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St. Charles Divorce Law Blog

Family law matters don't have to wreck your finances

Filing for divorce can have a profound impact on a person's future. While many expect that ending an unhappy marriage will likely lead to a better future, few understand the potential financial implications. Family law might seem complicated when it comes to this matter, but divorcing couples in Missouri can ensure their future financial security by being as prepared as possible for the process.

Asset division is an important aspect of divorce that can have a tremendous impact on a person's finances. Much more than asking who gets what, dividing marital property can potentially land a person with added taxes and upkeep costs -- such as a marital home -- while other property might be less valuable, but also less costly in the long run. To understand more fully how these assets might affect a person financially, it is important to first have a solid understanding of personal income, individual property obtained before marriage and future personal expenses.

Shared child custody might have benefits for children

61314081_S.jpgMaking the decision to end a marriage is rarely easy. Couples often worry over the financial and emotional implications of divorce, and for parents in Missouri, this matter can be further complicated by child custody matters. Although no two families are the same, a recent study indicated that children might fare better when they have equal access to both of their parents.

This is not the first time that a study has focused on the psychological impact of sole custody agreements. However, this study aimed to understand how stress plays a role in this issue. The results demonstrated that children in sole physical custody arrangements feel a significantly increased level of stress, even more so than children who are part of shared custody arrangements with parents who do not get along. Researchers believe this to be caused in part because children who are in the sole physical custody of only one parent tend to lose access to extended relatives and friends.

Equitable division of retirement assets in divorce

39457958_S.jpgMany Missouri couples spend years building their retirement savings and planning for their golden years. The typical couple generally assumes that they will spend these years enjoying each other's company and perhaps even traveling to new places. However, when reality takes over and the couple realizes that there are no joint golden years to come, difficult decisions must be made. Often, these decisions include the equitable division of property in an upcoming divorce settlement.

Retirement savings accounts, IRA's and pension plans are often where the bulk of the couple's assets can be found. In dividing these assets, it is important to keep in mind that all accounts are not equal. The funds in some accounts are taxed in the year they are earned. In other cases, the funds are not taxes until they are withdrawn from the account. Additionally, there may be penalties if funds are withdrawn before a certain age; all of this can make a tremendous difference in the actual value of the accounts to each individual.

Parenting time and the child custody agreement

10745492_S.jpgThere are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when Missouri parents decide to divorce. Perhaps one of the most important factors relates to child custody. Child custody relates to who will be responsible for the child on a daily basis, who will be responsible for making decisions related to the child and parenting time associated with the child.

Many times, the parents will share joint custody. This means that both parents are responsible for the day to day aspects related to the child as well and decisions concerning the child. Additionally, parenting time, or visitation is shared on a fairly equal basis. In other cases, joint legal custody may be what is decided upon. In this case, the noncustodial parent has established visitation rights and is also responsible for sharing in important decisions regarding the child.

Child support is for the child's welfare and benefit

39649460_S.jpgResearch shows that approximately one-half of marriages end in divorce. Many of these marriages involve children who will be affected by the divorce. In addition, a significant percentage of children born in the United States are born to unwed parents. Based upon these statistics, it is easy to see that there is a great need for child support throughout Missouri as well as the rest of the nation.

The purpose of child support is to benefit the child or children. While this payment is typically made to the custodial parent, it is actually earmarked for the needs of the child. Both parents are responsible for the child's welfare. Thus, this money is intended to be the noncustodial parent's contribution to this care and upbringing.

The prenuptial agreement is essential if a business is involved

46779396_S.jpgThe average Missouri couple now waits until they are older to marry. Up until a few years ago, it was not uncommon for individuals to marry in their early 20s. However, in today's society, the average marital age is hovering closer to 30. With this in mind, the need for a prenuptial agreement can be critical.

Prior to marriage, many individuals have established careers or businesses. They have made a name for themselves and are beginning to accumulate assets. Some individuals have even ventured out on their own and are beginning to reap the rewards of their hard work and determination.

Child custody case focused on parental intelligence, not abuse

34789212_S.jpgWhen a child is removed from the care of the parents, there is usually very good reason for that set of circumstances. Most often, there is serious evidence of abuse or neglect that led to the decision. In many cases, the parents were given ample opportunity to make changes that would allow them to get their kids back. There are child custody cases in Missouri and elsewhere, however, in which the decision to remove a child from his or her home is difficult to comprehend.

An example lies in a case where two young children were removed from the care of their parents based on concerns over the level of intelligence displayed by the parents. State authorities made a determination that the parents had "limited cognitive abilities" and were unable to provide a safe home for their children. The kids were placed into foster care, and have subsequently been made available for adoption.

Nesting as a form of child custody

10783408_S.jpgDivorce can be difficult for everyone involved. This includes the parents, the children and even the extended family. However, for most Missouri families, once the decision is made that the marriage cannot be saved, thoughts automatically turn to child custody decisions and how the divorce will affect the children. These decisions will have a lasting impact on the children and their relationships with their parents and extended family.

One current trend, nesting, is an attempt to provide stability for the children. With nesting, the children remain in a stable home environment and the parents are the ones who move in and out. In other words, when it is mom's time with the children, she lives in the house, and when it is dad's time with the children, he lives in the house. Like almost all child custody arrangements, nesting has its benefits and pitfalls.

Fathers' rights a concern for one Missouri group

56370715_S.jpgTwo weekends a month and two to four weeks during the summer - this is the current standard that many noncustodial parents face when a Missouri divorce is finalized. In some cases, this is actually more that the parent will take advantage of. However, in many instances, the noncustodial parent strives to remain a part of the child's life yet finds it difficult to do so with such limited time constraints. More often than not, it is the father who faces these constraints, and this is causing some to raise concerns regarding fathers' rights as they relate to custody issues.

One group, Americans for Shared Parenting, is seeking to change this. One of the primary goals indicated by the group is for both mothers and fathers to be treated fairly when it comes to child custody. They are working to accomplish this goal through the use of local meetings and legislation.

Some people try to take equitable division into their own hands

In all matters of divorce in Missouri and throughout the nation, the court has the final say regarding any type of settlement, agreement, child custody, visitation or property division issue. In some situations, that's no big deal, and spouses merely formulate their agreed upon plans ahead of time, then seek the court's approval. Other times, however (espe32496022_S.jpgcially when it comes to the equitable division process), problems arise that prompt concerned spouses to seek outside support.

There are only nine states in the nation that govern their property distribution process under community property guidelines, meaning that all marital assets (and debts) are equally owned and divided 50/50 in divorce. Far more common (and current in this state) is the equitable division process, wherein marital property (and debts) are not always divided 50/50 but are split fairly between parties, according to the court's discretion. Here's where things can go wrong.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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St. Charles, Missouri 63303

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