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St. Louis Family Law Blog

Reasons to stay married and when it's time to get divorced

42846561_S.jpgWhen some Missouri parents are considering divorce, they may question whether splitting up will have a major impact on the children. Depending on a family's situation, there may be reasons to stay married until the children are older. There also may be reasons to go through with the divorce.

Some parents may wish to stay together if there is still hope that the marriage can be repaired. While this often requires hard work and dedication, there are cases when couples have been able to work through the problems. Some spouses are simply better together than apart even if there is no longer any love there. Other parents chose to stay together because they understand the long-term effects of a divorce on children.

Keeping assets separate without a prenuptial agreement

37541052_S.jpgPrenuptial agreements may be one way for couples in Missouri and throughout the country to protect their finances. However, it may not be the only option to protect funds or other property brought into a marriage. While talking about asset protection may not sound romantic, it can serve a variety of purposes. For instance, it may allow an individual to learn more about his or her partner's current financial situation and long-term outlook.

This may be important if a future spouse has debt of any kind. By keeping personal assets separate, creditors may not be able to come after them if a spouse doesn't pay a debt balance in a timely manner. Therefore, keeping personal assets separate may be ideal even if the marriage is successful. One way to keep personal funds separate from marital funds is to keep them in separate accounts.

Common reason for divorce

11065830_S.jpgThere may be a number of reasons why the marriages of Missouri couples break down and end in divorce. One of those reasons is infidelity. This may be physical or just emotional, and it may happen once or multiple times before the marriage ends. Money problems are another reason. Poverty or a wife making more money than her husband are both examples of financial issues that can cause stress in a marriage.

Various types of addictions may also bring an end to a marriage as can situations such as the death of a child or the diagnosis of a serious illness. Some couples are also simply incompatible. They might disagree on where to live or the career path each wants to take. Ultimately, the couple may end up with irreconcilable differences meaning that they are unable to resolve their problems.

Unmarried couples and child custody rights

19263047_S.jpgA parent in Missouri or anywhere else in America has the right to seek child custody or visitation rights. This is true whether the child's parents were married at the time of birth. The law generally believes that a child benefits most when both parents are in their life unless there is evidence that proves otherwise in a given case.

For fathers, the first step in the process is to establish paternity of a child. This may be done simply by filling out a form either before or after the child is born. However, it may be necessary to have a DNA test done in the event that paternity is disputed. If paternity is established, child custody or visitation agreements may be negotiated by the parents themselves. This is generally referred to as a parenting plan.

Miguel Cabrera sued in child support case

9755724_S.jpgMissouri residents are likely aware of who Miguel Cabrera is for what he does on the baseball field. A woman has filed a lawsuit against him based on something he did in his personal life. According to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court in Florida, Cabrera reduced child support payments in 2017 for two children he supposedly fathered with her. He allegedly fathered the first child in 2013 and the second in 2015.

Cabrera had been making child support payments to the women since 2013. Under Florida law, he would be required to pay the mother 7.5 percent of his salary based on the facts that he has two children and makes more than $10,000 a year. This past year, he made $30 million playing for the Tigers. Therefore, he would owe $2.25 million to the mother of his children.

The impact of pets on domestic violence victims

47583144_S.jpgDomestic violence victims living in St. Louis and around the country face unique challenges. Many would like to leave their current situation but face numerous obstacles, including fear of their abusers, financial problems and even concern about what will happen to their pets.

Recent studies have shown that domestic abusers will often abuse or threaten companion animals as a way of controlling their human victims. For example, an abuser might threaten to harm a victim's pet if the victim does not comply with the abuser's demands. In other cases, the abuser may harm the pet as a way of further terrorizing the partner.

Pitfalls for older couples facing divorce

39458626_S.jpgOlder Missouri couples who are facing divorce may be concerned about their retirement savings. The divorce rate for people 50 and older has gone up about twice as much compared to the 1990s, but older people may also be particularly vulnerable financially. They may have fewer employment opportunities and less time to rebuild assets lost during the divorce.

There are also certain financial mistakes some people make that can worsen the situation. For example, some of the decisions people make during property division are driven by emotion. One of those decisions might be to keep the family home in lieu of other assets. The problem is that it could decline in value. This happened to a woman who gave up her 401(k) and had a good job but developed a health problem. She had to retire early and eventually lost the home. However, couples who decide to sell their home will face obstacles as well. Inspections and upgrades necessary for the sale can be expensive.

Divorcing: don't forget the tax implications

39056435_S.jpgWith all the changes a divorce brings, Missouri residents who are going through this process might forget that the end of a marriage also results in important new tax implications. Remembering that these changes are imminent is important in planning for the post-divorce future.

After divorce, the filing status of each person will change. "Married filing jointly" and "married filing separately" can no longer be used as filing statuses. Instead, divorcees will need to file as single or as head of household (if there are dependents who live at home with them). Additionally, the new filing statuses also mean that the tax brackets they use will be different.

Prenuptial agreements can be a good option for career couples

33143949_S.jpgAs Missouri couples approach marriage at a later age and with more developed career paths, prenuptial agreements can be an appealing option to protect both parties' interests. The thought of disentangling personal businesses, investments and retirement funds upon divorce can be particularly troubling for couples consisting of two high-powered career achievers.

For others, matters of inheritance can lead people to consider prenuptial agreements, especially in the cases of future inheritances which involve family properties, businesses or heirlooms that are expected to stay within the family circle. In any case, prenuptial agreements can be an important part of marriage planning for many couples.

People of all economic levels may be domestic violence victims

21924131_S.jpgSome Missourians have the misconception that domestic violence only happens to people in lower socioeconomic levels. This is not true. It happens to people no matter how much or how little money that they might have.

A recent murder-suicide case that happened in Springfield illustrates that domestic violence happens at all income levels. In the case, a 66-year-old affluent man shot his 27-year-old girlfriend in the head before shooting himself. The murder-suicide happened inside the man's 4,800-square foot home that overlooked a golf course. The home was located in an upscale gated community and shocked the city.

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