Before beginning divorce proceedings you should give thoughtful consideration to a number of factors. For example, how much will it cost you to live alone and how much will it cost you to support your children. In addition, there is the cost of legal representation for the divorce itself. Divorce can be expensive, especially if the couple cannot agree on custody of the children and maintenance (formerly known as alimony).
Missouri is not a community property state. Community property laws (commonly referred to as the fifty-fifty (50-50) rule) control the division of assets in nine states including Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. The law of equitable division governs the remaining forty-one states including Missouri. The equitable division of property is not based on a specific formula, such as the fifty-fifty rule of community property, but is instead based on the premise of fairness and is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Child support is money that one parent is ordered to pay on a regular basis to help pay for the costs of raising his or her children. The exact dollar amount one pays in child support is a generally determined through a complex series of steps and formulas and considers the gross monthly income of each party, costs of child care; health insurance and other extraordinary expenses for the children are often included in the child support amount. Each party must pay their proportionate share.
Child support terminates when the child reaches the age of emancipation (most often 18 years of age). If the child attends college or trade school, the age of emancipation is extended to 21 years of age. If a child gets married or enters active duty military service or becomes self supporting, child support will also terminate.
If a parent is not paying their court ordered support, a wage assignment can be ordered requiring the employer to attach the wages of the parent and have the child support withheld and then sent directly to Jefferson City office of Family Support Payment Center. A garnishment can also capture money from bank accounts, and income tax refunds can be intercepted before they are issued to the person who fails to pay support.
Whether or not a party is entitled to maintenance (formerly referred to as alimony or spousal support) is in the discretion of the Judge if the parties cannot agree to an amount. There are many factors considered by the Judge including the age of the parties, the length of the marriage, the age of any children, work history, and any misconduct of the parties.September 12, 2013
What is Estate Planning?
“Estate” is the legal term used to define your property and money—basically, everything that belongs to you. Estate planning attorneys tell you different strategies you can use to transfer your belongings after you die. By planning your estate, you can maximize its value by minimizing taxes and eliminating court costs and interference. Estate planning attorneys also help you control and protect your estate during your lifetime, by writing documents that allow you to transfer property and money to children, charities, or others in a way you desire.
The basic tools used in estate planning include a Will also known as a Last Will and Testament, Trusts, when needed, Powers of Attorney for health care and financial needs, Advanced Healthcare Directives or what used to be called a Living Will and Beneficiary Deeds.
Powers of attorney for healthcare may help you avoid guardianship while financial powers of attorney may help you avoid conservatorship when you are incapacitated or become incompetent. An Advanced Healthcare Directive protects you from unwanted death prolonging medical procedures. Finally, a Beneficiary Deed helps you to avoid probate by transferring real estate upon your death. And Trusts are most often used with blended families or specifically to avoid estate tax consequences.
To learn more about estate planning, wills, and powers of attorney and how to avoid probate, in Lincoln, Pike, Warren and St. Charles Counties make an appointment today.June 13, 2013
It is important to understand the steps you need to take to file for a no-fault divorce in Missouri before you begin.
In Missouri, there is no need to provide grounds for a divorce in order to have a divorce granted. All that is necessary, is for one spouse to testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no likelihood the marriage can be preserved. If you are starting down this path, it is important to consult with a Missouri divorce lawyer who can help guide you. Continue reading →May 11, 2013
Since divorce can be a very painful, life-changing event, emotions often run high and it may be challenging for a divorcing couple to agree upon how to divide time with their children or specific assets. The longer a divorce drags out, the costlier it is in the long run for both parties. It is imperative to obtain the services of an experienced and compassionate Troy, Missouri divorce attorney to help fight for a fair settlement on your behalf. Continue reading →April 23, 2013
One in every five women stop pension payments after divorce, while half of married women make no contribution to their pensions while they are still married, according to new research from British financial specialist the Phoenix Group.
According to their findings, only one in every six have rights to their ex-husband’s pension and more than 38 percent said they had no idea what happened to pensions they did have during their marriage, following their divorce. In fact, only six percent of women surveyed had been granted rights to share the pension accrued during their union.
Additionally, 42 percent of the women surveyed said they were worse off financially after their divorces than they had been before. One in three don’t save any money at all and two in five didn’t know what settlement they received in their divorce.
The research was collected from online interviews of more than 2,000 divorcees aged 40 and older during September 2012. Phoenix Group is the UK’s largest specialist consolidator of closed life funds.
If you are facing a separation or divorce, it is imperative to work with a Troy, Missouri family attorney who can fight to make sure you are treated fairly in the process. Call today for your free, confidential consultation.March 23, 2013
Frequent television viewing could affect the status of a romantic relationship according to a study published last fall in Mass Communication and Society.
The study results published in an article entitled “When TV and Marriage Meet: A Social Exchange Analysis of the Impact of Television Viewing on Marital Satisfaction and Commitment,” found the more an individual believed in television portrayals of romance, the less likely they were to be committed in their relationships.
Dr. Jeremy Osborn from Albion College studied more than 390 married couples. The couples were asked about their satisfaction with their current romantic relationship, relationship expectations, relationship commitment, belief in television portrayals of romantic relationships, viewing frequency and several others that focused on their spousal relationship.
“In this study I found that people who believe the unrealistic portrayals on TV are actually less committed to their spouses and think their alternatives to their spouse are relatively attractive” Osborn, the article’s author said. “My hope would be that people would read this article and take a look at their own relationships and the relationships of those around them. How realistic are your expectations for your partner and where did those expectations come from?”
Osborn pointed out that the marriage failure in the United States was not dropping and it was important that people got a sense for the factors that could be contributing to those failures.
If you are in need of a Troy, Missouri family attorney, contact my office today for your free, initial consultation.February 20, 2013
Missouri lawmakers are debating a bill that may make it easier for adoptees to find their birth parents.
If House Bill 252 is passed, it would require the Missouri State Health Department to provide birth parents with a contact preference form as well as a medical history form that would be attached to a child’s birth certificate. Then, if both parties are willing, it would make the process of reconnecting easier.
Advocates for the bill argue it is important for a child to at least have access to medical records so they have a more complete medical history. A similar bill was passed last year by the House, but failed to clear the Senate.
Legislators have asked Rep. Jeanie Lauer, sponsor of the bill, to investigate how the proposed bill could affect those born through in vitro fertilization, surrogates and donates eggs and sperm as well as how it could affect the donors.
As the proposed bill stands, all adoptees 18 and older adopted after August 28, 2013, would be able to request a copy of their original birth certificate without the consent of their adoptive parents as long as there was no objections from the birth mother or the birth father.
If you are involved in an adoption, custody case or divorce, you may need counsel of an experienced Missouri Family Law Attorney. Call today for a free, initial consultation.February 4, 2013
Legislation that passed the Senate this week may steer Missouri couples more toward adopting a Missouri child over adopting one from outside the area.
Legislation passed the Senate eliminating a $2 million annual allotment of tax credits for those couples adopting children from outside Missouri, including foreign adoptions.
There had been a $2 million annual allotment of tax credits for special needs children adopted from Missouri as well as for those adopted from outside Missouri. The credit was initially set up to help cover nonrecurring adoption costs like home visits and legal fees. It was capped at $10,000 per child.
The tax credit was left in place for those adopting Missouri children. To qualify, a child must be determined as special needs by the Department of Social Services, Children’s Division or by a court. Any individual or couple adopting a special needs child or any business helping an employee with a special needs adoption could be eligible under the Missouri law.
It will now have to move through the House to gain full approval.
If you are in need of an attorney to assist in any family matters including adoption, divorce or custody issues, you want to speak with an experienced Missouri attorney. Call today for your free, initial consultation.December 22, 2012
With only one percent of all court cases even presented to the United States Supreme Court and with only a very small fraction of that percentage involving family law, it is rare a child custody case is ever heard by the nation’s highest courts.
So it was a rare occasion indeed when this past summer, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Chafin v Chafin, 11-1347 since most family law cases are usually heard in the state courts. At the beginning of December justices heard oral arguments in the case.
The case is an international custody battle and the question at stake is whether American federal appellate courts have authority to review a district court’s order returning a child to his or her habitual residence under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction once a child has left the United States.
This case involves an American military father, U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Lee Chafin and a Scottish mother, Lynne Chaffin, who were married and had a daughter born in Germany with dual United States and United Kingdom citizenship. The mother and child moved to Scotland when the father was deployed to Afghanistan and established residency there, but moved to Alabama when he was transferred there to be with him.
Reportedly, not long after moving to Alabama, the couple began having marital problems and the mother got an order allowing her to move the child back to Scotland, establishing it as her “habitual residence.” The mother and daughter relocated back to Scotland. Chafin went to the 11th circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, who ruled the case was moot since the two had already moved, but that contradicts a previous ruling by the 4th circuit court. Oral arguments were heard December 5 and the court is expected to issue a decision on the matter by summer 2013.
If you are facing a child custody battle, it is imperative to secure a family attorney who can help fight for your best interests in court. Call today for your free, initial consultation.November 24, 2012
Findings from a new study showed the divorce rates in the United States dropped during the Great Recession, but are beginning to rebound.
The study, conducted by Dr. Adbur Chowdhury at Marquette University titled, “Til Recession Do us Part: Booms, Busts and Divorce in the United States,” is scheduled to be published in the first part of 2013 in the journal Applied Economics Letters. Dr. Chowdhury said he found, after studying data from 45 states, the divorce rate began to decrease in the early spring of 2008 and he is finding the trend is beginning to reverse itself.
According to the study, during the Great Recession, few employment opportunities along with reductions of the value of marital assets like properties seemed to keep couples together for the time. The study also found a correlation between levels of disposable income. In particular, the more disposable income available, the higher the divorce rate.
As the recession began to ease up more, the rates then increased suggesting that the downturn just delayed, not deterred divorces during the hardest part.
If you are in need of a Missouri divorce attorney, call today to discuss your situation with a caring, experienced attorney.