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St. Charles Divorce Law Blog

Establish paternity to help your children get what they deserve

When it comes to family, nothing is more important than your children. Watching them grow into full adults is a rewarding experience for many. You help them shape their values, get through difficulty and support them in their successes and their failures. They are your legacy.

Unfortunately, some fathers can be denied a hand in raising their child in various circumstances. It is becoming more and more common for a father to want to support the child financially or get visitation rights. If this is the case, a father deserves a chance to prove himself ready and able to help out his child.

What will happen to my business in the divorce?

Starting up a new business takes a toll on a person's health and can eventually even affect their marriage. While a Missouri resident is working hard to start up their business, their spouse may be on the way out of their marriage, leaving the other person confused, emotionally distraught and financially vulnerable. With between 40 and 50 percent of all first marriages ending in divorce in the country, the end of a marriage is not so out of the question that one should not take precautions to protect the business they have worked so hard to create.

If a divorce seems imminent, then one of the most important steps spouses should take is keeping good records and keeping the family finances separate from the business ones. This means not to borrow from the family account to pay for the business fuel. In addition to this, it might be beneficial to pay oneself a good salary from the onset-the more assets available, the more there are to split.

What is an unconscionable prenuptial agreement?

The period between an engagement and the wedding ceremony is perhaps the most romantic time for a couple-the anticipation, excitement and elation that one feels before getting married is unparalleled and simply talking to one's future spouse is a delightful experience. But when the conversation turns to a prenuptial agreement, all the romance goes out of the equation. Discussing how to divide property and debt in the event of a divorce, before the couple even gets married, is a damper on all joyful emotion.

Even though marriage is a financial partnership in addition to a romantic one, many couples avoid the topic because they don't want to taint the occasion with discussions of the marriage ending. However, confronting these issues head-on early, before they crop up during a disagreement later or cause family law issues in the event of a divorce, is a sound decision. And getting an experienced attorney on one's side to handle the intricate details can ensure the couple doesn't have to get into it with one another. Without a prenuptial agreement, the courts in Missouri will decide how to divide the marital property according to what they consider is just.

Effect of domestic violence accusations on custody awards

With there being at least three million children witnessing acts of domestic violence annually across the country, it is suffice to say that it is becoming an epidemic in the country. In fact, many couples in Missouri as well as the rest of the country, may be filing for divorce because of domestic violence. When there are children involved in the marriage, the accusations of domestic violence affect both custody and visitation determinations.

With accusations of domestic violence flying about, courts are careful to consider a number of factors before deciding child custody. Among other factors, judges look at whether the acts were directed against or had an effect on the children involved and if the parent continues to pose a danger to the children in question. Courts try to determine future behavior by looking at the severity and frequency of domestic violence in the house and if there is a pending criminal case against the accused. Courts also consider evidence of abuse, such as photographs and police reports.

What can I do to help my child adjust in school after my divorce?

Parents with children know that the real new year doesn't begin on January 1, but when children begin their new school year. It means new beginnings-either through a new school, class, teacher or friends. For many children, it could also be the first time they are attending school after their parent's divorce has been finalized and the new school year is even more stressful than it should be.

Missouri parents can help their children transition through the first couple of months back in school by planning ahead of time and communicating with one another in the process. As difficult as their divorce may have been, it is time to put their children's best interests at the forefront and smooth the way for them.

Extracurricular costs and child support calculations

When a divorce is finalized in Missouri, including the child support order, many parents may believe that is the end of the family law legal issues they will face before moving on with their lives. But then school starts, and so do the extracurricular activities, bringing about the question: who is going to pay for the activities and the material associated with them?

With courts moving towards a 50/50 split in costs, each parent becomes equally responsible for their children's upbringing. In an ideal situation, the child support agreement outlines the breakdown of these financial obligations. Generally, primary custodians are responsible for the cost of supplies, clothing and school lunches, but support payments should also factor in these costs.

Knowledgeable assistance on family law issues during divorce

When a family is living together as a single unit in Missouri, it gives all the members of the unit stability, especially the children, who may not be aware of the struggles the parents are going through to keep up a united front. For various reasons, the couple may no longer be able to remain married to one another and decide to get a divorce, opening up a Pandora's box of questions from the children. But often, it is not only the children who have the questions; even the parents are now going into unchartered territory, where not only is everything familiar to them going to change, but they will also be introduced to new legal concepts they do not understand.

At these times, it helps to have someone who is knowledgeable in family law by one's side. Someone who can explain the ins and outs of the divorce process and advocate for one's best interests even when that individual is too emotionally drained to understand what is going on. Lawyers at our firm can provide that guidance, as we draw upon years of experience of representing clients in resolving a range of family law issues, from child custody to asset division.

Consequences of failure to pay child support

Child support is an essential financial resource for the parent who has custody of the children. It allows that individual to provide for the children's day-to-day needs, medical expenses, educational obligations and other financial requirements. If a divorcing couple is unable to formally agree to the amount, the court will step in and issue a court order regarding child support payments, and then it is the legal obligation of one parent to complete these payments on time to the other payment. But what happens when the paying parent stops making those payments, for whatever reason?

In addition to the emotional turmoil this can send the custodial parent into, it can also lead to a lot of financial instability. This is perhaps why Missouri has established an agency named the Missouri Family Support Division- Child Support Enforcement. This agency helps parents and guardians enforce child support orders. The FSD uses an administrative process for enforcement.

What factors lead to a just property division in divorce?

Many couples in Missouri may think nothing of opening joint bank accounts after they get married, and depositing all money or paying all bills from that account. Where that ordinarily may be fine, if their marriage does not last, it could end up being a problem as the court would have to determine how to split the property between them. In Missouri, the courts assume that property acquired after the couple got married is marital property. This means that property can be divided in the event of a divorce.

What does not qualify as marital property? Generally, inheritances, wills or bequests are not considered. In addition to this, property that was acquired by exchanging separate property, or property designated as separate through an agreement, such as a premarital agreement. Interestingly, even where non-marital property is comingled with marital property, courts might not divide it in Missouri.

Tips to help kids transition back home after summer visitations

Most courts, including those in Missouri, encourage joint physical custody after a couple divorces. This means that, barring exceptions, they prefer couples share physical custody of their children, with both parents spending significant amounts of time with the kids. This helps foster a loving relationship between each parent and child. However, for this to be successful, both parents must be living relatively close to one another, and this is not always the case. When parents live on opposite sides of the country, the court must come up with other custody and visitation orders.

Since summer is always a long break for children, most parents are ordered to share some form of visitation schedule over the summer, and that may require the child to spend most, if not all, of their vacation with the other parent. When they return to their custodial homes, they may be depressed, confused and even stressed out. But custodial parents can take a few steps to ease the transition.

Joseph J. Porzenski
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