MULTI-STATE FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS & LAWYERS HERE TO HELP YOU REBUILD YOUR LIFE
Stange Law Firm, PC, is dedicated exclusively to the practice of family law. We handle only family law matters, which gives us the in-depth knowledge to handle even the most complex, sophisticated, and serious family law issues for our clients. Our attorneys have received numerous awards and accolades for divorce and family law as outlined in their biographies.
Regardless of serious matters, we encourage our clients to be cool-headed and stable. This can be not easy when so much is at stake, but our clients can trust that we will act boldly to protect their rights. We advocate effectively for our clients so that they can focus on what matters most — taking care of their families.
We handle matters related to all facets of divorce and separation, as well as the division of property and debt, and family violence. We are also well equipped to handle the complex financial matters that often affect families in a high-asset divorce.
We also handle many other family law matters, including but not limited to:
Dissolution of Marriage
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
Guardianships and conservatorships
Orders of Protection
What is Family Law?
Family law refers to the practice of helping individuals with family relationships. It includes helping families pick up the pieces of their lives while guiding them through this difficult time. Family law matters may include the dissolution of marriage, child custody and child support matters, adoption, paternity, and father’s rights issues. Because of the nature of these matters, family law cases tend to be very emotional and strenuous for the parties involved. At Stange Law Firm, PC, our attorneys are there to assist their clients through this difficult process. Family law practice may involve any of the following topics:
The Divorce Process
Divorce is the process of breaking the bonds of marriage. When parties get married, they form a legal relationship. If they decide they would no longer like to be a part of this relationship, they must file the necessary paperwork with the courts.
The rules and procedures may vary based on the state in which the divorce is being filed. While all states allow for no-fault divorce, some states require a period of separation. Be advised that most states also have residency requirements that come into play when filing for dissolution.
Each state has its own guidelines for dividing assets and debts in a divorce, but most states have similar rules. In most cases, the court looks to make an equitable division of the assets. This doesn’t necessarily mean dividing the assets is equal for both parties. The court can look at the parties’ contributions to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the needs of each party after the divorce. Misconducts such as infidelity or domestic abuse can also play into the court’s decision regarding property and debt division and spousal maintenance.
Divorce is Civil Litigation
Divorce cases are heard in state court. Similar to other forms of civil litigation, parties may work to gather evidence through depositions, interrogatories, and subpoenas. Parties may also participate in mediation sessions, the collaborative process, and other forms of conflict resolution. In many scenarios, cases may settle before a trial. However, some cases involving contested divorces, high assets, and other factors may have to go to trial.
Maintenance and Spousal Support
One of the most difficult issues in a divorce case is often maintenance and spousal support (previously referred to as alimony). Some states use a formula to determine the amount of support. In other cases, it’s left to the judge’s discretion. Even in cases where the court uses a formula, it’s still important to make sure that the court uses the proper procedures in order to arrive at the correct amount of support.
One of the considerations for spousal support is the length of the marriage. Other factors include the parent’s ability to pay support and the amount of debt jointly accumulated. The court also considers the parties’ age and ability to work. Finally, they consider the misconduct of either party. The family lawyers at Stange Law Firm, PC, work to present evidence of these factors to the court for them to be able to reach the best possible result.
Pre and Post-nuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that parties sign before they get married. Prenuptial agreements should contain detailed descriptions of each partner’s significant property and debts. Depending on the nature and complexity of these assets, a prenuptial agreement can be just a few pages – or a few hundred. At Stange Law Firm, we draft each prenuptial so that it meets the exact needs of our clients. Some matters can’t be included in a prenuptial agreement like child custody and child support agreements. Otherwise, the parties can create an agreement that outlines matters like separate property, distribution of assets, and spousal support in the event of a divorce. When the parties enter into this kind of agreement after they get married, it’s a postnuptial agreement.
Child custody is one of family law’s most deliberated and emotional areas. When it comes to the custody of the child, most states base their decisions on the child’s best interests. The court considers which parent has the greater relationship with the child, whether or not each parent can provide a stable home environment for the child, and whether either parent has a history of substance abuse or a criminal background.
The court will usually follow this agreement if the parents can establish a parenting plan. However, if the parents cannot agree, the family lawyers at Stange Law Firm, PC will present evidence to the court regarding the child’s best interests. This might involve presenting school records, the testimony of a psychologist or substance abuse counselor, criminal records, and even medical records. Our attorneys will work to gather the necessary evidence, while also ensuring to consider the rules of evidence applicable in the particular local jurisdiction.
Legal and Physical Custody
Most states divide custody into legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody is who physically has the child at any given time. Legal custody is who makes major decisions about the child. Physical custody and legal custody can be shared between the parties, or the court may award primary custody to one of the parents. It’s also possible to share one type of custody without sharing the other. Some states, like Illinois, however, refer to physical custody as parenting time, while legal custody is the allocation of parental responsibilities.
Family lawyers must understand how the courts determine custody in their jurisdiction because rules between states can vary slightly. The family lawyers at Stange Law Firm, PC help their clients understand the law and form realistic expectations so that they can make wise decisions as their case moves forward.
Children have the right to support from both of their parents. The purpose of child support is to provide the child with financial resources as if their parents lived under one roof, although it is common in most child support matters that the child’s parents live in separate households. The courts presume that the parent who cares for the child will provide direct support.
Each state has its own respective formula for calculating proper child support amounts. Most of these formulas factor in each parent’s income, the allowable tax deductions and other expenses, a child’s health insurance expenses, and whether they have childcare needs. Certain states also factor in how much time each parent spends with the child, although this is not common practice by all states.
The family lawyers at Stange Law Firm, PC, work with their clients to ensure that child support is fairly and accurately calculated. If the other parent attempts to hide income or is unemployed by choice, an experienced family attorney can assist their client in showing the entire situation. A family lawyer also reviews the calculations made by the court to ensure that no errors were made that could result in an unfair and inaccurate calculation of child support.
Abuse and Neglect Proceedings
Another sensitive area of family law practice involves abuse and neglect. If the state is under the assumption that a parent is not able to properly care for a child, they may choose to begin abuse and neglect proceedings. The state may represent a parent accused of abuse or neglect, or they might even represent a child.
When family lawyers represent clients in abuse and neglect proceedings, they are working to help defend their clients against the reports of abuse or neglect, or they are helping their clients regain custody of their children by assisting them in complying with services and other requirements. Because the standard for terminating parental rights is high, family law attorneys work hard to advocate for their clients when the state seeks to terminate those rights.
Do I Need An Aggressive Family Lawyer?
Sometimes, individuals indicate that they want an aggressive family lawyer to represent them in their case. The reality is that aggression is rarely persuasive to a family court judge. What most clients should seek in a family law attorney is somebody who zealously represents their interests and provides competent, communicative, and diligent representation.
What About the Cost?
From our webpage, you can also read articles about family law, view informational videos, and seminar videos, listen to our podcast, download our mobile application, or view child support calculators for Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Indiana.
Helpful Divorce Information
Prenuptial Agreements Line by Line
Strategies For Family Law Illinois
Strategies For Military Family Law
Protect Yourself By Understanding Your Options and Knowing Your Rights
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120 S. Central Avenue, Suite 450
St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105
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FEATURED ARTICLES FROM THE STANGE LAW TEAM
FORT WAYNE, In. – February 21, 2024 – Stange Law Firm is excited to announce the opening of its 26th divorce and family law office
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