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Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

The growing popularity of pre-nuptial arrangements

The ending of a marriage has the potential to be both unpredictable and traumatic. In the event that a marriage in Missouri terminates in divorce, the property of both individuals will be classified as either marital or personal. The marital property will be divided between the two departing spouses in a complex series of legal actions. If alimony is considered, one spouse could suffer extreme economic losses. That's why many individuals who are entering marriage are deciding to protect themselves via a prenuptial agreement.

Although prenuptial agreements have an unsavory reputation for some, others see them as a way to eliminate any pretense of bad motives. Improper distribution of property during a divorce has a tendency to occur during what is an emotional time. Therefore, it can provide peace of mind to put some thought into possible worse-case scenarios.

Dividing a retirement account in a divorce

30529625_S.jpgIn Missouri and around the country, the divorce rate is rising among people over 50. This age group was two times more likely to get divorced in 2014 than they were in 1990. People over 65 were three times more likely to end their marriages in that year compared to 1990.

This means that retirement accounts are a big concern for many divorcing couples. Usually, retirement accounts are treated as marital property. This is the case whether one or both couples has been contributing to an account. In some cases, a spouse might prefer to take the house rather than their portion of the retirement account. However, this is a decision that should be considered carefully. A dependent spouse might not realize the worth of the account. If a person has contributed the maximum amount to a retirement account throughout their life, its worth might be close to $1 million. Furthermore, there may be significant expenses associated with maintaining a house.

Determining the value of a business during a divorce

39878823_S.jpgWhen divorcing Missouri couples are determining how they want to divide their assets, they will also have to figure what is best for any businesses that were started during the course of the marriage. Before the assets can be properly divided, however, the value of the business must first be determined.

In general, there are two different analyses that can be done to determine the value of a business. A full valuation is the actual monetary value of the business. This analysis is important if a third party, like an arbitrator or a judge, is going to be using the result to divide up assets and property. While a full valuation does offer greater reliability, there are a few downsides. The service can be expensive and can take more time to complete.

Helping kids adjust to divorce

36719655_S.jpgMissouri parents place a huge priority on the well-being of their children. This is particularly true during and after a divorce. Even in amicable divorces, the transition from living together as a family to separate households can be very difficult for kids. That is why parents often take special care to minimize the trauma and to stabilize their lifestyle as quickly as possible.

Mental health and family experts generally agree that there is a lot that parents can do to reduce the negative impact of a divorce on children. It's very important that parents look after their emotional and physical needs at this time, as it can be stressful for them as well.

Study finds that divorce numbers rise in March and August

52414733_S.jpgMissouri couples who are contemplating ending their marriage may be interested to learn that a study found that divorce filings peak in August and March. The study, which analyzed filings from 2001 to 2015 in Washington state, found that the filing numbers peaked following the summer vacation period and winter holidays.

Researchers suggested that the number of divorce filings rose in summer after the couple finished a final vacation as a family but before school started back up. When it comes to the rise in filings for March, the researchers suggested that couples may attempt to fix the problems in their marriage during the holidays before finally throwing in the towel. This period may also be when couples become stressed especially if the holidays do not live up the couples' expectations. Further, with spring just starting, some people may suddenly become more motivated to make changes in their lives.

Gaining third-party child custody

42251126_S.jpgWhen people think of child custody, they often think about parents who are divorcing, but in some cases, a third party may wish to gain custody of a child. Often, this may be the grandparents, but it could be someone else as well. People in Missouri who are considering petitioning for third-party custody should keep several things in mind.

One is that courts will usually look at whether or not the person has an existing relationship with the child and should be a custodian. This often means immediate family members, but in some cases, a friend or other unrelated person might petition for custody. Generally, there needs to be an extraordinary situation in place for a successful third-party custody petition such as the likelihood that the child may experience abuse or neglect otherwise.

Getting the truth about divorces

45947878_S (1).jpgMissouri residents who are considering getting a divorce should be aware of that much of the conventional wisdom offered about the process may not be true. It is important to know the facts in order to make informed decisions.

One common misconception is that an attorney is not necessary to calculate child support. The truth is that determining the correct amount of child support can be complicated. Guidelines vary, and an attorney who practices family law may know certain exceptions a client may qualify for that can prevent unfair judgments.

Study finds divorce more likely for men who are unemployed

40997631_S.jpgWhile many Missouri couples have successful marriages, others often decide that getting a divorce is the right move. However, it can be difficult to determine what can potentially lead to a divorce. A study that utilized data from more than 6.300 couples found that women are generally able to do their thing while men who do not work full time outside of the home are more likely to become divorced.

According to the study, couples who married before 1975 were more likely to remain married if the woman was more involved in the household work. This trend changes after 1975 and an equitable share of the household chores between the couple did not have an effect on the rate of divorce. However, whether or not the man was employed was and still is a predictor of whether or not the couple will remain married.

How prenuptial agreements and alimony affect mortgages

13965526_S.jpgWhat many Missouri couples who are about to get married and buy a house may not know is that lenders may take a prenuptial agreement into consideration if it includes details about the house the couple wants to buy. Bankers may also look at alimony payments if a couple is going through the divorce process. These documents can give bankers the overall picture of a couple's financial situation.

Prenuptial agreements can legally divide an estate up if a married couple decides to get a divorce or if one spouse dies. The agreement usually provides instructions for what a surviving person is supposed to do with the property. The agreement also allows the couple to enter into a home buying agreement even if one person is not able to or not willing to meet the financial requirements. It may cover whose name will be on the mortgage and title in addition to who is responsible for making the payments.

Social Security and divorce

6907811_S.jpgMany Missouri residents are aware that they can claim Social Security benefits based on their spouse's earning records. However, they may not aware that they may be able to do so even if they have gotten divorced and are still single. The first requirement to claim benefits based on a former spouse's income is that the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years.

Those who are planning to get a divorce may want to wait until the 10-year mark has passed to be eligible for those benefits. Assuming that the marriage lasted for at least 10 years, an individual needs to be divorced for at least two years before a claim can be made. When making the claim, individuals should be prepared to show both their marriage certificate as well as their divorce decree as evidence that they meet these criteria.