Commedia e’ Finita -How A Pending Divorce Affects Your Estate Planning

Very sad woman suffers and struggles because of infidelity. Girl feeling sad, depressed, grief. Distraught woman is very upset and holding gold wedding ring.

Robin Williams’ tragic suicide on August 11, 2014 shocked the country. Unlike a long illness, a sudden death often finds the survivors unprepared. This can be particularly true if the deceased leaves behind a former spouse, a surviving spouse, and children of two or more marriages or relationships.

One of the most important things a Louisiana resident can do in planning for divorce is to discuss with his lawyer what would happen to his death benefits if he dies before his divorce and property settlement are finalized. Married couples often have life insurance on each other’s lives or on the life of the breadwinner. Most have designated each other as primary beneficiary and named children as alternate beneficiaries. Your divorce attorney can tell you how a pending divorce affects your estate planning under Louisiana law.

As part of your pre-divorce planning, you should review your life insurance policies and make sure that your designated beneficiaries are the ones you want to receive the proceeds. Likewise, as you think about how to divide your marital property, consider the impact on survivors if you and a former spouse continue to co-own real estate such as the former family home. Discuss with your lawyer what happens to your 401K if you die before you retire and before it has been partitioned in your property settlement. Divorce and death have things in common. Be prepared to face both of them.

Divorce and Disarmament -Louisiana Divorce Law and Claims of Abuse

Conflict couple. Problems in family. Divorce between man and woman

“Domestic violence” has a homey ring to it. How bad can it be if it is domestic?

Crimes of violence committed in a home by one partner or family member against another may appear to be less reprehensible than similarly brutal crimes committed on the street by one stranger against another. Cruelty, anger, jealousy, and resentment often fester within families. Perhaps we instinctively understand why those dark emotions occasionally explode into physical abuse.

The law has long recognized a distinction between murder in cold and murder in hot blood. Nevertheless, domestic violence is a crime. In Louisiana divorce law, it is soon to be a ground for the victim to obtain an immediate divorce. The perpetrator loses more than just a marriage. He or she can be banned from possessing a firearm for ten years.

If your spouse has accused you of domestic violence, see a lawyer immediately. Do not try to represent yourself and do not agree to an order that you are an abuser without legal counsel. You may find yourself sitting in a deer stand with pebbles and a slingshot.

Before You Tell Her to Hit the Tabacco Road Know Louisiana Divorce Law

Young woman smoking electronic cigarette (ecigarette), isolated on white

Cigarette advertisements are banned from television and radio but continue to appear in magazines.

A “Blue Camel” “taste it all” advertisement appears in the August 4, 2014 edition of US Weekly.

Although smoking’s connection to lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema are well documented, many people still smoke and many others begin to do so every day.

In Louisiana divorce law, what if you divorce a spouse with a serious health condition brought on by years of voluntary addiction to something that is not good for her? If she is free from fault in the break-up of your marriage, you may be obligated to pay permanent spousal support. Can you argue that you should not have to continue to support her because she was the one who decided to smoke, to drink, or to weigh 250 pounds?

None of those conditions are ordinarily considered the kind of cruel treatment that justifies one spouse’s decision to abandon the other. However, if an addiction to alcohol, food, or nicotine results in the spouse’s inability to honor the legal obligations that marriage entails, it may rise to the level of legal fault.   These are difficult issues for courts to decide and their resolution depends heavily on the facts. You should consult with a lawyer before you decide to leave a husband or wife whose fault consists of bad habits.

Is a Crazy Tattoo Cruel Treatment and Grounds for Divorce in Louisiana

An image of a man drawing adornment on woman’s arm

Adrienne Ballon is removing Rob Kardashian’s name from her right buttock according to the August 4, 2014 edition of US Weekly. Mr. Kardashian had already removed her name from his rib-cage.

What do you do if your spouse comes home one Saturday night sporting a tattoo of his favorite endangered species on his forehead?

Can you divorce him on the grounds that you would not have given him a second look had he been sporting a snail darter on his face when you first met?

In divorce law, one spouse’s post-marital ink is not grounds for divorce in Louisiana. If the tattoo is outrageous, it might be considered cruel treatment. Cruel treatment justifies one spouse’s decision to leave the marital domicile and can have consequences in a battle over alimony.

A tattoo can affect employability. If a parent undergoes a tattoo that results in his or her loss of employment, a court might refuse to reduce child support on the grounds that the tattoo’d parent was voluntarily underemployed. All couples, with children or not, should remember that their lives are not their own anymore. The use and misuse of their bodies have legal consequences.

[N]everlasting Love –What You Need to Know About Louisiana Divorce Law

Unhappy Hispanic girlfriend with boyfriend using laptop

Jay Z and Beyonce may be “headed for breakup” according to the August 11, 2014 edition of US Weekly. The couple’s public appearances contradict what insiders describe as “their marital problems”.

This phenomenon is a common one as marriages crumble. It can have important consequences in the ensuing divorce proceedings. “He said” “she said” exchanges do not provide courts with the preponderance of evidence that they need to break a tie when the facts are disputed. If fault is an issue in a Louisiana divorce proceeding, independent witnesses provide the most convincing proof of whose bad behavior caused the dissolution of the marriage. But independent witnesses may be impossible to find if a couple has kept all of its dirty laundry hidden in a closet in the basement.

If you see your marriage headed for the rocks, you would be wise to think about how you will prove that your spouse is the one steering the ship in that direction. Consider searching for andpreserving evidence of:

  • Improper Purchases
  • Emails
  • Texts
  • Tweets

Sometimes a private investigator is a good investment. Most importantly, discuss your concerns with a Louisiana divorce lawyer.


From Love Nest to Infest… Complications When Moving and Divorce

View of a Young man depressed while his moving out his flat

Courteney Cox, of Cougartown fame, has allowed her fiance’, Johnny McDaid, to move into her Malibu house according to the July 14, 2014 edition of People.  In that same edition, People reports the story of the “nightmare nanny” who won’t leave the home of the family who hired her to care for their children.  The family must now evict her which, in California, is “quite a lengthy process”.

Suppose your lover moves in with you in the house you’ve owned (or rented) for years but then refuses to leave when he tires of you?

What happens if your spouse refuses to leave your home even though the two of you are no longer a couple?

In Louisiana, the answer to the question will depend on the facts of your relationship – not the romantic one – but the other one, the legal one.

Was your lover paying part of the rent?

Was he helping with expenses in exchange for living in your house?

Does your husband or wife have the ability to move elsewhere?

Are there children involved?

Whether you are the evicter or the evictee, you need to speak with a lawyer about your rights once the romance is over and you are ready for a divorce.

Can You Forgive and Not Forget – Divorce for Adultery in Louisiana

Conceptual photo of a marital infidelity

In Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlett Letter, Hester Prynne was forced to wear a scarlett letter “A” for adultery on her breast. She and Pearl, the child born of her relationship with the man who was not her husband, were shunned by her neighbors.

Adultery no longer carries the stigma of old but in Louisiana it does entitle the person who was betrayed to a divorce without a waiting period. Adultery does not mandate divorce, however, it only permits it. A wronged spouse may decide to reconcile with the adulterer.

A decision to reconcile has important legal consequences. Reconciliation will prevent the wronged spouse from using the adultery for a quick divorce if he or she later has a change of heart. If your spouse has committed adultery and you are trying to decide what, if anything, to do about it, you should speak with a lawyer immediately.


Your Spouse has Skeletons in the Closet. Is that a Reason for Divorce?

Lea Michele’s new boyfriend reportedly has a scandalous past.  Matthew Paetz, according to the June 30, 2014 edition of US Weekly, was a $350 per hour Cowboys4Angels escort.

What can you do if your new husband (or wife) is not the person you thought they were?

Is that grounds or reason for divorce?

Louisiana, like many other states, does not condition divorce on fault.  If you are disappointed in love, you may simply live apart for a fixed period of time.  That period of separation entitles you to divorce no matter how good or bad your soon to be “ex” was before marriage.  Although a divorce may be relatively easy to obtain, however, marriage has legal consequences.  Before you leap, take a close look at your companion.  Make sure your infatuation is more than just skin deep.

No Marriage and No Giving in Marriage – Divorce After 50

senior couple divorce

In response to questions by the Pharisees concerning who would be the husband of a woman who married multiple times once all were dead and in heaven, Jesus replied that in heaven there is no marriage and no giving in marriage. This may surprise some people who think that love is eternal whether you want it to be or not. However, it may be a relief for those who can endure this life with their spouse but not the next.

Some older couples are making sure it will not be a problem by acting in the here and now. According to The Advocate’s May 20, 2014 edition, the 50 and over divorce rate increased from 10% in 1990 to 25% in 2010. No matter what is driving the increase in divorce among couples who are older, such marriages present issues different from those presented by marriages of relatively short duration. Older couples often have no minor children and therefore no disputes involving custody or support. However, such couples have often accumulated a fair amount of wealth in the form of retirement benefits, cash savings, investments, and real estate.

As couples age and concerns over financial stability increase, fights about the division of property can be as acrimonious as those about children. Consult with a lawyer sooner rather than later about how best to prepare for the transition from married to divorced middle age.

Dial M for Marriage – How to Discover the Truth During Divorce

Couple mad at each other against a white background

According to an article in the May 23, 2014 edition of The Advocate, a California man has been arrested for kidnapping and raping his former lover’s 15 year old daughter.  He forced the girl to marry him by threatening to expose her illegal status to the authorities.

She tried to escape twice and he brutally beat her.  His defense lawyer is quoted as saying:

“Like all married people and like all couples, people break up and sometimes … say things that aren’t true.”

Neighbors who were interviewed and knew the family found the woman’s story “hard to believe”.

Where married relationships are concerned it is often difficult to find the truth among the lies that each partner tells.  You can help your divorce lawyer ascertain that truth by providing a detailed account of the history leading up to your separation.  A good way to do this is to write down the facts in chronological order.  A written history in your own words that your lawyer can read after you have left the office can be a better reference than the notes he takes while you are talking.  Before your first meeting, ask if your lawyer would like you to bring a narrative of the facts.