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Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

Understanding divorce

42425711_S.jpgCouples in Missouri who are considering ending their marriages should have a clear idea of exactly what a divorce does and how it can affect the rest of their lives. Having a realistic view of what to expect and understanding the futility of attempting to predict how the divorce court may rule in a certain matter can help divorcing individuals be more satisfied with the outcome.

Divorce is useful for allocating property between soon-to-be ex-spouses. Normally, the assets in a marriage will be divided in the most economical manner the divorce court can manage. A majority of states prohibit the reallocation of property that was obtained before the divorce or that was received as part of an inheritance or as a gift. Community property states divide assets acquired during a marriage equally between both parties. Non-community property states will evaluate the financial situation, future financial plans and any other pertinent issues of each party when determining how to distribute marital assets equitably.

Common falsehoods about divorce

35462374_S.jpgMissouri couples who are going through a divorce might be offered advice from friends, acquaintances and family, but that advice might not always be accurate. For example, they may hear that it is possible to save money by having both of them use the same attorney, but that presents a conflict of interest and is an ethical violation.

Another misconception is that marital misconduct will be irrelevant in a no-fault divorce. Cheating by one party, however, might still affect division of assets or other aspects of the divorce. Others may think that since state child support guidelines are widely available, it is easy to calculate child support, but this may not be the case. How income is determined may be complex, and other factors might be considered as well.

Paul Anka awarded sole custody of his son

28402965_S.jpgMany Missouri fans of 1950s pop music have been keeping their eyes on Paul Anka's custody battle. On July 3, Anka was officially awarded sole custody of his 11-year-old son Ethan in a California court.

His former wife, Anna Aberg, the former Miss Sweden, was banned from contact with the boy. Aberg hasn't seen Ethan in over two years. However, Aberg's lawyers emphasized that there had never been a finding of unfitness or abuse in the child custody case and that the outcome was very unusual. Aberg's lawyers argued that Ethan should be reunited with his mother, saying that he had been turned against his mother by his father. They argued that Ethan, who allegedly expressed a dislike for her, should be brought back in contact with his mother.

The likelihood of divorce and factors affecting it

24393215_S.jpgDivorce statistics are calculated in a number of different ways, and each sheds a different kind of light on the divorce rate. Certain factors also raise the likelihood that any one Missouri couple might get a divorce. While the divorce rate may be around 40 to 50 percent, there is more complexity to this picture than is immediately apparent.

The crude divorce rate looks at its prevalence throughout the population annually regardless of age or marital status. In the United States, it is about 3.6 per 1,000 people for all ages and 13 per 1,000 adjusted for age 15 and older. This measure can be broadly useful for comparing divorce rates between countries. The percentage of people ever divorced stands at just over 20 percent for both women and men with slightly more women than men. However, around half of divorced women and slightly less than half of divorced men remarry.

Tax court says no alimony deduction without formal agreement

19467641_S.jpgIn a Missouri divorce settlement, a person might agree to pay alimony to a former spouse. That alimony is usually tax-deductible, but it is important that it be mentioned in the formal divorce agreement. Otherwise, according to the U.S. Tax Court, it is not deductible.

In the case that the Tax Court heard, a man filed for divorce in 2007 and signed an agreement with his wife regarding splitting with her a bonus he had received in 2006. Later, as part of a temporary support agreement, he agreed to pay his wife $3,270 monthly and an additional percentage of income that went above a certain monthly level. The man filed a tax return and claimed this as alimony as well as the portion of the bonus, but the IRS challenged the deduction, and he was ultimately not allowed to take it.

How to handle income inequality in a Missouri marriage

25788417_S.jpgIncome inequality is a topic that has drawn a lot of attention in a variety of contexts. It has impacted many different aspects of people's lives including who they marry. In this regard, "associative mating" has become a popular trend as individuals look for others who have similar levels of education and similar income potential. This is different from the 1950s when women would look to marry those who had more money or education.

This new phenomenon has limited a person's ability to move within different social classes according to sociologists. It has also changed what marriage means within society. Whereas men used to look for homemakers and women looked for breadwinners, people today tend to look for those who have similar interests. While women still make only 78 percent of what their husbands make on average, it is not uncommon for a woman to make more than her husband in a given marriage.

Child support after bankruptcy

22135079_S.jpgWhen Missouri parents divorce or separate, the non-custodial parent may be ordered to pay child support. These funds are used for the everyday expenses of raising a child, including food, housing, clothing, school fees and health care. Most parents pay child support willingly and take this responsibility seriously.

There are, however, some cases in which people who have child support obligations find themselves in adverse financial circumstances. Despite their best efforts, it may become difficult, if not impossible, to make the agreed-upon monthly payments. In such cases, they may consider bankruptcy as a way of dealing with their financial circumstances, something that may be of great concern to custodial parents who may worry that they will not receive the delinquent payments.

How to avoid end-of-marriage financial woes

45868350_S.jpgDivorcing couples in Missouri often face a combination factors that make it difficult to make wise decisions. Ending a relationship is an emotional situation that presents many complex options. When people don't clearly understand the divorce process and the associated laws, it can lead to financial ruin and cause even more emotional damage to everyone involved, especially children. Therefore, divorcing parents should be aware of strategies on how to protect their assets for a better financial future after the split.

After divorcing, it's essential that parents are able to still meet their financial obligations. While this is especially true for a custodial parent, no one wants his or her living situation to deteriorate due to property division or other divorce legal issues. One way to prevent a bad outcome is for people to start tracking their expenses and documenting their assets before filing for divorce. Account statements, pay stubs and household budgets are all important documents for negotiations.

How paternity is established in Missouri

53144879_S.jpgIn the state of Missouri, paternity is generally established in hospitals shortly after children are born. Unmarried parents do this by voluntarily declaring paternity in documents known as Affidavits Acknowledging Paternity. When these forms have been properly completed and signed, paternity is established and the father's name is placed on the child's birth certificate. The mother's name is placed on the birth certificate even if no Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity is completed.

Parents who fail to file an Affidavit Acknowledging Paternity when their children are born should contact the Bureau of Vital Records of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for assistance. This is particularly important for single mothers as paternity must be established before courts will issue child support orders. The BVR can also help mothers to obtain orders that establish paternity.

Divorces over politics have increased

54286061_S.jpgThere are many reasons a Missouri couple may get divorced. While many marriages end because of financial difficulties or irregularities, arguments over politics may be a surprising reason for many splits, and the trend seems to have increased since the election of Donald Trump.

Researchers at a polling firm have examined the effect of political differences on marriages and relationships. They reported that 10 percent of couples who were surveyed ended their relationships due to political disagreements. Millennials had almost twice the rate of such splits at 22 percent. Many couples that did not go so far as to file for divorce or separation still reported that they were arguing much more about politics. President Trump has proved to be a polarizing force in the general population, and this trend has played out among married couples.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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Columbia, Missouri 65203

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