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St. Charles Divorce Law Blog

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.

Is minor emancipation a good or bad idea?

50532400_S.jpgIn order to sign legally binding contracts, make financial or medical decisions and do other things adults normally do, a person must first reach the age of majority. In most states, including Missouri, that age is 18. In certain circumstances, however, a parent or legal guardian may abdicate rights of authority over a minor, thus granting that child the right to make his or her own legal decisions in life. Whether minor emancipation is possible, or even a good idea, typically depends on individual circumstances.

People under age 18 often think they'd love nothing more than freeing themselves from their parents' or guardians' authority. However, the reality of the situation is not always what it's cracked up to be. Many minors fail to realize how stressful it can be to be solely responsible for one's own health care, food and financial situations.

Janet Jackson facing parenting plan battle in divorce

10783413_S.jpgThere's no telling how many Missouri residents will file for divorce this year. Some studies suggest the number of divorces is declining throughout the nation; however, many spouses are still choosing it as the most viable option for resolving their differences. If a couple who divorces has a child together, such as in superstar Janet Jackson's case, it often opens up a whole new set of challenges. One common topic of discussion usually involves a new parenting plan.

No two divorces are exactly the same. The court does its best to keep children's best interests a central focus when custody and/or visitation issues are addressed. It reviews each situation on a case-by-case basis, although there are state laws and guidelines to help the court form its decisions.

The ins and outs of step-parent adoption

51583198_S.jpgThere's really no such thing as a typical family in America anymore. Each family's situation is different, although some can relate to one another through common experiences. For instance, there are many blended families throughout the nation nowadays. People who have children marry other people who have children, and the children become step-siblings. Step-parent adoption is a viable option for many Missouri residents as a means of knitting a family closer together and creating an official, legally recognized relationship.

This type of adoption is governed at the state level. If a step-parent adopts a child, a non-custodial parent no longer has responsibilities or parental rights regarding the child. However, before such an adoption can take place, the custodial and non-custodial parent must agree to it.

Child support changes in another state may raise a few eyebrows

58904961_S.jpgWhen Missouri parents head to court for divorce, they often find themselves facing challenges regarding the future care and financial provisions of their children. Especially where child support issues are concerned, the court is often prompted to make decisions with which one or the other parent might not be satisfied. In fact, in another state, the beginning of July will bring about a new law that drastically changes the guidelines for determining child support matters.

The court typically looks at the income levels of both parents when making decisions regarding whether someone should pay child support. Come July, the court in another state will also review how much parenting time each adult spends with their children. Basically, the more time the paying parent spends with his or her children, the less child support he or she has to pay.

Seniors prone to high asset divorce problems

39457958_S.jpgGray divorce is on the rise in Missouri and other states. It has nothing to do with hair color or the sky. It does, however, have to do with how old a person is when he or she files for divorce. The term has been applied to those severing marital ties after age 50. In a high asset divorce, this can present significant challenges because the later in life divorce is filed, the more financial issues and property division problems there tends to be.

Some may wonder why someone would make it to their 50th birthday, then get divorced, especially if a marriage has lasted 25 or 30 years or more. Answers would likely vary if couples seeking gray divorces were surveyed. Many, however, cite lack of personal fulfillment in life and loveless marriages as their main reasons.

Why protecting business interests shouldn't involve hidden assets

50833034_S.jpgWhen divorce occurs in Missouri or any other state, spouses may face obstacles regarding asset division in court. Especially in a high net worth situation (for instance, if a successful business is owned by both spouses) emotions may be highly charged regarding who gets what and what will happen to the business. Sometimes, it's determined that selling a business is the fairest way to handle such circumstances. If one spouse plans to try to maintain control of a business, however, it's best to avoid hidden assets or other questionable means for protecting one's interests.

It's not uncommon for one spouse to forfeit assets in exchange for sole business ownership. This has prompted some people to hide luxury items or money by conducting secret sales or making loans to friends or other family members. Hiding assets in divorce is illegal; it's also a sure way to destroy credibility.

Where to get help for enforcement of child custody orders

18214239_S.jpgIt's summertime and you and your children have created an awesome list of fun activities. You're actually looking forward to your first vacation season since your divorce, ready to build new memories and create new traditions as you and your kids adapt to your new lifestyle together in Missouri. The only problem is you think you might need help to enforce the existing child custody order because your former spouse is not cooperating as you'd hoped.

Because you have an existing court order regarding custody and visitation arrangements, both you and the other parent are bound to comply with its stipulations. That's why you became concerned when the kids told your ex-spouse is refusing to let them go on vacation with you. In fact, you were certain permission to do so had actually been included in the court order.

Not every child custody battle is between two parents

10522555_S.jpgMany Missouri reality TV fans, young and old alike, are familiar with the Teen Mom 2 show. Some may also be following a child custody battle involving one of the stars of the show. This particular situation does not involve both parents of a child, however; in fact, the 7-year-old boy's mother has been battling her own mother (who has custody of her grandson) in court.

The media has not been shy in publicizing updates on the contentious situation between Jenelle Evans, the boy's mother, and Barbara Evans, his grandmother. The two women have been estranged for some time, and the younger woman reportedly didn't even speak to, nor glance at her mother when a new visitation agreement was signed recently in court. Jenelle Evans told reporters she is thrilled that her mother can no longer restrict her visitations with her son.

Not every mother-in-law has a say in a high asset divorce

56472638_S.jpgBeing a member of the Royal Family in England is celebrity status at its highest level. Nearly two decades after Princess Diana's tragic death, gossip columnists continue to speculate whether the fatal motor vehicle accident in which she was involved was truly an accident or result of foul play. The princess and her former husband, Charles, had recently secured a high asset divorce, which was headline news at the time. Even though most Missouri residents live far simpler lives, when it comes to divorce and marital property issues, many may relate to the former Princess of Wales' situation.

Diana and Charles were the first royal couple of Buckingham Palace ever to file for divorce. In Missouri, the court determines how all marital assets will be divided in such cases. Not so, apparently, at the English palace. In Diana's case, her mother-in-law (i.e. Queen of England) reportedly had much say in what possessions Diana would keep and where she would live.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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St. Charles, Missouri 63303

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