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Springfield Divorce & Family Law Blog

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.

Authorities take custody of missing boy in noncustodial abduction

73927103_S.jpgNoncustodial parents in Missouri and elsewhere sometimes resort to drastic and illegal measures to spend more time with their children. A noncustodial father allegedly took his young son away from the child's mother in Texas in late 2017 without her knowledge and brought him to Florida. After more than a year, Florida law enforcement has now found the child and placed him in custody with Child Protective Services pending a reunion with his mother. 

For reasons that are unclear, it was only last week that Texas law enforcement filed the child's case as abduction by a noncustodial parent, despite the child's mother filing multiple reports against the father for interference with child custody beginning in January 2018. Following the father's alleged abduction of his child, a court granted the mother sole custody in February 2018.

Dealing with the marital home

10292964_S.jpgAmong the most important elements to be considered during divorce proceedings in Springfield is ownership of the marital home. One might go into a divorce case thinking that retaining ownership is an issue they will not compromise on, yet a careful analysis should be made on the reasons for such a stance. Having a practical reason (e.g., remaining close to family and friends, not wanting to uproot the kids from the community) may be justifiable, yet if the main reason is due to a lingering sense of vindictiveness towards their ex-spouse, one might want reconsider their position. 

Why? Should one spouse insist on keeping the house, then that party will likely have to refinance it in order to take the ex-spouse's name off the mortgage. This amounts to essentially taking out a completely new mortgage, and as the personal finance site NerdWallet points out, that can be difficult following a divorce. The original mortgage was likely obtained based on a couple's combined income. Qualifying for a similar amount on only one income can be difficult. 

Financial considerations for a post-50 divorce

45791375_S.jpgMost people who live in Missouri know someone personally who has gotten divorced or who may be in the midst of a divorce even now. Contrary to what some people may believe, more and more of these people are in their 50s, 60s or even older. Interestingly, in the last two decades, the number of people getting divorced after they reach the age of 50 continues to increase. In fact, according to data from Pew Research, the rate of divorce among people 50 or older is actually 109 percent higher today than it was a quarter of a century ago.

Getting divorced at any age can have a significant impact on a person financially. Getting divorced when a person is close to retirement or maybe has even already retired has a particularly significant financial impact on people. As explained by Forbes, this is a stage of life at which a person either has a reduced income, a fixed income or even a limited number of years left in which to reclaim any financial losses experienced during a divorce

Why should mothers care about establishing paternity?

30658660_S (2).jpgYou might assume that those concerns over the issue of paternity are primarily something that potential fathers have to deal with. Yet as a mother, you should also be concerned that someone is legally recognized as your child's father. Even if you do not plan on maintaining a relationship with your child's actual father, it is important that he (or another) be deemed responsible for the welfare of your child along with you. While studies show that children who have the involvement of two parents in their lives enjoy certain social benefits compared to those who do, there are other reasons why establishing the paternity of your child is important. 

Raising a child on your own can be difficult, especially if you have only your income to rely on. If another has been legally designated as your child's father, he can then also be held responsible for supporting your child. One does not have to be your child's biological father to be assigned paternity, either. If your spouse has claimed paternity of your child despite not being their biological father, then they can still be made to pay child support for them if you choose to divorce. 

How can I tell my preschooler about my divorce?

46166147_S.jpgIf you and your spouse in Missouri have made the hard decision to end your marriage and you have children together, one of the hardest things you will be faced with is telling your kids about the divorce and then subsequently supporting them as they adjust to the changes that are sure to come. There is no one way to do this in part because children need different things at different ages. If you have a preschool-aged child, you will want to keep things simple and be prepared for repeat conversations.

As explained by Today's Parent, the world of a three-year-old is a relatively self-centered and concrete one. When you initially share with your child that you and their other parent are not going to be living together anymore, you should be ready to discuss the child's everyday life. For example, you should let your child know who will take them to school, who will read them a bedtime story and if you are still going to a grandparent's house for dinner every Sunday.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
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  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
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