LEGAL CORNER: I filed for custody in La., my ex filed for custody in Miss. - what’s going to happen?

KPLC 7News at Noon - Legal Corner - April 10, 2019

Submit your questions to Civil matters only, please.

QUESTION: Me and ex recently split up. He moved to Mississippi. We have one child together. I filed for custody here in Calcasieu. I allowed the child to be with him during his time off at his new home in Mississippi. I later learned that he filed for custody in Mississippi. What’s going to happen?

ANSWER: These situations are governed by the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJA). Louisiana’s version of this act is found in LA R.S. 13:1801 et seq. The act sets out to determine which state is the best state to hold child custody hearings. The general rule, subject to a lot of exceptions, is that child custody matters should be heard in the child’s “home state.” Generally, the child’s 'home state" is the state within which the child has been living for the past six months. If there is no clear home state, then the courts look to connections that the two competing states have to the child (i.e. schools, doctors, other family, any emergency circumstances, domestic violence circumstances etc). The viewer needs to hire a Mississippi lawyer to object / attempt to prevent Mississippi from asserting jurisdiction. If the father does the same thing Louisiana, then, usually the two judges talk and mutually decide which state is more appropriate. If the two judges do not agree, then a hearing is held on the issue of jurisdiction.

QUESTION: My adult son recently died. He has three small kids, from two different mothers. The only thing that he owned was his car. It’s titled in his name. I have bought it from the two mom’s. The DMV had the two Mom’s sign acts of donation to me. But now, the DMV is saying that I have to do two separate tutorships, one for each mom, before they will put the title in my name. Why is this required?

ANSWER: Whenever minor children come to ownership of property, they do not have the legal capacity to manage it (i.e. sell, mortgage, convey, invest, deposit etc). So, a legal guardian (in Louisiana they are called Tutors) has to be appointed by a court through a legal process. Louisiana Law believes it is good public policy for the Courts to regulate who can manage a minor’s property (i.e. sign off on deeds, bills of sale, mortgage etc). There also has to be a second person appointed to double check the decisions that are being made by the Tutor. This person is called an “Under Tutor.” In other words, Louisiana Law requires the signatures of both a Tutor and Under Tutor to manage, sell, convey mortgage, etc. a minor’s property. Sometimes the Tutor is required to post a performance bond to insure if fiduciary duty in managing the child’s property. Sometimes, any land owned by the Tutor automatically becomes mortgaged (i.e. designated as security) to secure the Tutor’s fiduciary obligation. Creating Tutorships can get expensive. The court costs alone are gong to be a minimal fo $350.00. Since there are two different mothers, each mother will have to apply to be a Tutor. This means that there has to be two different tutorships which will cost the viewer a minimum $750.00 in costs alone before the viewer even gets to attorney fees. So, the viewer needs to make sure that the care is worth the money and effort before starting out. (See LA CCP 4031 et seq)

QUESTION: My charitable organization wants to have a bingo fundraiser. Are there any licensure requirements?

ANSWER: “YEAH BUDDY!!” The Louisiana Dept. of Revenue’s Office of Charitable Gaming (OCG) highly regulates games of chance that are put on by charities. Their website reads in part: We license, monitor and regulate the charitable gaming industry in the State of Louisiana. Charitable Gaming is defined as non-profit organizations raising funds through games of chance where all net proceeds are contributed to bona fide charitable causes. In order to be legal, all of the net proceeds raised can only be used for one of the following uses: 1. Educational 2. Charitable, 3. Patriotic, 4. Religious 5. public spirited (LRS 4:707.B) Charitable games of chance include but are not limited to raffles, pull tabs, and bingo. Before launching into any charitable gaming fundraiser – read the office of Charitable Gaming’s website thoroughly and then call and ask question.

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