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Did this child custody case rest on parental IQ levels?

Faced with a custody battle, many Louisiana residents prepare to argue over visitation schedules, decision-making responsibilities and matters of financial support. In some cases, however, a child custody fight is between the parents and state authorities. An example is found in the case of a couple from the Pacific Northwest who have lost custody of their children based on concerns about their intellect. That matter has led to debate across the nation about the limits of state authority in determining who should and should not be parents.

The case centers on a couple who lost their newborn son before they could even take him home from the hospital. According to state authorities, both parents have mental limitations that could impact their ability to provide a safe home for a child. Their older son, who is nearly five years of age, was also taken from their care just after his birth.

Adding an ethical will to the estate planning approach

When most people think about creating their estate plan, they focus on the more practical aspects. They may consider how to draft their will, whether to set up a trust, or how to structure a power of attorney. Little thought is given to the more emotional aspects of estate planning, but those are the details that often mean the most to those left behind when a Louisiana resident passes away.

Of course it is important to address the distribution of assets after one's death. Drafting a will is a good place to begin. A health care power of attorney offers the ability to designate one or more people to handle medical decision-making in the event that an individual is incapacitated. Trusts can be an excellent way of avoiding high taxation on inherited wealth, and are a good fit for many families.

Factoring Fido into the estate planning process

Many Louisiana residents spend a great deal of time thinking about how to pass accumulated assets down to the next generation. They spend almost no time, however, planning how their pet will be cared for in the event of the owner's incapacitation or death. Pet care can and should be included in the estate planning process, so that a loved cat, dog or other pet will be properly cared for when the time comes.

The first thing to consider is who will care for the animal. That is not always a simple or easy decision to make. Very often, the person who is tasked with handling the financial aspects of an estate plan is not the best choice to take on the care of an animal. When considering options, be sure to speak with potential caregivers prior to making a decision, so that they are not blindsided if they are called into action.

4 ways to move through a Louisiana divorce

Once a Louisiana couple has decided to end their marriage, the next step to consider is which approach to take to reach that goal. There are a number of different ways to process a divorce, each with a unique set of pros and cons. The following information is provided in the hopes of helping Louisiana spouses choose a path that meets their unique set of needs.

One option is for spouses to simply sit down and hammer out the details of their divorce on their own. This option is certainly the least expensive, but it also affords neither party the benefit of legal counsel. Attorneys serve a multitude of purposes that extend beyond courtroom battles. Having a trusted legal advisor can make a world of difference when negotiating various divorce options.

Tips on divorce from a narcissistic or psychopathic spouse

Many Louisiana spouses feel that their partner is mentally unstable, or perhaps suffering from a personality disorder. For a few unlucky spouses, however, that assessment is more than just a joke or an exaggeration. Narcissists and psychopaths are not as uncommon as many people would like to believe, and many of them are married. Moving through a divorce with one of these people can be an absolute nightmare, and requires a special approach.

The field of psychiatry defines a narcissist as an individual who has an excessive focus on and an inflated opinion of oneself. A psychopath is an individual who has violent social tendencies. One of the most powerful things that a spouse can do when divorcing a person with either of these disorders is to disengage with that individual.

Grandparents receive bolstered child custody rights in one state

Virtually every Louisiana resident is aware of at least one family where the grandparents have stepped in to provide care for their grandchildren when the parents are unable to do so. Very often, this outcome is the result of drug or alcohol abuse, and part of ongoing stress and trauma within the family. Those grandparents often have a very tenuous position when it comes to child custody rights.

One state has addressed this issue with a new law that gives grandparents preference in certain child custody cases. When a child is removed from the care of a parent due to drug or alcohol abuse, grandparents are given a preferred status when seeking placement for the children. That move can help families provide a stable environment for kids who desperately need that stability, and could help many children avoid entering the foster care system.

How good parenting can improve child custody cases

For most Louisiana parents, losing daily access to their children is a thought that is difficult to bear. For some, however, a divorce and child custody schedule will lead to a change in the level of access that a parent has to his or her children. In the event that a child custody case is necessary, there are ways that parents can position themselves for a positive outcome.

Fortunately, those same preparation efforts are also conducive to being a good parent, regardless of whether one is preparing for divorce or happily married. One of the most important things that parents can do to improve their relationship with their child is to take an active role in the child's life. That means being present both physically and emotionally.

Child custody woes for father of Serena and Venus Williams

For Louisiana tennis fans, few names are more recognizable than those of Serena and Venus Williams. The sisters have been a sensation in the world of tennis for many years, and serious fans know that their father, Richard Williams, is credited with helping them to reach their astounding potential. Richard Williams is currently facing what is shaping up to be a contentious child custody battle over his youngest child, who is a step-sibling to Serena and Venus.

In divorce paperwork, Richard Williams makes multiple claims about his wife, including that she abandoned both him and the child when the relationship faltered. He claims that she struggles with alcohol addiction, and that she has moved in with an individual who is facing felony criminal charges and could pose a risk to the child. He is asking the court to grant him custody, so that the child can continue to live in his home and attend the same preschool.

Family law: Louisiana parents may need to work on communication

Once two people have children together, they are connected for the rest of their lives. While this notion may bring joy to some people, it may come as a more difficult idea to grasp when a once happy marriage turns into a situation warranting divorce. However, parents remain parents even if they do not remain husband and wife, and therefore, Louisiana residents may want to work toward avoiding certain custody and other family law issues.

One major problem that can occur after divorce is that parents no longer want to speak to one another. If the marriage ended particularly badly, each parent may hope to never even see the other person again. However, when children are involved, that idea is likely not a realistic scenario.

Elder law questions do not have to halt Louisiana estate planning

Estate planning can be an intimidating process. Many Louisiana residents may easily become overwhelmed by the idea of dealing with assets, beneficiaries, long-term care plans and the other numerous life considerations that can go into elder law planning. However, parties do have options for seeking assistance and feeling less apprehensive about the prospect of creating a plan.

Commonly, individuals have trouble even knowing where to begin when they need to create an estate plan. Though they may feel as if they lack the proper knowledge on they process, they might not even know what questions to ask in order to gain the information they need. A good starting point for many people is addressing assets. Asking what property needs the most protection and what options are available for protecting them may help parties get a better idea of what tools could prove most useful to them.

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