LET MY PUPPIES GO!

The Nonhuman Rights Project has sued for the release of chimpanzees from a privately owned zoo in New York on the grounds of illegal detention according to the December 16, 2013 edition of The Weekly Standard. Do animals have rights that must be protected in a divorce? What happens if a beloved pet is the subject of a “custody” dispute? In Louisiana, a dog or cat has no family law rights. Phideaux is property just like a beloved recliner. However, in some cases courts may assign assets to one spouse or the other. If you are worried about custody of your special pet, seek legal advice.

ANCHORS AWAY?

Kris and Bruce Jenner have separated according to the October 21, 2013 edition of US Weekly and divorce seems likely. The anchor of the Kardashian family, the Jenners had no prenuptial agreement. Should you? Your lawyer can advise you of your rights and suggest terms and conditions, but whether you should require your future spouse to contemplate divorce before you are married is a personal decision with both financial and emotional implications.

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METHOD DEALS WITH MADNESS – LOUISIANA INTERDICTION

Dr. Teleka Patrick disappeared December 5, 2013 after tweeting “it’s voices, and I’m crazy”. According to the February 10, 2014 edition of People, she had been suspected of stalking a man she loved. Her bizarre behavior prior to her disappearance pointed to mental illness and perhaps foul play. What do you do when a loved one is engaged in reckless dangerous behavior?

In Louisiana, one alternative is a civil commitment. This process requires the cooperation of the coroner and is only warranted if the person is a risk to himself or others. Another alternative is an emergency interdiction. In either case, you should immediately consult with an attorney concerning what you should do and how quickly. (Photo from @findteleka)

THE BEST PORT IN THE STORM

Nick Silverio is a hero to 206 newborns in Florida. Mr. Silverio has helped them find adoptive homes using Florida’s “safe haven” law according to the February 10, 2014 edition of People. The law enables parents with no way to care for their children to find good homes for them. Louisiana also has a safe haven law. Louisiana parents can leave infants up to 60 days old in the care of a police station, fire station, hospital or other approved location. If you have questions about Louisiana’s safe haven law and cannot afford to consult with an attorney, a web search for Louisiana’s “safe haven” law will take you to a web site that can answer them.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY?

Charlize Theron and Sean Penn are involved in a serious romance according to the February 10, 2014 edition of People. Penn is doing his best to win over Theron’s 2 year old son, Jackson, who takes time “to warm up to strangers”. What if Jackson begins to call Sean “Daddy”? Does Jackson’s father have cause to complain? In Louisiana, divorced parents have an obligation to encourage their children to love and respect the other parent. Encouraging a child to call a lover “Daddy” or “Mommy” could be viewed as a violation of that duty. If you are concerned that your ex is trying too hard to bring a new “mom” or “dad” into your child’s life, you should consult with an attorney.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER OR BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?

Johnny Depp is engaged to a bisexual according to the February 3, 2014 edition of People. If Depp and Amber Heard marry, would a sexual encounter by Heard with a woman entitle Depp to a divorce based on adultery? If they lived in Louisiana, the answer could be yes. If the intent of the contact is to gratify a mutual sexual desire, it is irrelevant that it occurs between two women – or two men. If you think your spouse’s friendship with someone has become erotic, you should consult with a lawyer about your alternatives.

TUG OF LOVE AND WAR

Thirteen year old Mady and Cara Gosselin, stars in Jon & Kate Plus 8, were featured in the January 20, 2014 edition of People. The article and photographs suggest that they are happy and well-adjusted. In the February 3, 2014 edition of US Weekly, however, their father disagrees and, according to a source, “does not want them on TV. Period.” In Louisiana, if parents disagree on such issues, courts must break the tie. If you disapprove of your ex-spouse’s parenting, ask a lawyer about changing things.

THEY GOT THE SHAFT

Decades ago, Alice and Gerald Uden murdered their spouses to be with each other and dumped their corpses in mine shafts according to the February 3, 2014 edition of People. Their crimes were only recently discovered. Do their families have any recourse against them? In Louisiana, survivors of a murdered spouse may be able to revoke gifts made by a victim to the spouse. Cruel treatment, if especially cruel, may enable the injured spouse to reclaim gifts. If you have given your spouse gifts and now find yourself the victim of his or her cruelty, you should consult with a lawyer concerning your rights.

CATCH AND RELEASE

Johnny Depp is engaged for the 5th time according to the February 4, 2014 edition of US Weekly. Depp has said “Marriage is from soul to soul” and to date has married only once and then to Lori Allison, a makeup artist, in 1983. US Weekly does not go into detail about the reasons only one marriage resulted from Depp’s engagements. If you or your fiancé decide to call things off, are you subject to a lawsuit for breach of promise? Not in Louisiana where it is against public policy to threaten litigation to procure a marriage.

PRESCRIPTION FOR DISASTER.

Utah physician Dr. Martin MacNeill has been convicted of murdering his wife according to the December 2, 2013 edition of People. He overmedicated her and drowned her in the family bathtub. The same article reports the arrest of Dr. Robert Ferrante for the murder of his wife with cyanide. What happens to marital property when one spouse has killed the other? Does the murderer keep his or her portion? In Louisiana, the murderer of a spouse does not forfeit his interest in community property but lawsuits by survivors may soon strip that property away from him.