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St. Charles Divorce Law Blog

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.

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.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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St. Charles, Missouri 63303

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