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St. Louis County & Midwest Family Law Blog

Establishing paternity for child support purposes

Raising a child is an expensive endeavor and one that a parent shouldn't face alone. Unfortunately, though, far too often noncustodial parents try to dodge their financial obligation to their child, especially when that child is born out of wedlock. In these instances, men oftentimes deny that they are the father of a woman's child. When they are successful in doing so, they avoid child custody and child support issues.

Yet, women in the Midwest should not give up simply because a man claims he isn't the father of a child. Instead, they should do everything in their power to secure the financial resources their children need and deserve. The first step in doing so is to establish paternity.

Property division basics in Missouri

38072942_S.jpgHow property is divided during divorce is an important concern for couples in Missouri. Understanding some property division basics can be helpful to ensure that divorcing spouses can protect their interests and reach a property division settlement agreement that both parties can live with.

Missouri property division is based on equitable property division laws. What is important to note is that only marital property is subject to the division process. Separate property is not subject to the property division process, so an important consideration for divorcing spouses to fully understand is what is considered marital property and what is considered separate property. In some circumstances, the categorization of property can be complex, so it is valuable for divorcing couples to be as familiar as possible with how the process works.

Property division critical in gray divorces

98229462_S.jpgDivorce can take an emotional and financial toll on people of all ages. Short-term and long-term marriages can both have tremendous ramifications when they end in divorce, which is why Midwesterners need to do everything they can to protect themselves and their well-being when marriage dissolution is on the horizon. While this often means surrounding one's self with supportive friends and family, it also means knowing how to utilize divorce laws to one's advantage.

This is of particular importance to individuals who are age 50 and older. These so-called gray divorces have doubled over the last 30 years or so, and the financial consequences for those involved are stark. According to some reports, these individuals face about a 50% loss of wealth upon divorce, which may make sense, but when coupled with significant income losses, these older individuals can face financial challenges. This is especially true for women in this age group who see their standard of living decrease by up to 45% compared to a 21% decrease for their male counterparts.

How to deal with unfair divorce tactics

43837501_S.jpgEnding a marriage can be a challenging experience on many different levels. The emotions that are tied up in the marriage dissolution process can be more than enough to make it difficult, but the logistics of untangling two lives can be overwhelming. Making matters worse, a contentious divorce can see the parties taking steps to try to thwart a fair resolution. This is why Midwesterners need to ensure they are protecting themselves as fully as possible throughout the divorce process, which includes knowing how to identify some of these brutal tactics and how to adequately address them.

So what are some of these strategies? One is to delay the divorce. One party may try to delay dissolution simply to hurt the other party. They might agree to divorce terms, and then refuse to sign an agreement in hopes of renegotiating, failing to sign the renegotiated agreement. This can cost an individual a significant amount of time and money, not to mention stress. To avoid this, a party may be able to identify when it is best to stop negotiations and take the matter to court.

Divorce, property division and hidden assets

73495332_S.jpgMarriages should be built on trust. Yet, when some Midwesterners contemplate divorce, they begin to shroud themselves in lies. There are many reasons for this behavior. Shame can play a role in instances of infidelity, but oftentimes, these lies have financial motives. Those individuals who know the laws as they pertain to divorce may realize that marital assets will be subjected to property division; thus, they seek to hide assets in an attempt to keep them for themselves.

While this behavior is unethical and illegal, it is sometimes difficult to detect. Making matters worse is the fact that those who fail to identify hidden assets can be left without the financial resources they need and deserve post-divorce. This is why it is sometimes critical that those who are going through marriage dissolution work with a forensic accountant.

How to develop a parenting plan for child custody

47230746_S.jpgAs part of the child custody and visitation process, parents are required to submit child custody plans. Because the process of developing a parenting plan for child custody and visitation can be challenging, it is useful for parents to rely on family law resources to help them through the process.

Child custody, visitation and parenting plans are all based on what is in the best interests of the child and it is important for parents to keep this in mind. Parenting plans need to include certain elements, including: child custody and visitation, which should also include holiday schedules; childcare expenses; education, college and extracurricular expenses; healthcare costs; who will claim the child on their income tax returns as a deduction; locations designated for exchanges and transportation costs; decision-making rights and responsibilities; and dispute resolution methods.

Child custody and the importance of a father's presence

35849393_S.jpgIt's a sad reality, but fathers are often overlooked in our society. This is especially true when viewed through a child custody lens. Mothers automatically retain custody of children who are born out of wedlock and child custody disputes that arise during divorce proceedings can find a man struggling to prove why he is better suited to further his child's best interests. Some men even find it difficult to merely obtain visitation with their children, which is nothing short of tragic.

As a result, many men choose to not pursue their fathers' rights. This can have a profound impact on a child's life, as studies have shown that a father's presence can benefit a child in a number of ways. To start, children who have a father present in their life are less likely to drop out of school and become incarcerated. These children are also less likely to engage in risky behavior. Additionally, children with present and engaged fathers tend to have higher IQ scores and are better equipped to deal with psychological problems arise throughout their lives.

What is an uncontested divorce?

47215395_S.jpgThere are generally two types of divorce based on whether there are contested issues between the divorcing spouses or not. In circumstances of an uncontested divorce, the divorcing couple are largely able to work out the major divorce-related issues and agree to how they want to resolve property division, spousal support, child support and child custody. Whenever a couple is entering a divorce process, however, it is likely they have questions.

An uncontested divorce refers to when the divorcing couple agrees to the divorce and the divorce-related issues between the couple are not contested. An uncontested divorce can be less costly and time consuming compared to a traditionally litigated divorce. A litigated divorce, or contested divorce, refers to when the divorcing couple hashes out divorce-related issues through the litigation process.

Child support and the skyrocketing cost of daycare

28496312_S.jpgThere is no doubt that the cost of raising a child is enormous. Many parents in the Midwest find themselves struggling to make ends meet, even when both parents are living and working together to meet financial obligations. Oftentimes, however, parents don't live together, which can make sharing the financial responsibility of raising a child even more difficult. These circumstances usually give rise to child support disputes that must be appropriately addressed in order to reach a favorable outcome.

As we have discussed previously on this blog, child support can encompass a whole host of expenses. One of the biggest amongst them is childcare. Although some parents are lucky enough to have family members nearby who are willing to watch their children for free, a significant number of parents must pay a daycare to provide that service. These costs can be overwhelming, especially considering that a parent can expect to shell out anywhere form $300 to $1,500 or more per month to have a daycare center take care of their baby or toddler.

Many contemplate divorce during the summer

39879824_S.jpgSummer is here. Kids are out of school and family vacations are underway. This may be a joyous time for many, but for others, spending more time together only highlights familial strife. Spouses can find themselves bickering over finances, personalities can clash, and differences in parenting styles can be accentuated. This is why there is often an uptick in divorces once the summer comes to an end and children return to school. In fact, a study from 2016 found that March and August see spikes in divorce rates, which can continue for months after children return to school.

One of the keys to a successful divorce is thorough planning that starts months in advance. The summer can be a great time to gather information that is pertinent to marriage dissolution. Individuals should consider the extent of marital assets and think about discussing them with a financial planner and a divorce attorney. Other records should be obtained, too, including those pertaining to debt, such as credit card statements.

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Other Office Locations

  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806: Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 25 Professional Park, Suite B, Maryville, Illinois 62062: Maryville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Shawnee County: 800 SW Jackson Street, Suite 812, Topeka, Kansas 66612: Topeka Office
  • Tulsa County: 6660 S. Sheridan Road, Suite 240, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74133 Tulsa Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

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