${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} Main Menu
Call Today: 855-805-0595

St. Charles Divorce Law Blog

The importance of a QDRO during equitable division

Whether worth tens of thousands of dollars or significantly less, retirement savings are incredibly valuable to most people. Even relatively small accounts can provide a solid foundation for financial peace during retirement. Many divorcees in Missouri are understandably worried about how their retirement savings will be handled during equitable division.

Unless a marital agreement states otherwise, most retirement accounts are considered marital assets, as the funds were saved with the intention of supporting both parties later in life. It can be tempting to try and skirt the sometimes-complicated process of dividing up a marital estate, but doing so can have costly consequences. Those who opt for this approach usually end up eating away much of their savings in taxes and penalties that might have otherwise been avoided.

When life changes, you need modification of child custody

You lose hours at your job or get fired, and you do not want to fall behind on your child support payments. You need to move across the state or even out of Missouri altogether, but have a child custody arrangement with your ex. Life is not static, and there is no guarantee that things will stay exactly as they for years to come. When life changes, you might need a modification of child custody plans.

Even if both parents agree to a change in custody or child support, it is not legally binding unless a modification is approved by the family law court. Parents may petition the court for a modification to child support based on an increase or a decrease in either parents' income. Without a court-ordered modification, you might be on the hook for back or missed payments.

Complex property division has financial implications in divorce

41127521_S.jpgEnding a marriage can be stressful, most couples in Missouri would understandably like to push through the process as quickly as possible. However, rushing a divorce is rarely a good idea, particularly for those who have significant marital assets. Complex property division, spousal support and additional expenses can all have a profound financial impact and should be considered carefully.

Marital assets are usually whatever property was acquired during the course of the marriage -- although there are exceptions -- and must be identified before the process of division may begin. Assets must then be valued, which can take quite some time depending on how valuable they are. Certain assets also come with costs, such as property upkeep or taxes. Ultimately, these assets will be divided in a way that is considered most equal or fair to both parties.

Include prenuptial agreement in your wedding plans

17972136_S.jpgAfter the venue is booked, dress bought and reception is planned, most engaged couples feel like it is time for them to sit back and wait for the big day. Before propping up your feet and relaxing, you and your fiance should take one more thing into consideration -- a prenuptial agreement. While not what most people in Missouri have on their mind when leading up to their big day, a prenup provides invaluable protections for everyone involved.

Misconceptions about prenuptial agreements abound, but at its most basic the agreement is simply about protecting personal property in the event of a divorce. While virtually no one marries with the intent of divorcing, the reality is that marriages can and do end regardless of each partner's original intentions. It is understandable that people would want protection during this process.

Establishing paternity is essential for unwed fathers

8507983_S (1).jpgFathers of children born out of wedlock typically have understandable concerns regarding their legal rights. Unfortunately, many Missouri fathers are under the impression that they have fewer legal rights than those who fathered children in a marriage. Once paternity is established, fathers can move forward with establishing custody rights to build a relationship with their children.

The easiest way to establish paternity of a child is for both parents to sign a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity, which can either be done when the child is born or sometime after. Since this document requires both parents, it is not useful in cases of disputed paternity. While many women initiate legal procedures to determine paternity, men may also make the first move and request a court-ordered DNA test.

Complex property division can be stressful later in life

44699825_S.jpgThe emotional cost of remaining in an unhappy marriage often outweighs the potential financial stress created by divorce. While everyone in Missouri should be cautious of their finances during divorce, this is especially true for those going through so-called gray divorces. Divorcing later in life often results in complex property division involving significant financial investments, including homes and retirement savings.

The overall divorce rate has been decreasing over time, but couples over the age of 50 have seen their rate double over the past several decades. While the average cost of getting a divorce is the same for older couples as it is for their younger counterparts, the financial aftermath is much more uncertain. Divorcing close to retirement age leaves less time to financially recover or establish other means to support each individual later in life.

Protecting personal assets is easy with a prenuptial agreement

26271411_S.jpgThe idea of even discussing the possibility of divorce can be abhorrent to many people. TV and movies have a helping hand in this, as they seem quick to vilify those who suggest that a prenup might be a good idea. While some Missouri couples might fare fine without addressing potential issues in a prenuptial agreement, those who have significant personal assets have a lot to lose.

The average age for marriage is going up, fueled mostly by the Millennials who generally do not feel a sense of urgency when it comes to settling down. Instead, this generation tends to spend more time focusing on cohabitating without marital commitment. As the new norm, it is important to prepare for marriage differently than previous generations.

Family law matters don't have to wreck your finances

17610182_S.jpgFiling 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.

2015 Top 100 Lawyers - ASLA Lead Counsel Rated Rated By Super Lawyers American Legal Institute | America's Top Attorneys 2016 Nation's Premier Top Ten Ranking 2016 | NAFLA 10 Best 2014-2017 | 4 Years Client Satisfaction | American Institute of Family Law Attorneys ™ Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb The National Trial Lawyers National Association of Distinguished Counsel | Nation's Top One Percent National Academy of Jurisprudence Rue Rating | Best Attorneys Of America | Lifetime Charter Member The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers | America's Premier Attorneys Law Firm 500 | 2016 Honoree America's Top 100 Attorneys American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
2268 Bluestone Drive
St. Charles, Missouri 63303

Toll Free: 855-805-0595
Fax: 314-963-9191
St. Louis Law Office Map