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Springfield Divorce & Family Law Blog

Challenging a prenuptial agreement

90459591_S.jpgAsking one's fiancée to sign a prenuptial agreement may be the last thing that one preparing for a wedding in Springfield wants to consider. Many may view such an action as immediately casting doubt as to whether the marriage will actually work out. Yet more and more people (particularly those coming into their marriages with significant assets) are requesting such agreement. Indeed, information shared by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has shown a 62 percent increase in such agreements in recent years. 

Typically, a prenuptial agreement stipulates the following: 

  • That the parties to a marriage will retain whatever assets they bring into the union
  • How whatever assets the couple earns during the marriage will divided in the event of a divorce
  • What each party is entitled to in a divorce settlement

Meeting health insurance needs following a divorce

48756392_S.jpgAs people in Springfield begin to plan for their post-divorce lives, one element that often comes to the forefront of their minds is how they will replace the financial support they had been receiving from their soon-to-be ex-spouses. Those who were not the primary income earners in their marital homes may be justly concerned as to how they will now see to their own (and potentially their children's) needs. Child and spousal support can help meet their day-to-day needs, but what about unplanned expenses such as healthcare costs? If the ex-spouse was the income earner, then they also likely secured the family's insurance coverage. 

Typically, the court will require that the ex-spouse continue to carry insurance for the kids. The other parent, however, might worry about having a coverage gap between the end of their marriage and the point where they can secure gainful employment. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act can help to bridge that gap. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, people whose affiliations with the organizations that sponsor their group health plans end are entitled for continuing coverage under COBRA (and divorce is included in the Act's list of qualifying events). 

Can grandparents in Missouri seek visitation rights?

42270988_S.jpgYou likely have as much love for your grandchildren in Springfield as you do for your own children. Thus, whenever any issue arises that may limit your access to them, you may justifiably want to fight for visitation rights. State family courts recognize that children are typically better served when they have as many loving supportive figures in their lives as possible. Thus, they may indeed consider your petition to be granted official grandparent visitation rights if and when the situation calls for it. 

According to Section 452.402 of Missouri's Domestic Relations Code, you can seek for grandparent visitation in any of the following scenarios: 

  • Your adult child dies and their children's surviving parent denies you access to them
  • Your adult child files for divorce from their spouse (if you fear that such an action will limit your access to your grandchildren
  • Your grandchild has lived in your home for a period of at least six months within the last 24 months and you have recently been denied access to your grandchildren for a period of over 90 days

How can I cope with a divorce I didn't want?

86194801_S.jpgGoing through a divorce is never easy, even when both parties are on the same page. However, the process can be even more difficult when your spouse was responsible for initiating the divorce. This can leave you reeling and may even cause feelings of intense loneliness and abandonment. MyDomaine.com offers the following tips to help you cope with an unwanted divorce. 

If you have a shared social circle with your ex, you might find some of them keeping their distance after the ink has dried on your divorce decree. While this is distressing, it's not all that uncommon. That's why it's so important to seek out new friendships to fill in the gaps. Join groups, take up hobbies, or contact friends you've fallen out of touch with. A robust social circle is integral to helping you heal, while also taking your mind off what you've been through. 

Is gaslighting a problem in my marriage?

41849062_S.jpgDomestic abuse can be both physical and emotional in nature. Gaslighting is one tactic that abusers use to make the victim question reality and their interpretation of events. Gaslighting involves lies, manipulation, and can be a valid reason for divorce for many couples. Psychology Today explains more about gaslighting so you can tell whether it's taking a toll on your marriage. 

Codependent relationships involve an unhealthy dynamic where one or both partners rely on each other to have all their emotional needs fulfilled. In abusive relationships, the person doling out the maltreatment is usually in control of the other partner, who looks to the spouse for acceptance and support. The victim of abuse will do all that he or she can to get the other person's approval in this case, including putting up with poor treatment and lies. 

Knowing when an alimony award may be likely

95886785_S.jpgIt has been detailed on this blog in the past that the awarding of alimony in divorce cases in Springfield is not automatic. Indeed, the court will take a very close look at both you and your ex-spouse to see where you might be financially as well as the circumstances of your marriage and subsequent divorce in order to determine if you should receive it (and for how long). Yet many of those that come to us here at The Stange Law Firm PC questioning whether there are truly any set criteria for the determination of spousal support, or whether the decision in each case is arbitrary. 

While the court does indeed consider the circumstances of each individual case, there are indeed certain circumstances which favor the awarding of alimony. These can be found in Section 452.335.1 of Missouri's Domestic Relations Code. The first fairly straightforward: if, after the awarding of your portion of your marital property, you still lack the resources needed to support yourself, then your chances of being awarded alimony may improve. Your alimony payments may be contingent on you trying to secure gainful employment, yet in some cases, that may not be possible. 

Managing summer vacations while coparenting

46604272_S.jpgWith schools set to get out for summer vacation very soon, parents in Missouri know they will have to adjust their schedules to fit in different routines and activities for their kids over the coming months. For divorced parents, this can be even more complicated as each parent must coordinate carefully with their former spouse. Learning how to do this while still maintaining some structure and consistency for their kids is an art unto itself.

As explained by Coparently, divorced moms and dads should take the ages of their children into consideration when making any summer visitation or vacation plans. For younger kids, it is best to avoid extremely long separations from one parent. As kids get older, more time can be spent away from one parent in a single trip or visit.

I have changed my name, what should I do now?

80978706_S.jpgFor a variety of reasons, such as a divorce, marriage, or a personal preference for a new name, people in Missouri may go through with a name change. Once this life-changing decision is fulfilled and you have a legally recognized new name, you may wonder what you should do next. To solidify your new identity, there are important steps you should take.

Per FindLaw, it is crucial to put your new name into practice. When you fill out applications and forms, put your new identity on them. When you make new acquaintances, friends, or enter into business arrangements, introduce yourself with your new name. Also let your existing friends and family know that you want them to refer to you by your new name.

The what and why of QDROs

104994456_S.jpgMissouri is an equitable distribution state, which means the family courts strive to split all marital assets fairly, if not necessarily equally. One such marital asset the courts must take into consideration is the higher earner's retirement plan. The division of many retirement plans require the help of a qualified domestic relations order.

According to the IRS, a qualified domestic relations order is a decree, judgment or order for a retirement plan to pay alimony, child support or assets to a former spouse, current spouse, child or dependent of the participant. The only assets a QDRO may award are those available under the plan. When a person receives money or other assets via a QDRO, he or she reports the payments as if he or she were a participant of the plan. What does all this essentially achieve, though? 

How high is the divorce rate in America?

44438970_S.jpgIf you are like many people in Missouri, you have probably heard references to how many marriages end in divorce. For some time now, many people have asserted that as many as one in every two couples who say, "I do" will eventually get divorced. However, this may not truly be what is happening today.

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the reality of divorce in America may actually look different based on which generations you are factoring in. For people in their mid-60s and older, the rate of divorce had grown threefold between 1990 and 2015. Take one step down in age to those between 55 and 64 and the rate of divorce grew twofold in that same period of time. Jump back even further, however, and the story is quite different.

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