT?

We understand. Life happens while you're busy making plans. There are always times when it's easier to plead with your co-parent to swap visitation or custody time in order to accommodate scheduling conflicts.

But is this a good thing or an unnecessary burden? For most co-parents, it depends on whether the requests to swap time is reciprocal and frequent. For instance, if one co-parent is often stuck working on a weekend when the kids were scheduled, is the missed time rescheduled or just pushed to the back burner and never made up?

The latter could indicate a lack of commitment to the parenting plan and perhaps even to parenting in general. Although it may not seem fair to demand that the parent choose between their job and their kids, presumably this was an agreement that was sought by the parents at the time of the divorce. As such, it does not deserve to be given short shrift every time a conflict arises.

It can be problematic to insist on frequent custody scheduling deviations because it leaves the other co-parent and often the kids in a void where they may be unsure of the continuity of the parenting agreement. Will Dad really show up on time to exercise visitation or will Mom have to bring the kids back home for an unscheduled weekend? It creates a state of flux when the goal should be status quo security.

With that being said, there is nothing wrong with an occasional tweak to the parenting plan to accommodate a true emergency as opposed to a lack of foresight on the part of your co-parent.

If the problem persists and there is no resolution in sight, it might be time to revisit the issue in the East Baton Rouge Parish family law court by requesting a custody modification.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
STEPS TO CHANGE YOUR LIVING ARRANGEMENT DURING DIVORCE

In some cases, the decision to divorce is made long before couples can actually split. But, in Louisiana, you cannot file for divorce until 180 days after you have been physically separate from them. If you have kids, the waiting period is 365 days.

If you've made the decision to divorce your spouse, but are still living with them, follow these tips to separate as soon as possible.

Choose temporary housing

In the short-term, it might make the most sense to choose an inexpensive, low-commitment housing option, such as in an apartment or with a relative. This way you'll be able to create some space between you and your ex-spouse quickly and easily.

Living with your ex for an extended period of time is unhealthy and may later aggravate your divorce proceedings.

Set a deadline

To ensure that you don't put off finding new living arrangements, set a deadline for yourself. While trying to keep your deadline reasonable, shoot for the soonest possible date.

This will keep you focused on completing the necessary steps for moving, such as creating a budget, looking at available options, setting up tours, sending out applications and finally moving into a new place.

Create a schedule

In the meantime, try to create a schedule that allows you separation from your ex-spouse while living with them. If you can, occupy the apartment only while he or she is at work and vice versa. If the two of you have kids together, work out separate times to transport them to and from school, share meals, etc.

Try to keep communication at a minimum and focus on moving forward.

Reach out for help

Don't try to figure out a new living arrangement all on your own. Reach out to friends and family to help you pack up, move out and take care of the kids.

Then, get help making permanent living arrangements. By working with a skilled attorney, you can make a list of all of the marital assets the divorce will require you to split with your spouse. An experienced lawyer will help you anticipate whether you will be paying or receiving child/spousal support and other expenses you should account for.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
CHANGING THE PARENTING SCHEDULE IS SOMETIMES NECESSARY

Remaining flexible is a big help when you are in the midst of a child custody situation. It is imperative that you follow the rules and guidelines that are set by the parenting plan but being able to adjust those to meet your child's needs can benefit everyone. One area that you might need to alter every now and then is the parenting time schedule.

When you and your ex need to swap out time with the children, the need must be clear. For example, you can't just say that you don't want your children on a weekend they are supposed to be with you because you want them on your ex's weekend unless there is a good reason.

What constitutes a good reason is up to you and your ex. Maybe the reason you need to switch weekends is that you have family coming in from out of town that would like to spend time with the kids or maybe you have tickets to a special event. Having an idea of what can lead to changes in the schedule can make it easier to deal with these.

Another thing to think about is that you need to be flexible if you want your ex to be flexible with you. One parent can't always expect to be the one who bends. That isn't fair, so remember that mutual compromise is a must in these situations.

If you and your ex find that you are switching time often, you might need to reevaluate the schedule. There is a chance that it just isn't right for your needs any longer and that you need to have something else set. Just remember that your children and their needs must come first in these situations.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
DECISIONS MUST BE MADE EVEN IN A CHILDLESS DIVORCE

Family law issues can be complex because they deal with many different lives. This can make it a challenge when you are trying to come up with options to handle various aspects of child custody and divorce. Instead of only having to think about yourself, you might have others to think about. Of course, if you are divorcing and don't have children, you only need to protect your own interests.

We realize that you might need some help figuring out what options you have for negotiating alimony and property division settlements. These discussions must be handled carefully so that you can ensure the choices you make are in your best interests.

Not all divorces include orders for alimony. Typically it is awarded to parties in marriages of long-standing when one of the spouses didn't work and remained at home caring for the house and/or kids. In these cases, there might be some sort of spousal support ordered to provide financial backing while the receiving spouse eases back into the workforce. We can review your case to help you learn what might be possible.

You also need to think about how property division might affect your finances. It might be difficult for you to think about money right now because you may be accustomed to having your ex's income to help pay for things. Since you don't have this any longer, you need to set up a budget based on only your income.

We realize that you might have some questions right now. We can work with you to help you learn how you can protect your interests during the divorce process.

Orion MeyersFamily Law
KNOW SOME POSSIBLE TYPES OF CONSTRUCTION DEFECTS

Construction defects are a problem that home and business owners hope they never have to deal with. These issues can make the structure they've paid so much for and spent so much time waiting on unusable. This is horrible since it devalues the project.

Some construction defects are against the contract that governs the project. This is when you have recourse that might be able to help you get things corrected. When you have an issue with a building process, your first stop needs to be that contract so you can find out what you need to do.

There are several types of defects that you need to be aware of when you are evaluating your project. Some of these defects are easier to spot than others. In fact, some might not be able to be found for months or years after the project is completed.

Some examples of construction defects include:

  • Unstable foundation that might be caused by lack of proper geological survey

  • Electrical issues that are a fire hazard

  • Water intrusion that can lead to mold, including toxic mold

  • Problems with things like the glass, doors and windows

  • Mechanical issues that make part of the home undesirable or unusable

  • Improper protection from moisture and temperatures

  • Design defects that don't take function and aesthetics into account

  • Material defects that use inferior products in the structure

In all of these cases, you need to have the problem corrected so that you have full use of the property as intended. Finding the methods to do this can be complex, especially when the contractor isn't willing to admit that they are liable for the issues.