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St. Louis County & Midwest Family Law Blog

Appreciation of separate assets may be open to property division

There's nothing easy about divorce. The marriage dissolution process often has very real emotional consequences, even if divorce ends up being better for an individual in the long run. Additionally, divorce can have a tremendous financial impact on an individual, which might make life post-divorce all the more challenging. This is why it is critically important for divorcing individuals to be aggressive during the property division process, which starts with knowing what assets are in play.

Generally speaking, assets acquired prior to marriage are deemed separate from marital assets and are therefore exempt from the property division process. There are, however, some exceptions to that rule. For example, separate property may wind up being deemed marital in nature if it is commingled with marital assets and utilized by both spouses as if it were jointly owned. Although it may seem relatively easy to distinguish between marital and separate property, it can actually be a highly contentious and complex legal issue.

Domestic violence can be powerful evidence in child custody case

Family law matters can get emotional and complex. Child custody disputes can get heated quickly. Each parent thinks they know what is best for their child, and most children are too young to really know what furthers their best interests. This means that when there is a dispute about a child custody or visitation arrangement, then the parents will have to bring forth evidence to support why their proposed plan is best suited to meet and further those best interests.

Oftentimes, this means that the parties to a child custody dispute will dig deep into each other's personal lives to show a judge how the other parent's time with the child should be restricted in some way. In some cases, there isn't much to discover, but in other cases, there are a multitude of issues in a parent's home that threaten the child's best interests. Amongst these issues is domestic violence.

What expenses is child support intended to cover?

38817333_S.jpgWhat child support is intended to cover is important for parents both paying and receiving child support to understand. In addition, parents should understand what it is not intended to cover and ensure they have all their child support questions answered.

Although child support is intended to pay for essentials, such as food, clothing and shelter, it is also intended to pay for a broader range of expenses and needs of the child. In addition to basic necessities, child support payments are intended to cover: medical care; education fees; childcare; transportation and travel costs; extracurricular activities; entertainment; and college expenses.

Child custody may be obtained even when child is in college

84659936_S.jpgThere's no doubt that raising a child is expensive. Daycare, food and clothing costs alone can be enough to leave a family on unsteady financial footing. It can be even harder to make ends meet when a custodial parent is left to raise a child on his or her own. In these situations, the cost of raising a child can be even more overwhelming. Fortunately, these custodial parents have the right to seek child support from their child's other parent, which can actually be a pretty broad and far-reaching type of support.

While child support is meant to help cover a portion of a child's day-to-day expenses, including childcare and food, it can also cover other costs such as those pertaining to medical care. But the list doesn't end there. In fact, in Missouri, a child support obligation may continue even after a child enters college. Under this circumstance, the support obligation can last up until the time the child graduates or he or she reaches the age of 21.

Coping with the emotions of divorce

20142140_M.jpgEnding a relationship is anything but easy. Many people who seek divorce find the process to be amongst the most difficult they will ever face in life. After all, marriage dissolution involves the untangling of lives that were once tightly interwoven. It not only reshapes an individual's day-to-day life, but it can also impact his or her financial standing as well as his or her relationship with his or her children.

With so much at stake, many individuals coming face-to-face with divorce find themselves dealing with a number of emotions. They may be scared for their future and the possibility of being single for a significant period of time, and they may feel grief over a life once lived lost. Anger is often a common feeling, especially if the divorce is brought about by abuse or financial, emotional, or physical infidelity. Fortunately, there are ways an individual can try to cope with these emotions.

Help for families facing child support enforcement issues

36311999_S.jpgThere are a variety of resources available to families to help ensure child support obligations are enforced. Child support enforcement tools at the disposal of authorities can include: income withholding or wage garnishment; federal or tax refund interception; liens on property; suspension of professional licenses or a driver's license; denial of a passport; and even jail time, in some circumstances.

When there is a valid child support order in place, it is important for the paying parent to make required payments or they may be subject to enforcement options available to authorities.

Divorce, property division, and refinancing the marital home

87155831_S.jpgDivorcing couples often struggle to figure out how to divide their marital assets. Successfully divvying up this property is often dependent upon accurate valuations and a firm understanding of one's post-divorce financial goals. Although most couples are able to fairly divide retirement and bank accounts as well as pieces of personal property, the marital home is an asset that often brings up a lot of issues.

There are many ways to handle the marital home during the property division process. One of those strategies is for one party to buy-out the other so that the purchaser becomes the sole owner of the property. While this may seem like one of the best ways to secure a residence while breaking away from a spouse, it can present its own problems that must be competently handled in order to reach a favorable outcome.

Separation may help determine if divorce is the right option

104482663_S (1).jpgMarriage isn't easy. It often takes a lot of time and effort to ensure that a marital relationship stays strong, and it may be a task that lasts for years or even decades. Many Missouri residents go to these great lengths to avoid divorce, but the truth of the matter is that they may have another option available to them.

In Missouri and other states in the Midwest, legal separation is recognized. This legal action is sort of a middle ground between divorce and remaining with a spouse under the same roof. While those who are legally separated are technically still married to each other, they can live apart from one another and address many of the same legal issues confronted by divorcing couples. For example, legally separated couples may address property division, child custody, child support and alimony when they decide to live apart.

Navigating the unique challenges of a military divorce

83893595_S.jpgMilitary divorces can come with additional challenges that civilians may not face with their divorce cases. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are also similarities related to the basics of divorce any divorcing couple will need to address.

Military couples who have made the difficult decision to divorce should know what to expect from the military divorce process and how to get the help they need through their divorce.

How the UCCJEA affects child custody matters

121844165_S.jpgFamily law matters can get very complex and emotional. Many child custody disputes in the St. Louis area are hotly contested. Parents oftentimes try to bring out the worst in each other so that they can achieve the outcome they want, which they usually believe is best for their child, too. When the dust settles, either after negotiations or litigation, many of these parents feel that the matter is settled. While this may be true for some, for others, it is just a starting point on a long road of issues pertaining to visitation and child support.

Some child custody and visitation disputes end up with child custody modifications, but some parents find themselves in the terrifying position of not being able to seek immediate modification because their child has been taken out of state by the child's other parent. When this act is conducted with the intent of interfering with a child custody order, then it is usually considered abduction.

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