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St. Louis Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Understanding different kinds of domestic violence

96099994_S.jpgDomestic violence and abuse can tear apart Missouri families. There are multiple types of domestic abuse, and survivors may need help and assistance to recover from all of these forms. Of course, physical abuse is the best-known type of abuse and the most widely recognized. However, emotional, sexual, financial and psychological abuse can be devastating to a relationship as well as the mental health of the victim. The abuse itself can create a situation in which it is difficult for the victim to leave the relationship. After leaving, the victim may be at risk of further violence.

Physical abuse can include hitting, shoving, punching or choking. It can also include forced use of drugs or interference with medication. Some people may dismiss certain types of physical abuse because they did not cause severe injuries to the victim. They may justify staying in the relationship if they were shoved or slapped a few times. Still, these incidents are a form of violence that is a mark of an abusive relationship.

The length of spousal support hinges on various circumstances

40164835_S (1).jpgWhen Missouri couples divorce, it is common for there to be an order for spousal support. This is also referred to as alimony and is meant to help one former spouse to make ends meet and maintain a similar lifestyle to what they had during the marriage. For many, a common worry centers around how long the payments will be made.

There are factors that will be considered with the duration of the payments. These payments can be temporary or permanent. A key aspect will be how long the marriage lasted. In general, alimony will be awarded if one party's economic opportunities were negatively impacted by the marriage. If one spouse was a homemaker and the other earned a living, the homemaker's ability to earn on his or her own was compromised by a lack of education and work experience. If there are children, this too will be considered.

Estimating the value of a house during a divorce buyout

76352539_S.jpgFor divorcing couples in Missouri, the family home is usually a major asset. One option that couples have is to sell the home and then split the profits. Another option is for one person to continue living in the home, especially if there are children, and buy their soon-to-be ex-spouse's share.

For a buyout to occur during a divorce, the couple needs to know the value of the house. They can hire appraisers to get the current fair market value of the house. Both parties should choose an appraiser even though this will essentially double the cost. However, it is usually necessary to come to an agreement. If the appraisers offer a similar number, everyone may feel satisfied with the calculation. However, if one appraiser had a number much higher or lower than the other, a third appraiser may be brought in.

Working through the difficulties of divorce

35085005_M.jpgMost Missouri couples don't plan to get a divorce. However, almost half of all first marriages come to an end, and the ensuing period can be challenging emotionally, practically and financially. Divorce can be difficult even for spouses unhappy in their marriages over a long period of time or for those who have reached a largely amicable resolution. Many people may experience depression and other health concerns in the period surrounding their divorce. They may withdraw from family and friends and pick up unhealthy habits.

However, there are ways that people going through a divorce can take action to protect themselves and support their own resilience and recovery. One of the most important things for many people is to turn to family and friends for support. They are willing to listen to concerns and always cheer for people going through a hard time. Some people might also want to seek professional support by going to a therapist. A therapist can listen with a professional ear and help people to work through challenging emotions and intimate concerns. In some cases, people may not feel comfortable sharing everything with a friend, and a therapist's office can be a safer space.

Satisfaction in marriage years after tying the knot

Couples in Missouri may wonder if it is true that marital satisfaction will steadily decline in the years after the couple exchanges vows. A common idea is that marriage will begin with hearts full of happiness, but that happiness and excitement will cool off as the years pass. It is common for researchers to refer to this as the honeymoon-is-over effect.

This perspective is being called into question thanks to new research. Recent studies are showing that it is actually quite common for spouses to experience high levels of marital satisfaction years or even decades after exchanging vows. One specific study focused on how satisfied married couples were throughout the years despite being economically disadvantaged.

It's not just men who try to hide assets during a divorce

13263448_S.jpgMissouri residents may be familiar with the stereotype of the wealthy husband trying to hide his assets in offshore accounts so that his soon-to-be ex-wife will not get her hands on his money. It is true that as long as there are laws that require a spouse to potentially lose some of their assets during a divorce, spouses might try to hide money. In recent decades, though, it has not just been the husband who has tried to hide away marital assets. There are several wives who are guilty of doing the same thing.

The stereotype of the husband trying to squirrel away money during a divorce may hurt men who are in a marriage where their wife makes as much money, if not more money, than they do. In many marriages, it is common for the wife to be the one who is in charge of the marital finances. She has the responsibility of making sure that credit card bills are paid on time, that tax issues are addressed, and that couple's investment portfolio is up-to-date.

Researchers find lack of love, trust given as divorce reasons

57198897_S.jpgResearchers who surveyed more than 2,300 divorced people say that emotional and not behavioral issues dominate the top reasons that people give for splitting up. Instead of marriages ending because of addiction or violence, researchers found that people separated because they no longer respected their spouses or grew apart. In an paper that appeared in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, researchers said their findings suggested that ideas about marriage are shifting and that people in Missouri and around the country are more willing to divorce if they are emotionally unfulfilled.

The top reason given by participants was that one or both of them no longer loved the other. In second place was a failure of communication, which has been extensively studied as a driver of divorce. Next came a lack of trust or respect. Some participants said there had been a breach of trust that could not be repaired. In fourth place, people said they had simply grown apart and no longer shared values or goals.

Best social media practices during divorce

10025429_S.jpgPeople in Missouri who are going through a relatively amicable divorce might want to talk to a spouse about how they will announce the split on social media. If the divorce is not amicable, they should resist the temptation to vent about it even to friends. Avoiding talking about the divorce is usually the best policy, and people may want to check their privacy settings and block anyone who might cause drama during the process.

One reason for using discretion before and during a divorce is that what people say online can later be used against them. Parents should be even more careful. Conflict online can be damaging to children just as conflict offline can be. Parents might also have strong feelings about how much information can be shared about their children online. They may want to include guidelines about this in a divorce agreement.

Study finds debt over wedding leads to divorce thoughts

35406586_S.jpgWhen Missouri couples are planning their wedding celebrations, they usually don't think about divorce. However, paying for the occasion and going into debt over it can result in couples considering ending their marriages. According to a study by LendingTree, going into debt over wedding expenses can have a significant impact on what happens after the wedding between the newlyweds.

The study was conducted online by Qualtrics for LendingTree and surveyed 506 people ages 18 to 53 who had gotten married in the last two years. The results revealed that about 45% of the respondents went into debt because of wedding costs. Accordingly, about 47% of those same people then fought over money as newlyweds and considered divorce. On the other hand, only 9% of the couples who didn't go into debt for their weddings considered divorce due to the expenses.

Tips for couples considering divorce

75110144_S.jpgCouples in Missouri who are considering divorce may be more likely to file in August or March. A study by University of Washington researchers that was presented at the American Sociological Association examined filings in the state from 2001 to 2015 and identified the pattern. Some divorce attorneys also say there are increases in January.

Whatever the time of year, people who are considering divorce may want to take several factors into account. First, they should think about what going through a divorce will involve. Some couples might benefit from discernment counseling, a type of counseling specifically aimed at couples who are very close to divorce and need to make a final decision. People should also make sure that they understand their finances. Spouses may not know how many credit cards they own or who is on the title of the house or other property. All of this information will be important in property division. People may also want to start assembling a legal and financial support team and turn to family members who can offer emotional support.

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