If you are planning to end your marriage in Springfield, MO, it’s important to understand the significant impact your divorce is likely to have on your financial situation. Regardless of your income and whether you expect to pay or receive child support and/or alimony from your soon-to-be ex-spouse, there are several important financial considerations everyone must address in their divorce proceedings. Taking time to carefully evaluate your financial situation and the potential outcomes of your divorce can pay off significantly in the long run.

Even a straightforward divorce case has the potential to cause difficult financial problems for the divorcing spouses. An experienced Springfield, MO divorce attorney is a fantastic asset to have on your side during this process. Your attorney can help you account for any relevant details and highlight easily overlooked aspects of divorce. The following are the most cited financial struggles from divorcing couples in the Springfield, MO area.

Property Division in Springfield, MO Divorces

If you are preparing for divorce, it’s natural to have concerns about how much of your property you will need to divide with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Missouri is one of many US states that upholds an equitable distribution law for property division in divorce. When a couple litigates their divorce, the judge overseeing property division will typically try to arrive at the fairest possible division of the couple’s marital property. However, this does not mean each spouse will receive exactly half of the property.

If a judge settles property division for a divorcing couple, the judge must evaluate each spouse’s income, job experience, separate property rights, and various other factors to determine the fairest possible method of division. In most equitable distribution states, judges strive to avoid the need for long-term spousal maintenance agreements. If one spouse earns significantly less income than the other and would generally be entitled to alimony, the judge may instead award them a larger share of marital property to compensate for the difference in income.

Spousal Maintenance

It’s possible for spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, to be awarded in a Springfield, MO divorce when one spouse earns more income than the other. The purpose of alimony is to enable the lower-earning spouse to maintain the standard of living they had while married. Alimony will then continue for as long as it would reasonably take the spouse to become fully self-sufficient. The amount paid in alimony typically hinges on the difference in income between the spouses. These payments must continue for a period that reflects the length of the marriage. If the couple was only married for a year or two, alimony may only be necessary for six months to one year. If the couple was married for ten years or more, the judge overseeing the divorce may award permanent alimony.

It’s also possible for couples to predetermine alimony with a prenuptial agreement. While many people hold unfavorable misconceptions about prenuptial contracts, the reality is that these agreements can enable marrying spouses to have difficult conversations before marrying. This allows them to enter their marriage with greater financial security and peace of mind. For example, a prenuptial contract can include postnuptial provisions that effectively serve as a blueprint for a future divorce if the couple decides to end their marriage. The prenuptial contract will likely stipulate the terms and conditions for alimony as well as property division.

Child Support

For divorcing parents in Springfield, MO, child custody and child support are likely to be the most important and contentious issues in their divorce proceedings. The Missouri family court has a legal obligation to ensure that any child custody agreement approved in the state suits the best interests and needs of the children it will affect. The purpose of child support is to ensure a child receives financial support from both of their parents. Thus, the terms of a child support agreement are contingent upon the terms of the parents’ custody agreement.

Child support will almost certainly come into play after the child custody determination in a divorce. Unless both parents earn the exact same amount of income, hold equivalent separate property, and receive 50/50 custody rights, one parent is likely to assume a greater share of custody rights than the other. This custodial parent will then receive child support from the noncustodial parent.

US family courts generally uphold that custodial parents fulfill their financial obligations to their children by managing their everyday needs and expenses. The noncustodial parent must fulfill their support obligation with child support payments to the custodial parent on a regular basis. Child support will continue until the child reaches the age of 18, but it is possible to extend child support under certain conditions. For example, a parent may request child support to continue until a child finishes their college education.

Changing Your Divorce Order

Important financial aspects of divorce like alimony, child support, and property division are difficult for many people to address without reliable legal counsel on their side. However, life can also present unexpected challenges, such as accidents, job loss, and development of disabling medical conditions. If you experience an unforeseen change in your life that affects your ability to meet the financial obligations required by your divorce agreement, you may need to petition the Springfield, MO family court for a modification to your divorce order.

The modification system is a simplified process that allows parties to request reasonable and necessary changes to the terms of their family court orders. If you believe recent events qualify as grounds to alter a spousal support or child support agreement, a Springfield, MO family law attorney can help you draft your petition for modification and guide you through the process. Your petition must include a complete description of your desired changes and your evidence showing why these changes are both reasonable and necessary.

Your divorce is likely to pose several financial challenges, some of which will be more difficult to resolve than others. One of the best things you can do to offset the financial pressure divorce can cause is to hire an experienced attorney to represent you. If you are concerned about the outcome of your impending divorce case, contact a Springfield, MO divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.