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Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

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.

Ways to locate noncustodial parents

If a parent in Missouri owes child support, he or she may need to be found before a support order can be entered or enforced. Generally, the state needs to have a current address for both parents as well as the name of the noncustodial parent's employer. If a noncustodial parent has no address or employer, the state may need to use other methods to find the individual.

55003059_S.jpgIn some cases, the custodial parent will be able to provide this information to the relevant government agency. However, it may be necessary to use information from past employers, the local telephone company or the USPS. If a noncustodial parent has a criminal record, government agencies may talk to police or parole officers to get the necessary information. State agencies may use the Federal Parent Locator Service to match the data it has about a noncustodial parent with information from agencies such as the IRS or state workforce agencies.

Facilitating an amicable divorce in Missouri

53057564_S.jpgWhile divorce proceedings are often steeped in negative feelings and bitter conflict, some couples find themselves ending their marriage on a positive note. It is possible for a couple to work out the details of their separation amicably before they even file for an actual divorce.

A high-profile divorce case in point is that of "Grey's Anatomy" star Jesse Williams and his partner of 10 years. The couple was together before the actor became a star. In fact, they have been partners since Williams was a teacher on the East Coast. They have been married for just under five years and have two young children together. The actor filed for joint legal and physical custody of the children. The petition also included a request to end spousal support for the ex, who is a real estate agent.

How parental rights are terminated in Missouri

41824638_S.jpgIf a Missouri resident wishes to petition the court to have another person's parental rights terminated, a juvenile officer must be notified. The officer will look into the information provided and conduct an initial investigation. If the information does not warrant further proceedings, the individual will be notified that the petition will not be filed with the court. The person who filed then has 30 days to take further action.

If that person decides to take up the matter with a judge, that judge may decide that the information does warrant further investigation into the matter. He or she may ask that a juvenile officer investigate again or actually go through with filing the petition. The officer must generally file a petition or asked to be made a party to an already-filed petition if the child is an abandoned infant.

What a parent can do if denied visitation

27140335_S.jpgSome Missouri custodial parents might want to deny visitation to the other parent because that parent has not paid child support, because of issues with transportation or because the visitation schedule is inconvenient. They might also do so because they are concerned about the child's safety or the other parent's relationships. The child might no longer want to visit the parent.

It is important to have a legally binding custody and visitation agreement in place to protect a parent's rights. Many of these points will not be recognized by the court as valid reasons to deny visitation. For example, while there is a system that penalizes parents for not paying child support, ending visitation rights for that reason is not allowed. A parent denied visitation by the other parent should document the situation and try discussing it. It might be possible to resolve the situation by addressing the custodial parent's concerns. A parent may want to consider legal action up to and including calling the police. The parent can also file a motion with the court.

Enforcing back child support payments

67022316_S.jpgMissouri parents who are going through a divorce and requesting child support might need to file a claim to collect retroactive support. They might have to provide several pieces of evidence such as proof that they have tried to collect support and that the other parent has failed to support the child. For a father who has not paid support, the custodial parent may have to prove that he is aware of his paternity.

The noncustodial parent may then counter the claim. Ideally, this would be done with receipts to demonstrate support, but if these are unavailable, the parent might have copies of communication that show support or people who can back up the provision of support. If they have not been making regular support payments, they may have been providing other types of support such as clothing and food. A parent who has been unable to provide monetary support might be providing child care.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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