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St. Charles Divorce Law Blog

Missing child located; child custody dispute may be to blame

25487205_S.jpgA local child was the center of an abduction alert recently. The Missouri youngster was initially reported missing, and police were drafting details for flyers when he was found. The incident appears to be the result of adults fighting over a child custody dispute. 

Authorities indicate that the case is complex and the investigation is ongoing. Witnesses in the neighborhood where the child was taken report seeing two older women parked in front of a home. The witness said that she later saw police cars and then she knew that something had gone wrong. 

Splitting marital assets includes retirement, investment accounts

Ending a marriage is never easy. When two people have built a life together, it can take a bit of strategy to untangle the threads. One facet of divorce is property division, where the two parties divide the marital assets between them. Retirement accounts and investment accounts typically represent the divorcing couple's largest collection of funds. In Missouri, each type of account has its own rules for separation, and by following the rules, an individual can avoid common mistakes that could potentially reduce his or her portion of the sum.

In order to split a 401(k), an order called the Qualified Domestic Relations Order must be filed. Each account should have its own order. This will typically be filed along with the divorce settlement. The QDRO allows the transfer of the funds from one account to another. The document is usually drafted by a professional -- often a lawyer, and will need to be written so that it matches the intent of the divorce order. 

Family law matters don't have to be agonizing

Divorce and disagreement seem to go hand in hand. Many people feel that there is no way to avoid unpleasantness while ending a marriage. The truth is, while it may not be easy or even guaranteed, it is possible. A person who finds him or herself in a family law court in Missouri can try to take advantage of common threads that can lead to a more amicable parting. 

A person who is already more self-reliant will likely have an easier time being alone after a marital breakup. By working on strengthening independence skills, an individual may be able to survive and thrive post-divorce. Keeping communications as friendly as possible can also be a great help. This can be a challenge, but by keeping it friendly and fair, and not overdoing it, a person can usually find a more peaceful way to settle with a soon-to-be ex. 

Investing marital assets after a divorce

53235114_S.jpgThe process of divorce can be a challenging time when two individuals determine how the shared property will be divided. After the dust clears, one or both partners could be left with a sum of funds that will need to fully or partially finance their lifestyles for years to come. By choosing to invest one's portion of the marital assets, a Missouri resident may be able to get more mileage from the share of the divorce settlement that he or she receives. 

Both parties will likely need to adjust to financial changes post-divorce. Essentially, two households will need to be maintained from the same pool of income that previously supported only one. For the less financially sophisticated partner, the transition can be a bit more challenging. 

Child support enforcement technology coming to all 50 states

10277612_S.jpgIn an effort to reduce spending, the Department of Health and Human Services is asking for funds for technology upgrades. Since 1995, each state has been legally required to have a system in place for child support collection and enforcement. Some states have struggled to do so. Individuals in Missouri may be interested to learn more about the proposed federal program and its potential impacts for payment monitoring. 

The DHHS has asked for $63 million to fund a Child Support Technology Fund. This money would go toward building a IT system to monitor and enforce support payments at the state level. The IT program would then be made available for all states to use. 

Man fights for paternal rights in court case

36419114_S.jpgFor some, having a child outside of marriage could prove to be problematic when it comes time to see and form a relationship with the child. A recent news story gives details of one man's fight for his paternal rights in an atypical case. Although the incident did not occur in Missouri, the details of the case may provide useful information for other individuals experiencing similar issues of paternity. 

Apparently, this individual was having an on-again, off-again relationship with a woman who was still married, although separated from her husband. She ultimately got pregnant, and then got back with the husband. Under the law of the state in which the incident occurred, the child's legal father would then be the individual who was married to the mother. Any child born in a marriage would be recognized as a product of the marriage in this case. 

Understanding types of child custody

69454256_S.jpgA common question for parents who are ending a marriage is, where will the children live? Many families want the most fair custody arrangement that is also in the best interest of the children. The two main types of child custody are legal and physical. Missouri residents will probably understand that there are a few different ways to combine the child care responsibilities within the two types of custody. 

Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make decisions for the child when it comes to health, education and welfare. Physical custody refers to the parent who will live with the child. A person who understands the difference between legal and physical custody may be better prepared to negotiate a custody agreement with the other parent. 

Child support is key for your child's financial stability

33971679_S (1).jpgRaising children can be expensive, but fear of being the sole financial supporter should not deter Missouri parents from seeking divorce. In most cases, custodial parents in Missouri will usually receive child support payments from their exes. However, most judges will take more than just primary custody into account when determining an appropriate payment plan.

Income is typically the main factor that impacts the amount of child support. Since children have the right to benefit from both of their parents' incomes, a high-earning custodial parent will usually not diminish what another parent must pay. The guidelines will instead focus on the payer's income, and what he or she can afford.

Here's why you need a surrogacy agreement

35403202_S.jpgFor families who are unable to have children through conventional methods, surrogacy may be a viable option. Many Missouri parents have wonderful relationships with the women who serve as surrogates, but a good relationship does not replace the legal protections found within a surrogacy agreement. A contract between a surrogate and the soon-to-be parents is essential for protecting everyone involved.

A surrogacy agreement must include basic legal information, and may also include some wishes of those involved. Basic legal information can actually be quite involved and goes far beyond the parents' and surrogate's names. Information regarding psychological and physical health exams, use of assisted reproductive technology, health insurance information and timing of prenatal medical exams should all be included in any comprehensive surrogacy contract.

Bitcoin could complicate high net worth divorce

39394533_S.jpgHiding assets during divorce proceedings is sadly not that uncommon. Missouri couples who are going through a high net worth divorce may understandably feel a strong urge to protect the assets that are most important to them, but some individuals take it too far. Although hidden assets are certainly nothing new, some divorcees are using newer technologies to conceal marital property.

Bitcoin is an unregulated digital currency that provides anonymity to users. It made its debut in 2009 and experienced significant growth over 2017 as many people found its claim of being untraceable appealing. For a soon-to-be ex-spouse who might be trying to hide as many assets as possible, the anonymity and inability to trace make Bitcoin an ideal place to stash money until the divorce is finalized.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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St. Charles, Missouri 63303

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