What is Family Law in St. Louis, MO?
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:
Divorce in St. Louis City
is the process of breaking the bonds of marriage. When parties get married, they form a legal relationship. If they decide that they would no longer like to be a part of this relationship, they must file the necessary paperwork with the courts.Based on the state in which the divorce is being filed, the rules and procedures may vary. 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 how to divide assets and debts in a divorce, but the rules are similar in most states. 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 things like the parties’ contributions to the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the needs of each party after the divorce. Misconduct such as infidelity or domestic abuse can also play into the court’s decision in terms of property and debt division and spousal maintenance.
Divorce is Civil Litigation in St. Louis, MO
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 prior to a trial. However, some cases that involve contested divorces, high assets, and certain other factors may have to go to trial.
Maintenance and Spousal Support in St. Louis City
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 in order 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 that was jointly accumulated. The court also takes into account the age of the parties involved and their 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 in order for them to be able to reach the best possible result.
Pre and Post-nuptial Agreements in St. Louis, MO
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that parties sign before they get married. Prenuptial agreements should contain detailed descriptions of the significant property and debts owned by each partner. 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. There are some matters that 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 the 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 in St. Louis City
is one of the most deliberated and emotional areas of family law. When it comes to custody of the child, most states base their decisions on the best interests of the child. The court takes into account 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.If a parenting plan can be established by the parents, the court will usually follow this agreement. 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 that are applicable in the particular local jurisdiction.
Legal and Physical Custody in St. Louis, MO
Most states divide custody into legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody is who actually, 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.It is imperative that family lawyers 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.
Child Support in St. Louis City
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 for the child.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 that is accused of abuse or neglects, 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 lawyers work hard to advocate for their clients in a situation where the state is seeking to terminate those rights.