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St. Louis County & Midwest Family Law Blog

Determining the best interests of the child

31245832_S.jpgKnowing how child custody decisions are made is important for divorcing parents to understand and be familiar with. Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child which is based on a variety of factors.

Each child custody situation is unique and the family law court will evaluate the factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child . Though the family law court can determine child custody and what is in the best interests of the child, divorcing parents are encouraged to reach a child custody agreement that is in the best interests of the child themselves. Regardless of who is making the child custody decisions, they should always be based on what is in the best interests of the child.

Facing child support dispute? Consider legal assistance

40324922_S.jpgWe've devoted a little bit of time on this blog to discussing child support. Child support can include many expenses, from day-to-day living costs to extracurricular activities and medical expenses. Although the state implements guidelines that serve as a starting point for child support considerations, the circumstances often justify a deviation from those recommendations. Of course, the facts of each case are often disputable, which could have a profound impact on a child support obligation.

These arguments are not just powerful on the front end of child support disputes, either. Instead, as we discussed recently on the blog, child support modification can be warranted if an individual's circumstances change substantially. So, a lost job, the onset of a medical condition or an increase in a child's needs may all warrant a child support modification.

Understanding divorce and legal separation

21622254_S.jpgWhen a couple has made the difficult decision to divorce, they may wonder what the divorce process will look like for them. In addition, couples considering divorce may wonder what options they have and how the process will play out in their situation.

There is no requirement in Missouri for a couple to legally separate prior to divorcing. Once they have filed for divorce, however, there is a 30-day waiting period that requires them to live apart. The laws and requirements differ in Illinois and in Kansas. In Kansas, there is a 60-day waiting period to divorce. In Illinois, a marriage is considered irretrievably broken after the couple has lived apart for 6 months. Because divorce laws vary by state, it is important to be familiar with the divorce and family laws in the state where the couple plans to file for their divorce.

A primer on child support modification

49639031_S.jpgChild support often plays a significant role in marriage dissolutions. After all, the outcome of this issue can result in serious financial ramifications. For custodial parents, a favorable resolution can ease the financial strain of raising a child alone. For noncustodial parents, an overwhelming child support obligation can be a financial death knell. With so much on the line, Midwesterners sometimes find themselves aggressively fighting over this issue. Yet, even once a child support order is in place, life changes may warrant a child support modification.

Generally speaking, child support can be modified when there has been a change in circumstances. For example, if a noncustodial parent loses his job, then his lack of income or decreased income, if he finds a lower paying job, may justify a change in a child support obligation. There are two sides to every coin, though, so a support obligation may be increased if a noncustodial parent obtains a higher paying job. Other justifications for child support modification may include the sudden onset of a child's or parent's medical condition and a change in childcare costs.

Property division sure to be tough in singer's divorce

105035816_S.jpgThe extremely popular torch singer Adele and her husband recently announced that they are seeking a divorce. Though they appear to be splitting on relatively good terms, the property division phase of their divorce could be highly complicated.

According to reports, the couple did not enter into a prenuptial agreement, and so they will have to agree on the division of their marital property as part of their divorce settlement. Adele's estimated worth is somewhere near $180 million, and they own property in the United States and the United Kingdom. The couple will likely have other issues to address, too, such as child custody, child support and perhaps alimony.

Legal help with the complexities of a high-net worth divorce

25768427_S.jpgIt is important for parents who are considering divorce in the St. Louis County and Missouri area to understand how child custody is determined where they live. This can help improve the outcome when divorcing parents need to sort out one of their most precious concerns regarding custody of their children following a divorce.

When making child custody determinations, certain factors are used to determine what is in the child's best interests. The child's best interest is the governing consideration for child custody concerns. The factors the family law court uses to determine what is in the best interests of the child includes the child's need to maintain close relationships with both parents; any planned relocation; the wishes of the child; the mental and physical well-being of each of the parties; the child's wishes; the willingness of each of the parents to help foster a healthy relationship with the other parent; each parent's proposed parenting plan and wishes for the child; and any history of abuse or neglect.

Divorce and the basics of spousal support

58387281_S.jpgStarting a new chapter of life post-divorce can be frightening and exciting at the same time. But anxiety can be amped up when marriage dissolution is accompanied by financial uncertainty. To avoid this, Midwesterners need to ensure that property division matters are handled with care. By doing so, they can ensure that they receive a fair portion of marital assets, which can start them off on the right financial footing.

Another way to obtain financial security post-divorce is to seek alimony, also referred to as spousal support. These financial payments are often awarded to spouses who gave up an education and/or career to support a family or further the education/career of the other spouse. In essence, spousal support is about providing a fair financial shake to those who have sacrificed for the sake of the marriage.

Child support can be broad in nature

82278583_S.jpgIf you're a parent in the Midwest, then you know that raising a child can be an expensive endeavor. Merely feeding children can be enough to send shockwaves across one's financial foundation, let alone clothing, schooling and extracurricular expenses. Fortunately, all parents should share in the financial responsibility of raising their children. This is why the law allows for custodial parents to seek child support from their noncustodial counterparts.

There is often some confusion about what child support can actually cover, though. While many think of child support as being narrowly tailored, it is, in fact, rather broad in nature, thereby encompassing a whole host of child-related expenses. Sure, basic necessities like food and clothing are taken into consideration when calculating a child support order, but so, too, are childcare, entertainment and even college costs.

Legal help with the complexities of a high net-worth divorce

18955969_S.jpgDivorce is rarely easy, but divorces can be especially complex for people with a high net worth. This is because wealthy individuals tend to own complex assets.

In all divorces, the parties must divide their marital property. Missouri and most other states follow a standard known as "equitable division." This means that the division of property must meet legal guidelines of fairness. In some cases, this can be accomplished by little more than splitting bank accounts, selling property and dividing the proceeds.

Child custody, visitation, and parental relocation

33134132_S.jpgMany people hope that their child custody issues will be resolved once and for all upon separation or divorce. The truth of the matter, though, is that child custody and visitation disputes can arise long after a couple splits. While Midwest parents need competent legal advocacy when negotiating or litigating child custody matters the first time around, they may also need that assistance when they deal with child custody and visitation modifications.

One commonly seen problem is parental relocation. This issue arises when a custodial parent seeks to move a significant distance away from the noncustodial parent. Of course, many concerns arise in these instances, including how the move will affect the relationship and bond between the child and the noncustodial parent. If the noncustodial parent consents to the move, then conflict may be avoided. However, oftentimes noncustodial parents feel like their relationship with their child is threatened by a proposed move, so they choose to contest the move.

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