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Baton Rouge Family And Business Law Blog

Enforcing an order for support in another state

People in Baton Rouge who have endured the emotional upheaval of the divorce process often assume that the entry of the court order terminating the marriage will also terminate the stress of the divorce. Even if life becomes calmer for all parties, unforeseeable events can play a role in causing significant post-divorce anxiety. One of the most common events is the relocation of one ex-spouse to another state. Such a move can result in tardy or non-existent support payments, regardless of which spouse moves. The Louisiana Legislature has enacted a law intended to limit the anxiety of such events.

The statute is called the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act. The statute has been enacted by all states, and it provides uniform procedures for enforcing child and spousal support orders across state lines. The act governs obtaining an order for spousal or child support, enforcement or modification of such an order, the assertion of jurisdiction over the spouse who has moved and the determination of paternity. The act sets out rules for determining which state has personal jurisdiction over the parties and also establishes deadlines for filing motions and responses.

What is a limited liability company in Louisiana?

Louisiana businesses have a variety of organizational forms that can be used, depending on the purpose of the business and its capital structure. Partnerships and corporations were once the principal forms used by most businesses, while certain real estate projects used limited partnerships. The major purpose of all of these entities was to attract capital and limit the risk of investments. Each form was useful, but each also had drawbacks. The corporate form proved too cumbersome, and partnerships could not be organized to limit investor liability. In 1992, the Louisiana legislature followed the lead of other states and passed a statute that allowed formation of limited liability companies.

Limited liability companies were intended to use the best features of both corporations and partnerships. A LLC is formed by filing articles of organization with the secretary of state. An LLC can virtually have an unlimited number of members, as long as one member is designated the manager. The articles of formation usually identify the first manager and the first board of managers. After the articles are filed, the members usually adopt a set of by-laws that remain confidential. The articles specify which individuals will actually manage the business of the LLC and specify the voting requirements for electing new managers. The by-laws also specify the method for adding new members, i.e., investors.

Protecting a small business in a divorce in Louisiana

For many entrepreneurs in Baton Rouge, their business is their principal asset. It may have more value than a residence or a couple's personal property. Yet, very few business owners take concrete steps to protect their business in the event of a divorce. The state's community property laws make such planning virtually mandatory.

If the business was started before the owner got married, the business is treated as a personal asset and not community property. However, income earned by the business and any appreciation in value during the marriage is community property. If the business was started after the couple married, it will be treated as community property. If the owner gets divorced, their ownership interest may be divided between the two spouses. The future of the company will be subject to much uncertainty.

Lawsuit aimed at removing judicial immunity for law clerks

Any lawyer who has tried a lawsuit in Louisiana can testify to the fact that much of the work done by the judges is, in reality, performed by law clerks under the judges' supervision. This close relationship is now under attack in a business lawsuit that dates back to 2015, in which the plaintiff is asserting that law clerks are not shielded by judicial immunity in the same way that judges are.

In this lawsuit, the plaintiff claims that the defendant, a law clerk, willfully concealed papers that he filed and the judges willfully concealed her actions. The original lawsuit was an action between the plaintiff and his former business partner. Because all of the judges in the Fourth Judicial District were named as parties, the Louisiana Supreme Court assigned the case to a retired judge for all proceedings. The judge ruled that the plaintiff's suit had no merit, to both the law clerk and the judges of the Fourth District. In upholding the clerk's claim of immunity, the judge observed that "what law clerks do is what judges do."

How to kick off a business in Louisiana

Most entrepreneurs start as dreamers. They imagine what it would be like to design the ultimate product or start a business that turns into a worldwide corporation. But the difference between dreamers and entrepreneurs is entrepreneurs take action with their ideas.

However, starting a business is a daunting task especially for new entrepreneurs. Most owners learn more about the process as they move through each step, and there are tips to make starting a company easier for anyone:

What happens to a business in a Louisiana divorce?

No one plans to get a divorce, but ending a marriage is common. About half the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. As a business owner, you might have asked your spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement to protect the business. Or you could have drawn up a partnership agreement with a buy/sell clause that protects your soon-to-be ex from taking over the business.

If you did not take any of these measures, do not panic. You still have ways to protect your business during a divorce.

Can child and spousal support debts be discharged in bankruptcy?

Life often presents us with many head-slapping moments and the question "Why didn't I think of that earlier?" One of those questions, most frequently asked after a divorce proceeding is complete, is whether obligations for spousal support and child support can be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. This question most often arises when an ex-spouse wants to torment their former spouse by threatening to file a bankruptcy petition. Fortunately for ex-spouses entitled to receive either alimony or child support, these debts cannot be discharged.

The United States Bankruptcy Code lists a number of debts that cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. Examples include debts obtained through fraud, along with state and federal taxes. Also on the list of non-dischargeable debts is debts for domestic support obligations. The bankruptcy code defines a domestic support obligation as any debt that is owed to or recoverable by a spouse, former spouse or child of the debtor or by the child's parent, legal guardian or responsible relative.

Ownership of Saints' rallying cry "Two Dat" disputed in court

National Football League teams provide their owners and, occasionally, their fans with many opportunities to profit from the teams' images in their respective communities. Back in 2010, when the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl championship, fans were chanting the slogan "Who Dat?" to show their support for the team. As the Super Bowl celebration faded, a New Orleans attorney and former councilman began to visualize how he could earn a profit by changing the slogan slightly, but significantly.

The change emphasized the Saints' run at a second Super Bowl title. The lawyer, Wayne Babovich, decided that "Two Dat" would have significant marketing opportunities if the Saints made another run at a Super Bowl title. In 2010, he formed a corporation called "Two Dat, Inc." and filed an application to make "Two Dat" a registered trademark. Unfortunately, another party had the same idea regarding the original slogan. A firm called Who Dat, Inc. owned the trademark rights to "Who Dat." Anticipating the potential conflict over very similar slogans, the two parties signed an agreement in 2010 in which they agreed to share profits earned by their respective trademarks.

Establishing paternity of a child in Louisiana

Establishing the identity of a child's biological father can have far-reaching consequences. Paternity affects a number of rights, including a child's right to inherit, the father's obligation to provide for the child's financial support and eligibility for a number of state and federal government benefits. Also, a father may suffer from a genetica disease, and proving paternity can help treat a child if they have been affected by the disease.

Paternity is most easily established when the biological father signs a "Declaration of Acknowledgement of Paternity" in which he formally admits that he is the father of the child. A declaration of paternity must be signed in front of a notary public and two witnesses. A man who has signed a declaration may annul it at any time within 60 days of signing it. A court can also annul the declaration if the signer can prove that his signature was obtained by fraudulent means.

Iconic burger chain involved in lawsuit with former franchisee

Bud's Broiler is perhaps the oldest local burger chain in New Orleans. The owner of the franchise, Bud's Broiler Holdings, is now involved in litigation with the franchisee who ran the oldest location in the city on City Park Avenue. A franchise in Baton Rouge owned by the same franchisee also closed recently.

The basis of the dispute is a claim by the franchisee, Shannon Prince, that the Bud's Holdings violated the franchise agreement by mismanaging business and opening two competing locations that are in her territory. The complaint also alleged that the franchisor made false and misleading statements in persuading her to open the restaurant in Baton Rouge. In response, Bud's accused the franchisee of purchasing meat from other companies and trying to create her own recipe for the brand's smoky flavored hickory sauce.

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