${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} Main Menu
Call Today: 855-805-0595

Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

Marriages increase as divorce rates fall

Divorce rates in Missouri and around the country fell to a near 40-year low in 2015 according to a report released Nov. 17 by Bowling Green University's National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Another NCFMR report reveals that the number of marriages for each 1,000 unmarried women increased from 31.9 in 2014 to 32.2 in 2015. The researchers say these findings suggest that marriage rates could be stabilizing after years of decline.

Divorce rates for every 1,000 married women fell from 17.6 in 2014 to 16.9 in 2015 according to the NCFMR data. Divorce rates have been falling steadily since peaking in 1980, and most experts believe that this reflects a shift in societal views on cohabitation. They say that fewer couples are getting divorced because fewer are getting married in the first place, and they point out that the odds of staying together have not really changed much for couples who do decide to walk down the aisle.

Ongoing custody battle between Nicole Curtis, child's father

Missouri fans of the HGTV show "Rehab Addict" may have followed the custody battle of its star, Nicole Curtis, with her ex-boyfriend Shane Maguire. The two have a 1-year-old child together, Harper, and their court battle began with a paternity complaint from Maguire after Harper's birth. Curtis had sole custody at the time. She asked for birthing expenses, child care costs and child support.

Although Maguire said he earned $3,744 per week, Curtis countered that his income was actually $20,000 weekly. Maguire was required to pay support and some of the birth expenses. After Christmas, Maguire was also granted visitation on weekends. Curtis filed to keep the case sealed, alleging her celebrity status and problems with a stalker, but Maguire said she did not have any stalkers. Curtis also claimed that Maguire did not use a car seat for Harper and took him out in cold weather dressed improperly.

Appealing or modifying a divorce settlement

44354718_S.jpgWhen Missouri couples go through an uncontested divorce, the divorce decree will incorporate orders that have been made by the judge on such matters as child custody and visitation, alimony, child support and property division. If one of the parties is dissatisfied with the order, an appeal can be filed to the next highest court in the state.

The appeal will have to be based upon the assertion that the judge incorrectly applied state law when making the decision, and it will have to be supported by a brief containing relevant statute and case law citations. These decisions turn on a written record of what transpired at the trial court level. Accordingly, new evidence usually cannot be introduced.

How to prevent asset dissipation

46989140_S.jpgWhen Missouri spouses know that their assets may be divided in a divorce, they may try to dissipate them. In other words, they are basically wasting assets in an attempt to deny the other spouse a fair share of marital property. For instance, a person who makes a lot of money may simply gamble it away or spend it on another partner.

This is done with the knowledge that they will simply make the money back. However, for the other spouse, it could pose serious challenges to their ability to achieve financially stability after a divorce. This is because that person may not have income right away, and it may be difficult to find work that pays much when first reentering the workforce. However, there are ways to stop a spouse from dissipating assets.

Divorce and financial considerations

19203935_S.jpgMissouri couples who are ending their marriages have to contend with a number of different financial matters. Understanding how their divorces may be impacted by taxes, property division, debt division and possible child and spousal support may help them to be better prepared.

In Missouri, divorce courts follow the principle of equitable distribution. This means that a court will divide the marital property in the manner that the judge believes is fair rather than halving it between the divorcing spouses. The goal is for both parties to emerge from the divorce fairly.

The higher-earning spouse and alimony

42706524_S.jpgIt 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.

2015 Top 100 Lawyers - ASLA Lead Counsel Rated Rated By Super Lawyers American Legal Institute | America's Top Attorneys 2016 Nation's Premier Top Ten Ranking 2016 | NAFLA 10 Best 2014-2016 | 3 Years Client Satisfaction | American Institute of Family Law Attorneys ™ Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb The National Trial Lawyers National Association of Distinguished Counsel | Nation's Top One Percent National Academy of Jurisprudence Rue Rating | Best Attorneys Of America | Lifetime Charter Member The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers | America's Premier Attorneys Law Firm 500 | 2016 Honoree
Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
120 S. Central Avenue
Suite 450
St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105

Toll Free: 855-805-0595
Fax: 314-963-9191
St. Louis Law Office Map