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Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

The higher-earning spouse and alimony

It is common for married couples in Missouri to have disparate incomes. During the course of a marriage, one spouse may take on more of the child care responsibilities while the other spouse pursues a career. Even if a married couple doesn't have children, one spouse may simply earn a larger income than the other spouse.

When a married couple divorces, the lower-earning spouse could experience a financial setback after losing the financial support of the higher-earning spouse. To compensate for this financial loss, a court may order the higher-earning spouse to make alimony payments for a set period of time or indefinitely. Because most of the assets that are acquired during a marriage are considered marital assets in the eyes of the law, the lower-earning spouse could have equal claim to the marital home and other valuable property that was purchased by the higher-earning spouse.

Getting additional child support for tuition

49044412_S.jpgMissouri parents who have school-aged children for whom they receive child support sometimes want them to have the benefit of private school educations. The parents might wonder whether or not they can request an increase in child support in order to get help with their children's private school tuition.

If you have a child that you believe needs additional educational support because of his or her extraordinary needs, it is possible that the court might grant your request for an increase in child support. If you simply want your child to enroll in private school because of your preference, you may not be successful, however.

Making sound decisions during a divorce

28631896_S.jpgWhen couples in Missouri divorce, spouses often want to jump start the process as a way of getting on with their respective lives. While this is understandable, snap decisions can sometimes lead to adverse financial consequences for the spouse that makes them. In most cases, it is important to seek expert advice before making drastic changes in the way one lives.

When a couple decides to divorce, it is understandable that both parties will want to protect their interests during the legal process of ending a marriage. In addition, it is also understandable that both parties will want to take steps in planning for the future. Unfortunately, what may seem like a "common sense" action may be misinterpreted by the other spouse and, in some cases, the judge deciding the divorce case.

Prenup expected to guide Pitt/Jolie divorce

18620693_S.jpgAlthough most Missouri divorces do not make headlines like the split between actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, many involve complicated property division issues. Many observers have assumed that Pitt and Jolie executed a prenuptial agreement prior to their marriage in 2014, but if so, the terms of the document have not been made public.

The high-profile couple possesses sizable fortunes and have six children. In her divorce filing, Jolie expressed her desire for full custody of the children. If Pitt attempts to gain joint custody, a dispute could erupt and prolong the divorce process.

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.