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Baton Rouge Family And Business Law Blog

How is the new tax law impacting alimony?

When the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed in late 2017, much of the focus was on what tax breaks would be available. Unfortunately, for high-asset couples, the law’s implementation on January 1, 2019 also brings some changes to alimony that could complicate divorces.

Over the past several decades, alimony was considered taxable income for those who receive it and could be written off by those who pay it. Now, for any divorce finalized after December 31, 2018, alimony payers will have to include those funds in their income taxes while recipients can write them off.

What is a limited liability company?

Residents of Baton Rouge who are interested in starting a business must chose a legal form for that business. In doing so, they are immediately confronted with a confusing array of business law abbreviations, including, "corp.," "inc." and "llc." They may also come across terms such as partnership and limited partnership. What does it all mean?

Each word or abbreviation refers to a particular type of legal entity that can be used for organizing and operating a business. "Corp." refers to a business corporation, the most complex form of business organization. "Inc." also refers to a business corporation. Limited partnerships are a form of partnership in which some partners do not have general liability for the partnership; these entities are most commonly used for real estate developments. Each form of organization has different advantages and disadvantages, depending on the nature of the business that is being organized.

What is a "103 divorce" in Louisiana?

Many residents of Baton Rouge have heard the term "103 divorce," but few of them understand the meaning of the phrase. The phrase refers to the section of the Louisiana Civil Code that specifies the most commonly used grounds for divorce. The section has special relevance for couples that have experienced domestic violence.

In order to obtain a no-fault divorce, that is, a divorce that is not based upon the misconduct of one of the spouses, the parties must have been living separately prior to the filing of the petition for at least 180 days if they have no minor children and for 365 days if they have minor children. The minimum time period is waived if one spouse has committed adultery or has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or hard labor.

Are non-compete agreements enforceable in Louisiana?

Over the last two or three decades, non-compete agreements have become a common feature of employment contracts in almost every state. Many states, including Louisiana, have statutes that strictly define the terms and conditions under which such agreements can be enforced. The enforceability of such agreements has become an important issue in business law.

Factors affecting the award of alimony in Louisiana

When two people decide to end their marriage, one of the earliest questions is whether either spouse is eligible to receive alimony payments from the other. Many residents of Baton Rouge have asked this question, and rarely have they received a short, specific answer. The reason for the lack of definitive answers is the number of factors that must be considered by the court in answering the question.

The first criterion is whether the spouse requesting alimony has been at fault during the marriage. Fault will act as an immediate limitation on the right to receive support from the other spouse. If the requesting party has not been at fault, the court is required to consider "all relevant factors in determining the amount and duration of final support."

Can adultery impact your divorce proceedings?

Louisiana is a state that allows couples to file for divorce on both fault and no-fault grounds. It can play a big part in how the court determines how the marital assets are divided. If one party caused the separation by getting arrested or committing domestic abuse, then the court is likely to side with the other spouse under most circumstances.

Adultery is another common, reasonable ground for divorce. However, unlike domestic violence or committing the felony, it is not against the law to be unfaithful to your partner. Regardless, many cheaters believe that their chances of getting anything above equitable sharing are gone when their spouse uses their adulterous actions against them in the court. While it is not an impossibility that the court may side with your spouse if you cheat on them, how much you get out of the divorce will ultimately depend on the circumstances surrounding your affairs.

In what ways may child support be used to care for a child?

In Louisiana, most parents in a divorce context are awarded joint custody of their minor children.  "Joint custody" means that each parent must have "frequent and continuing contact" with their minor children.  Child support is awarded to the parent deemed the "domiciliary" parent, or the parent with whom the child stays the most, unless there is an award of equal or nearly equal "shared custody."  It is important for Louisiana residents to know what child support is and what it may be used for in the context of providing for a child.

Child support may be established through an agreement between a child's parents or through a court order. It is generally based on certain factors that may include the incomes of the child's parents, the number of other dependents that the parents must support and the special needs of the child who will benefit from the award of support. It can be used to provide a child with their needs or it may be used for extra expenses and costs.

Avoiding contract disputes with sound drafting of documents

Our readers may have had the experience of discussing plans with another person only to walk away believing that they were in agreement about their intentions, but later to find out that they had different expectations for their strategies. For example, two people may agree that they will purchase an item together, and while one person may believe that they will share equally in the cost of the purchase, the other person may believe that they will be providing less of an investment in their joint purchase.

The issues that can appear in informal agreements like these can appear in more formal documents, such as business contracts. When ambiguity, confusion, and unclear terms clutter the negotiations and drafting of such contracts, the end results can be hard to interpret. These flawed agreements can leave the signing parties with different expectations about what each will do with regard to their performance obligations.

What will happen to your property when you divorce?

Louisiana residents may not give a lot of thought to how the ownership if their property is structured when they are in a happy and committed marriage. For example, if their family home keeps a roof over their head they may not have concerns over whose name is on the deed. However, how property is owned and when it is acquired can have an impact on its ownership and how it will be treated if a couple decides to go through a divorce.

Different states follow different property laws, and Louisiana residents who are divorcing will be subject to the state's "community property" laws for marital property. First, property may be considered separate or marital. Separate property is property that is owned by one marital partner and is not converted to marital property through use. Martial property is the property that individuals acquire once they are wed and martial property in Louisiana is considered community property.

Different structures may serve different business needs

The decision to start a business is a big one and can have drastic legal and financial implications on the rest of a person's life. That is because if a business is not set up correctly, any liability that the business incurs can directly impact the financial health of the individual who was responsible for the start-up. For this reason, it can benefit Louisiana residents to get the help of business law attorneys when they are preparing to select the appropriate business structures for their new entities.

Businesses can take on different formats, from sole proprietorships to corporations. For example, a sole proprietorship is a business that is closely tied to the personal liability of the person who opened the entity for business. A corporation is a business that is fully its own legal entity and leaves little to no connection to its original founders.

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