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St. Louis Family Law Blog

Important financial aspects of divorce

There are a number of financial elements Missouri couples need to keep in mind when they are ending their marriage. For example, since alimony payments for divorces finalized after the end of 2018 will no longer be tax-deductible by the payer or counted as taxable income by the recipient, some couples may want to try to wrap up their divorces quickly. However, people should not rush to meet this deadline since the cost of not taking enough time could be even higher.

Older people who are getting a divorce may be concerned about dividing their retirement accounts, and this can be a complex process. To divide a 401(k), they will need a qualified domestic relations order to avoid penalties, and the distribution needs to be rolled into a recipient's IRA. Some couples may decide to skip this altogether and have one keep the retirement account while the other keeps the home, but in this case, it is important for the person keeping the home to make sure it is affordable.

Pediatrician sets guidelines for divorcing parents

In Missouri and across the United States, divorce can be a difficult and emotional experience. For children, a divorce may mean separation from a parent, a change in routine and a new residence or school. Combined, these changes may create distress in a child that can manifest in behavioral changes, emotional outbursts and poor performance in school. In order to handle these changes as a divorcing parent and equip children with the tools needed to persevere, a nationally recognized pediatrician and author has recommended a set of guidelines for parents to follow.

Among these guidelines are maintaining consistency in routine, providing reassurance and co-parenting when possible. In addition, the guidelines recommend fostering the following in children: character building, healthy coping mechanisms, the ability to responsibly control situations, and connection between parents, peers and teachers. It is believed that abiding by these guidelines will make transitioning easier for parents and children when facing family legal issues.

Military divorce rate virtually unchanged in 2017

13406378_S.jpgThe divorce rate among members of the armed services in Missouri and around the country was 3 percent in 2017, according to figures released in March by the Department of Defense. The Pentagon says that 2017 is the fourth consecutive year that the military divorce rate has fluctuated between 3 and 3.1 percent. This figure is determined by comparing the number of married service members at the beginning of the fiscal year with the number of divorces reported during the year.

The Pentagon also provides military divorce statistics sorted by paygrade and gender for each branch of the armed services. Military planners use this information to identify areas of concern and branches that could do more to support married service personnel. The divorce rate among women in the Marine Corps has been far higher than in other branches for several years; it reached 9.9 percent in 2010. Analysts say that this persistently high divorce rate among female marines raises questions about family policies in the Marine Corps.

Steps parents can take to win back child custody

96039686_S.jpgMissouri parents might lose custody of their children if a judge decides it is not in the best interests of the children to remain with one or both parents. The child may go to live with relatives, a foster family or the other parent. However, it might be possible for the parent to regain custody.

The first step is to understand the reasoning behind the judge's decision. The parent may have been unfairly accused of abuse or neglect or may have been in violation of a court order. The judge may have ordered the parent to take certain actions before regaining custody such as attending a rehabilitation program for substance abuse. The parent should comply with these requirements rather than trying to argue against them in court. The parent may also want to hire an attorney.

Co-parenting success is a worthy goal for splitting couples

35083144_S.jpgThe most common concern for Missouri parents going through divorce is the well-being of their children and making sure they are able to maintain and nurture a relationship with them after separation. Fortunately, there are helpful methods to create a successful co-parenting relationship. It requires cooperation and the setting aside of egos, but there are countless examples of healthy co-parenting to which one may look for inspiration.

The most common theme running through stories of good co-parenting is the commitment from each parent to put the children first. There is usually a certain level of acrimony when couples divorce. Allowing the hard feelings to bleed into parenting relationships can be toxic for children, who need both parents to prosper. Adopting a strict policy of no disparagement of the other parent in the presence of children is recommended. Parents should also refrain from involving children in their disputes, even if the kids are central to whatever disagreement exists between parents. Paramount to healthy co-parenting is a conscious encouragement and nurturing of the child's relationship with the other parent.

How money helps abuse victims leave their partners

61935138_S.jpgVictims of abuse in Missouri and throughout the United States often cite an inability to get time off from work as a reason for not leaving their abusers. When a person chooses to leave a relationship, they need time to meet with attorneys or look for an apartment. They generally need time to engage in the process of recovering both physically and emotionally.

While countries like New Zealand offer paid leave for victims of domestic abuse, that typically isn't the case in the United States. Only eight states and six other cities have any policy that allows for workers to take time off to leave an abusive relationship. According to a survey done in 2017, 42 percent of American employers don't offer paid leave for victims of domestic abuse. If a company lacks such a policy, employees can be vulnerable to termination with little recourse if that happens.

Splitting finances can be difficult in divorces

38739713_S.jpgFinances are a big concern for Missouri couples going through a divorce. These spouses may wonder what they'll have left after the property division process and if one income will be enough to support the lifestyle to which they are accustomed as a couple.

When it comes to financial issues, a divorcing person should focus on four areas: assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Assets can include bank accounts, stocks/bonds and retirement accounts. Tax implications of any asset being divided should also be taken into account. What looks fair on paper to both spouses may be unfavorable to one when it comes to paying taxes.

Many different types of child support cases exist

Parents in Missouri who have to deal with child support payments may sometimes get confused about the issue. In fact, there are multiple kinds of child support cases. Therefore, parents should understand the importance of knowing what type of case they have.

Child support cases that are designated as IV-D are cases in which the custodial parents receive help from the Office of Child Support Enforcement to determine paternity, locate the non-custodial parents or create and implement child support orders. In IV-A cases, the public assistance the custodial parents receive is from the state, which will bring the cases to the attention of the Office of Child Support Enforcement to try to obtain payments from the non-custodial parent directly in order to reduce costs. In IV-E cases, which are also referred to the Office of Child Support Enforcement, the children are under the care of someone other than their parents. Non-IV-D cases are those in which child support is handled privately.

Women often face surprises after divorce

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Missouri wives who are interested in getting a divorce may be interested to learn about a survey of women in the same boat. Out of 1,785 women who were polled, 46 percent stated that getting a divorce resulted in unpleasant financial surprises.

The participants in the survey included women who were about to get divorced, in the middle of the divorce process and already divorced. Women who were 55 years old or older made up 22 percent of the participants; the majority of these women were already divorced.

Designing a plan to raise children after divorce

30116092_S.jpgMissouri parents who are getting divorced need to come up with a plan for raising their children based on custody and visitation agreements. While designing such a plan can have its challenges, there are some factors to consider that might help parents through the process.

To begin with, parents should imagine how their kids feel about the changes. Children will gain some things and lose others due to this new reality. With this in mind, parents can then figure out the logistics of life post-divorce -- where each parent will live, where the kids will go to school and how transportation will work. As part of this, parents must also consider their children's schedules at school and extra-curricular activities. If the children are old enough, parents might consider including them in this decision-making process. If any of the children have special needs, the plan needs to consider what the best environment is for the child and their needs.

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