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Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink

Jeffrey Wittenbrink’s Answers

106 total


  • Are they laws against mother in law trying to break up marrage

    she is telling my wife ugly things, im a bum, your husband has moved on, etc.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    While Louisiana does not recognize a cause of action for "alienation of affection," certain actions could give rise to a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The burden of proof and damages is heavy, however, and usually would require treatment and testimony from an expert.

    You should strongly consider marital counseling with your wife, in order that you and she could increase your communication and deal with proper boundaries for your mother in law. Uninterrupted, corrosive influence by a third party, without some kind of counseling and intervention, could due irreparable damage to your marriage. Many family law attorneys work closely with counselors, and may be able to refer you to someone for help.

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  • Do I need a family law lawyer?

    My ex husband is having mental issues and has been in and out of mental health facilities and jail since our divorce 6 yrs ago. He doesn't pay child support and his visits with the child are sporadic. My new husband would like to adopt the child t...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana there is no minimum length of time for you to be married for your husband to qualify to adopt your minor child in an intrafamily adoption. If your ex-husband has not paid court ordered child support for more than six months, his permission to adopt the child may be waived. Nevertheless, it is easier to obtain the adoption if he signs a simple consent. You should meet with a family law attorney as soon as you want to get started with the process.

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  • Intrafamily adoption process?

    I want to adopt my 2 step daughters ages 11 and 13. I have been in a relationship with their mother for some years, but we married finally in 2011. Their bio dad lives somehwere in Arkansas. She had a last address on him but he moved years ago. He...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana, an intrafamily adoption is fairly easy if not contested. While the situation you describe indicates that the father may have waived his ability to contest the adoption of your stepdaughters, you will still have to follow the proper procedures and give him constitutionally acceptable notice and opportunity to defend against the loss of his parental rights. He may be entitled to a court-appointed attorney to defend, and the children may require an appointed attorney in order to complete the adoption. There are several possible wrinkles that you may not have anticipated. You should, at a minimum, consult with a family law attorney to prepare and file your intrafamily adoption.

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  • Is it advised to call family services if a mother of a minor child has moved 5 times in 8 months and had child in 3 schools?

    Mother of minor child, age 9, has moved 5 times since January 2014. The child has been in three different schools and in six different homes since moving from the original house in January. Is this a good enough reason to get family services invo...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana a child may be found in "need of care" if they are abused or neglected, according to the relevant statutes. If a child is clothed, fed and attends school without too many tardies or absences, and is not suffering any abuse, child protective services will probably decline to become involved.

    You do not explain your relationship to the situation. If a custody case is pending and the issue is what is in the "best interest of the child," several factors relevant to child custody are mentioned here, such as the stability of the family home and the proper education of the child. If a child is moved many times, they will sometimes lose progress in their education and suffer accordingly. A parent with a more stable situation may be favored in a custody case.

    You should consult with a family law attorney if you are a co-parent involved in this situation.

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  • Is it legal for my husband to buy a $60,000 gift (home for his 40 year old married daughter?

    We retired, he from City Parish, and I from the state. He bought the home with half of his retirement without my knowledge.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana, either party may alienate community property without the consent of the other, although sometimes rules regarding alienation of retirement benefits may preclude a party from disposing of retirement in a significant amount without the spouse's permission. For example, a married person must have a spouse's signature prior to changing a beneficiary or electing the payment of certain kinds of benefits, depending upon the benefit. If the payment were made improperly you may have a right to revoke it or "take it back," or otherwise hold the administrator liable.

    If the gift were made beyond what the normal means and ability of the couple generally allowed, there may be an action to reimburse the community upon divorce or partition.

    You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible to determine your rights in this matter.

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  • When do I get to say no, and stop visiting my dad?

    I'm currently 17, but I turn 18 in three months. Me and my dad never get along and I never have positive visits when I have to visit him when custody schedules require. I'm hoping and I've herd that once a child turns 18 they no longer have to fol...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana you are considered an adult and free from parental control at age 18. At that age you may move out, be on your own and be responsible for yourself. If you still live with your mother, your father may still be required to pay child support for you if you are attending but have not graduated high school until age 19.

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  • Louisiana family law attorneys only...

    At what age is a judge likely to allow a minor child to make the decision which parent they want to live with? For instance, if the child's mother has been in rehab and the father was granted sole custody. Once the mother completes rehab, how li...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    In Louisiana there is no age at which the minor child "makes the decision" as to which parent they want to live in. They may testify as to their preference if they are competent, but most judges will give that factor only little weight. An older child may get more consideration than a younger child, depending upon the reasons they articulate, but the judge will always be weighing and balancing all of the relevant factors that make up the best interest of the child. Twelve factors are enumerated by statute, but the court may consider innumerable factors. Those factors include the stability and suitability of the child's present environment, home, school and community history, mental and physical health of the parties, etc. The child's "reasonable preference" is only one factor. I was involved in a case in which the court changed the custody of a 17 year old boy to my client, the father, where ther mother was an unsuitable parent, over the child's preference. The father saw him through high school graduation.

    If the grant of sole custody was made after a hearing and not by agreement, the party seeking to modify that grant would have to meet a heavy burden of proof in order to make a change of custody.
    You should consult a family law attorney if this issue arises.

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  • If not legally seperate do i have to keep my spouse on my health insurance?

    seperate since 2/24/14 heath ins. is up for re-new, do i have to carry him until we are legally divorce.

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana there is no such thing as "legal separation," unless you have a special type of marriage called a "covenant marriage." You would know if you had such a marriage, because you must undertake special efforts and counseling to obtain one, and the burdens to divorce are more difficult. In Louisiana, until a petition for divorce is filed, obligations of a spouse are presumed to be community obligations, meaning that if your spouse becomes obligated for medical bills, you would be liable for them as well. Furthermore, persons who are still married, even if living separate and apart, owe one another an obligation of support for necessities, such as medical treatment. You should not cancel your spouse's health insurance until you are no longer obligated to maintain him, or until he obtains other insurance. You may also be liable for other community obligations unless you take steps to dissolve your marriage or terminate the "community regime," meaning that system of rules making you liable for your spouse's debts. You can have the community terminated once you have been living separate and apart for more than thirty days, but this requires legal action. You should see a family law attorney to decide whether or not you want to move forward to terminate the "community regime" or obtain a divorce.

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  • How can you get a judge to speak to you personally in her quarters even if you are legally represented?

    I just went to court and feel as though the judge did not act in the best interest of my child. I tried to ask her a question and she told me I cannot ask unless through counsel which was dumb. How can I or is it possible to arrange a meeting with...

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    It is not proper for the judge to speak to a represented party in chambers without their attorney, and most judges will only speak to unrepresented parties on the record, and in open court. This is to prevent persons from accusing the judge of improper activity or statements which are not on the record. You should trust your attorney to represently you and your child's interests.

    This is also to protect you from being held in contempt of court. If you make rude or disrespectful remarks to the judge, or ask impertinent questions aimed at advising the judge "what you think", you can be fined or punished. This is to protect decorum and the dignity of the proceedings. If everyone could speak anything they wished to the judge, official proceedings could quickly deteriorate into shouting matches, when people disagree with a judge's decision. Your attorney surely argued for your position-the judge simply disagreed. If the judge ruled wrongfully due to a mistake of law in the courtroom, or without sufficient evidence, or for an improper reason, her ruling could be appealed. You should speak to your attorney about an appeal if you are dissatisfied.

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  • My bio father passed and there is a will am i entitled to anything there was a paternaty test done thirty years ago.

    he decided not to raise me but there was a paternity test done and it did prove i was his biological child he just recently past

    Jeffrey’s Answer

    In Louisiana you would be entitled to inherit from your biological father provided that you a) "filiated" to him or proved his paternity within a year of his passing and b) if there is a will you are a named legatee or c) you are disabled or under the age of 23 years. If there is no will you would inherit along with any other children of your biological father, provided you were "filiated".

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