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

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.

Handling visitation with an infant after divorce

95413181_S.jpgIn a Missouri divorce, there are many issues to navigate. One of the most complex is when the couple has recently had a child and must formulate a visitation schedule. Child custody, support and visitation can spark many areas of dispute. That's why it is important to understand how to address these situations effectively.

There are certain factors to consider with a visitation plan for an infant. New parents can face challenges at the beginning, including understanding when the child is crying due to hunger or because of fatigue. When handling visitation rights, it is important to be confident in the other parent. Discussing thoughts and concerns could be beneficial. Beginning the visitation sessions intermittently can prepare for longer visits. At first, it might be better to have more visits through the course of a week but of shorter duration. Visitation time could be expanded later.

Basic factors judges look at when determining child custody

20271198_S.jpgAs Missouri parents go through the divorce process, one of the main things on their minds has to do with who will get a legal custody of the children. Judges always have the best interests of the children in mind as they are making determinations about who will be granted custody of the children.

The ages of the children will likely be considered. Most courts want to maintain consistency for the children, especially if they are quite young. It is possible for courts to look at alternative arrangements as the children grow older. The judge will likely ask each parent about their preferences as far as custody of their children are concerned. This does not mean that their wishes will be granted, but it is likely that they will be taken into consideration.

Is it possible to test paternity before the baby's birth?

121948704_S.jpgIf you are not married to the mother of your child in Missouri, it is advisable to legally establish paternity as soon as it is feasible to protect your parental rights. This typically involves the administration of a DNA test. If your child is not yet born, you may wonder if you can get a head start on the process and have your DNA paternity test completed now. This is scientifically possible, but it may not be a good idea, and you may have a hard time finding a doctor willing to assist you in that regard. 

Before a DNA test can take place, it is necessary to collect samples of DNA from you, the child and the mother. For you and the mother, this is usually a simple matter of swabbing the inside of your cheek to collect cells and saliva. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are also two procedures that  allow a doctor to collect a baby's DNA before birth. The first, chorionic villus sampling, involves collecting cells from the placenta, which connects the baby's umbilical cord to the wall of the uterus. The second involves collecting a sample of the amniotic fluid, which is the watery substance in which the baby floats inside the womb. The name of this procedure is amniocentesis, and it requires the doctor to insert a needle through the mother's abdomen and into the uterus. 

Dealing with parental relocation

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The magnitude of divorce proceedings may make it difficult for those going through them in Springfield to maintain the perspective that life will indeed go on once they are resolved. Part of that may include one who is party to such proceedings deciding to move on to a new community. If the couple has children together, however, that can complicate matters (and bring up the bitterness that might have been present during their divorce once again).

To avoid this, the state has established guidelines that divorced parents are to follow when the issue of parental relocation arises. The court will consider adherence to these guidelines when determining the modification of a child custody agreement in the face of a proposed move. Thus, both the parent wanting to move and the one staying behind should be familiar with them. Those who think that such an issue would never come up in their case may want to think again; according to the website Move.org, "Family Reasons" and "Change in Marital Status" both rank among the top 10 reasons why Americans relocate.

Protecting your separate property

113972655_S.jpgA common concern that many of those preparing for a divorce in Springfield have is what sort of financial obligations the dissolution of their marriages will leave them with. For example, you may be fine with having to pay for the continued support and care of your children, yet you may not share the same affinity for doing so for your ex-spouse (particularly when their own actions have comprised your financial standing). Many of those in your same situation have come to us here at the Stange Law Firm PC concerned that even the separate property they hold will end up being impacted by a divorce. 

If you also worry about this, you should know that state law affords you certain protections in this regard. Section 452.170 of Missouri's Revised Statutes states that if your spouse's actions give you justifiable cause to live separate and apart from them, you may petition the court to ensure that any property you hold in your own right be reserved for your sole benefit. 

How do courts determine a child's best interest?

64398212_S.jpgAs a parent in Missouri, you and your ex-spouse must decide on a child custody arrangement. At Stange Law Firm, P.C., we understand that the impact of the arrangement on your child's well-being is a crucial deciding factor.

Of course, the well-being of your child is also the primary concern of the court. This means that they will make decisions that may not align with what you or your ex-spouse believe is the "best" option if they feel it will conflict with the child's best interests. 

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). 

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
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  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
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  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
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  • 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
  • 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
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