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

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.

Child support obligations can vary by state

60511156_S.jpgChild support issues can be contentious for divorced parents in Missouri and nationwide. A study conducted by Custody X Change, a smartphone app that aims to help parents manage child custody and visitation schedules, reveals that support payments can vary widely depending on the state in which the parents live. The potential recalculation of child support may be a significant factor if parents are thinking about relocating. While national statistics can vary widely, Missouri's average payments are in the second-lowest of four tiers.

There are multiple factors that go into the calculation of child support amounts. The study compared absolute numbers using the same data for each state, where payments were calculated for a hypothetical family with two children, a custodial mother and a non-custodial father, both of whom are employed full-time. Child support payments for the same family with the same income can vary by as much as $700, depending on the state in which they live. While Missouri ranked in the lower middle of the pack, other states had still lower child support assessments, such as the Rocky Mountain states and, surprisingly, New Jersey and Virginia, despite relatively high costs of living.

Divorce concerns for small business owners

51441469_S.jpgFor business owners in Missouri, divorce can come with unique concerns and issues. This is especially true on the financial level, where changes that emerge from divorce can have long-term effects that remain after the emotional and practical issues have been settled. Because business owners often combine their income and their assets and both spouses may be involved in the company, divorce presents a different challenge. However, entrepreneurs can take steps to help protect their companies and emerge successfully from the process.

In many cases, a closely-held business is the largest, most significant marital asset. It may also provide the bulk of a couple's income. Both of these factors mean that handling the business will be a significant part of the negotiations over property division. As Missouri is an equitable distribution state, there may be different fair agreements between the spouses rather than simply dividing everything in half. The relative involvement of each spouse in the business may, for example, be taken into account. At the same time, some business owners may try to hide marital assets or reduce their income artificially. Prior declarations for taxes and other documents can be used to expose attempts to keep assets out of a divorce.

Pro baseball player and wife headed for high asset divorce

9755726_S.jpgDivorce in Chicago is a difficult process, but it can be more complicated when it is a high asset divorce and involves two prominent people. Regardless of the financial circumstances and if the case is a topic in the media, it is always important for the spouses to have legal assistance with their case. A recent divorce filing between a professional baseball player and his professional singer wife is an example of the complex nature of these situations.

Chicago Cubs player Ben Zobrist and his wife Julianna have made separate court filings related to their marriage. She filed for divorce in Cook County; he filed to legally separate in Tennessee. Mr. Zobrist took a leave of absence from the team. Mrs. Zobrist has been a vocal performer at several venues including the 2016 World Series and prior to regular season ballgames.

Changes to SNAP could help children

42308258_S.jpgParents in Missouri and elsewhere who benefit from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, may need to enter a child support agreement to obtain benefits. This was according to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture memo encouraging state leaders to enforce such a rule. There are roughly 40 million Americans who participate in the program, and many of them are children who live in homes with a single parent.

Often, these children live in poverty because noncustodial parents don't pay child support. By tying SNAP benefits to child support agreements, it aims to reduce the child support gap by about $13.5 billion. However, some argue that it could result in a noncustodial parent lashing out at a custodial parent, which would not benefit the child. This is why the USDA will allow states to review cases to determine if a forced agreement could cause harm to a parent or child.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
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