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Property division includes allocating marital debts

5285858_S.jpgDivorce can be a costly endeavor. After all, as we discussed previously on this blog, marital property is subject to the property division process. While disputes can arise as to what, exactly, qualifies as marital property, there is another aspect to property division that shouldn't be overlooked: debt.

Some forms of debt are relatively easy to handle during the marriage dissolution process. The party that takes the marital home, for example, will most likely take on its mortgage payments. The same holds true with vehicles still subject to an auto loan. Credit card debt, though, may be more challenging to untangle. This is primarily because neither party wants to take it, as there is no asset attached to it. Also, credit card debt can be brought on by either or both parties. Therefore, figuring out who should pay for what can be challenging.

What is legal separation?

51707783_S.jpgLegal separation is an important tool spouses considering divorce can use to their benefit. Because preparing for a divorce can be a stressful and emotional time, it is helpful for divorcing spouses to ensure all their questions related to the separation and divorce process are answered.

Legal separation is a specific legal process that does not end a marriage but does define the rights and obligations of the spouses while they are legally separated. A legal separation can clarify concerns related to child custody, child support, spousal support and property division for couples that have not decided if they want to divorce but want to live apart. Legal separation can also provide protections for any future earnings of the spouses.

How substance abuse can effect child custody

63688760_S.jpgThe Midwest, and America as a whole, is still in the throes of a drug epidemic. While positions on marijuana use have relaxed, the use of harder drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin are becoming more common. Sadly, many of those who struggle with drug addiction act as custodial parents. In these situations, children can be put in harm's way, and the state may intervene to ensure that they're well-being is protected. Before it gets to that point, though, noncustodial parents may want to seek custody through a court order establishing custody or a court order that modifies an existing order.

There are a number of reasons why doing so is of critical importance. Studies have shown that children who live in households where parental substance abuse is common find themselves amongst chaos and unpredictability. Confusion, insecurity, and self-blame are common amongst these children, primarily because they believe that they're actions can stop substance abuse. These children are also at-risk of being physically and sexually abused, as well as witnessing domestic violence.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

54429374_S.jpgMarriage is an exciting event. In addition to tying two people together emotionally and legally, the process is one that binds finances. This can leave some individuals concerned about their financial future even before the knot is tied. This is because these individuals fear that divorce could leave them in a disadvantageous financial position usually on account of the division of marital property.

Therefore, those who make a considerable amount more than their spouse, or those who expect to possess more assets than their spouse, may want to figure out a way to ensure that they retain a fair share of those assets in the event that their marriage comes to an end. The same holds true for those who may be foregoing a career to stay at home to take care of children. In these instances, a prenuptial agreement may be a viable way to protect financial interests, establish marital financial obligations and put minds at ease.

What expenses are covered by child support?

43470088_S.jpgChild support is an obligation parents have to their children which is why it is helpful for parents to understand how child support is determined and what expenses are generally intended to be covered by child support. Knowing how and why child support is calculated like it is can help parents who may feel stress associated with their child support obligations or child support enforcement concerns.

Though child support is intended to provide for the basic needs of the child, it is also intended to provide for much more than that. Child support is intended to provide for the basic necessities of the child; the medical care of the child; any educational fees of the child; childcare for the child; transportation and travel-related costs for the child; entertainment for the child; extracurricular activities the child participates in; and college expenses for the child.

What is equitable property division in divorce?

80055062_S.jpgThere's no doubt that divorce can be an emotionally trying process. Individuals who were once in love can find themselves vying over property and time with their children, and they may even fight over matters like child support and alimony. As emotionally devastating as marriage dissolution can be, Missouri and Illinois residents shouldn't lose sight of the fact that divorce is, amongst other things, a financial transaction of sorts. Therefore, failing to protect one's financial interests can lead to unsteady financial footing post-divorce.

Missouri and Illinois both recognize what is referred to as equitable property division. This means that marital assets should be divided in a way that is fair. Yet, this does not mean that assets have to be divided evenly. Instead, a court will consider a number of factors when determining how to split marital assets. Amongst these factors are the financial circumstances of each party, the financial contributions each party made to the marriage, any custody arrangements coming out of the divorce and the parties' conduct during the martial union.

Why do some choose a legal separation over a divorce?

104352160_S.jpgWhen a couple's marriage is on the rocks, it does not always mean that divorce is the inevitable resolution to their marital difficulties. In some circumstances, couples in Saint Louis County choose a legal separation over divorce. There are various reasons why some find legal separation preferable to divorce.

First, it is important to understand that an informal trial separation is not the same as a legal separation. A couple might voluntarily choose to live apart for a while before divorcing. However, for their separation to be a legal separation, there must be a court order that dictates the rights and responsibilities of each spouse, who are still married to one another even though they do not reside together. A divorce, of course, permanently ends a marriage.

How child custody decisions are made

92828894_S.jpgChild custody is usually high on the list of concerns for divorcing parents and couples. Because of this, it is always helpful for divorcing couples to understand how child custody concerns are handled through the family law process during divorce or otherwise.

Generally, child custody concerns are determined based on the guiding principle of what is in the best interests of the child. There are many factors the court considers when evaluating what child custody arrangement would be in the best interests of the child. The court will look to the mental and physical health of the parents; any special needs the child has and the ability of the parents to meet those needs; the wishes of the child; the age and sex of the child; and if there is any abuse.

What to do with the marital home in a divorce

42198973_S.jpgHome may be where the heart is, but when a married couple in Saint Louis County decides to divorce, what to do with the family home becomes a very pressing issue. After all, for many couples the family home is among their most valuable assets. Therefore, it is important that couples consider all their options when it comes to dividing the family home in a divorce.

The family home may have a lot of sentimental value for some, and sometimes one party wishes to keep the home, especially if they have children living with them. However, it is important to remember that homeownership can be expensive. Eventually, repairs and updates will need to be made on the property, and the party keeping the family home will be responsible for homeowner's insurance payments and property taxes. Moreover, the person keeping the home will be responsible for paying the mortgage on a single income, after refinancing the property in their own name following the divorce. Parties should keep these expenses in mind when deciding whether to keep the family home.

What child custody issues can a parenting plan address?

60259170_S.jpgEven parents in Saint Louis County who are facing the end of their marriage or relationship still want to do what is best for their child. Therefore, it is sometimes possible for them to put their differences aside and discuss their child custody issues out-of-court. Oftentimes the result of such conversations is a written parenting plan that can be approved by the court and made legally binding.

Some couples choose to enlist the aid of a third-party mediator when negotiating a parenting plan. And, even in an informal setting both parties can be represented by an attorney, to ensure their interests are protected and that they understand what they are agreeing to. There are several issues that a comprehensive parenting plan should address.

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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
  • Oklahoma County: 2601 NW Expressway, Suite 411 W, Oklahoma City, OK 73112 (opens 2/20):  Oklahoma City 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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