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Springfield Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Equitable distribution can work to your benefit

104261594_s.jpgEven at the best of times, a divorce is a complex situation. You're ending a relationship, but unlike relationships where you weren't married, you're obligated to go through your assets and be fair in how you divide them.

Missouri is an equitable distribution state, which means that judges who are asked to divide your marital property will divide it in a fair way. This isn't necessarily the same as dividing your property equally.

Establishing paternity could be in a child's best interest

12054218_s (2).jpgAfter paternity is established in Missouri, a child's legal father is typically required to pay child support. However, there are other benefits to establishing paternity that go beyond obtaining financial compensation each month. For instance, a child could be entitled to inherit a father's property or to receive death or other monetary benefits if the father passes on. In many cases, these rights could be forfeited if there is no legal connection between a man and his child.

In addition, a child gets access to his or her father's medical history after paternity has been established. This could be key in helping a minor overcome an illness or make it possible to take proactive steps to improve his or her health. An individual can either establish paternity voluntarily or be compelled to take a DNA test. If that person does not take the test, he may be considered a child's father by default.

Steps in appealing a child custody ruling

97054374_s.jpgParents who are unhappy with a judge's child custody ruling might wonder how they can appeal it. First, they should make sure they understand the rules that are specific to Missouri.

Usually, it is not possible to appeal the child custody order until it is final and complete. During the process of determining custody, courts may issue what might be known as interlocutory or temporary orders. These cannot be appealed. The complete custody order that the court finally releases is supposed to include a resolution of all the parents' custody issues.

How most divorces unfold

107378956_s.jpgWhile not every divorce that occurs in Missouri will follow the exact path from start to finish, there are several steps that generally occur in all cases. For example, the process typically begins with one spouse filing a formal complaint. The complaint will state why he or she wants to dissolve the marriage and propose a process for dividing marital assets. It must be filed both with the court and with the other party to the marriage.

The spouse who is served with the summons will be given about three weeks to answer the complaint. If no response is filed, a court may enter a judgement based on the terms the person initiating the proceeding proposed. If the other spouse disputes the proposed terms, it may be necessary to enter into mediation. Either before or during a mediation session, financial and other documents will be exchanged between the two parties.

Tips for using retirement funds in a divorce

47075291_s.jpgPeople in Missouri may find themselves struggling financially during a divorce. This may be even more likely if one person is shouldering most of the child-related expenses. Some people think that borrowing from a retirement account could offer a short-term solution, but there are a number of drawbacks.

One teacher who did not make enough money to cover expenses for herself and her three children withdrew $100,000 from her 401(k) after her husband stopped putting money into their joint account. However, she ended up with just $50,000 from this withdrawal. In addition to a tax bill of around $40,000, she also had to pay a 10% penalty for an early withdrawal.

Frequently asked questions about divorce

138449333_s.jpgMissouri residents and others may have many questions about how to get a divorce. For example, they may be wondering how much it will cost to end their marriage. In most cases, uncontested divorces will cost less than contested divorces. However, even if a case is resolved through mediation, it may be necessary to pay for a lawyer and other professionals who will help negotiate an agreement. Generally speaking, there is no way to prevent a divorce from happening.

Assuming that the state's requirements have been met, an individual may petition to dissolve a marriage at any time and for any reason. In most cases, the terms of a divorce settlement will not be influenced by the fact that a spouse committed adultery during the marriage. However, it may be used as leverage when negotiating the terms of the settlement.

Issues of international child abduction

68680390_s.jpgIt's not uncommon for a Missouri resident to get involved and marry someone from another country. If an international couple should have children and later separate, many issues could arise. In some cases, one parent will take their child and move abroad. The laws that are applied and the protections conferred depend on whether the countries involved are part of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. This is a treaty that has been ratified by 98 countries.

The treaty states that member countries must return the children to their country of habitual residence immediately if a parent takes their child without the court's permission to another country. There are specific facts establishing what 'habitual residence" means in those cases. The country of habitual residence then also sets up the custody rights. This is particularly important in cases of international abduction by a parent.

Handling finances during a divorce

20787308_s.jpgWhen people in Missouri decide to divorce, there can be substantial legal, emotional and financial consequences at the end of a marriage. Sorting out marital finances can be complex, but planning can help people get through a divorce with their financial future intact. One of the first steps to emerging successfully from a dissolution is understanding the assets that both partners have for distribution. In some cases, one partner may not know much about marital finances, especially if they have not been actively dealing with the bills, investments and savings.

People who are unaware of their financial situation may face a difficult time ensuring that they receive a fair share of marital property during the property division process. In order to get a better view of assets, people can list all of their accounts and get statements for them. These include regular bank accounts as well as investment funds and retirement plans. People will want to have a look at recent statements to better understand their financial position. It is also important to understand the couple's debt, so reviewing mortgage loan statements, credit card bills and other debt can present a fuller picture. Income tax returns can provide an overview of ongoing income, including investment earnings as well as salaries.

Common challenges women face during a divorce

28154385_s.jpgWhen women in Missouri go through a divorce, they are likely to face challenges that are different than the ones faced by men. Concerns about money, children and where to live are usually ranked the highest on the list pertaining to women's priorities after a divorce.

It's no wonder that women are often concerned about money after a divorce when looking at the statistics. After men divorce, it is common for them to experience a 30% increase in income. However, women who worked before marriage, during marriage or after a divorce are likely to experience a 20% decrease in income. It is also more likely for divorced women to experience poverty than divorced men.

Tips for successfully co-parenting with a narcissist

84789663_S.jpgIn order for divorced parents in Missouri to co-parent effectively, they need to learn to put up with each other. Unfortunately, when one co-parent is a narcissist or is difficult to deal with, the challenges associated with raising the children may become overwhelming. Here are a few co-parenting tips that can help individuals deal with a toxic person after their divorce.

New boundaries will need to be set after a divorce. Time parameters for communication will need to be set, and a person will have to stand by them. It may be advisable to only use email or a parenting portal to limit communication. It may also be helpful to block an ex from social media. A person will have to stand by these boundaries even if their ex challenges their resolve.

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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: 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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