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Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

Study finds that divorce numbers rise in March and August

Missouri 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.

Uncontested divorce vs. litigated divorce

5774322_S.jpgWhen Missouri couples are facing the end of their marriages, they need to go through a series of legal decisions. How they reach terms for property division, child custody and spousal support depends upon their personal needs and their ability to control their emotions during negotiations. An uncontested divorce and litigation represent the opposite ends of the spectrum of legal options.

In an uncontested divorce, the spouses come to an agreement on the applicable issues. For this method to work, each party must stay focused on their long-term needs and the best interests of their children. They might work with a financial adviser to help them divide assets and debts and then have their attorneys review the settlement agreement. This paperwork would then be sent to the court for approval. When this process works, the divorcing people might confine their costs to a few thousand dollars.

Fighting for your rights as a Missouri father

15039344_S.jpgWhen parents go their separate ways, it is safe to say they still want what is best for their children. While many children in the state of Missouri are raised in the home of the primary caregiver, it does not mean the other parent has no rights. Unfortunately, many fathers believe they are not treated fairly in child custody decisions. Sometimes this is not the case, but all too often it is entirely true. The good news is that courts in Missouri and elsewhere are coming to understand how important it is for a child to have two active parents in their lives.

One of the most important things for fathers to understand is that they do indeed have rights as a parent. This includes spending time with the children and taking an active role in raising them. Today, most courts favor child custody arrangements in which both parents participate in caring for the children. This means that you as a father have a right to share in the custody of your child.

Do you want a jury handling your child custody determination?

270124_S.jpgFor most families in Columbia who have to undergo the divorce process, minimizing the strife and contentiousness of the proceeding is an important goal. If you have children, unless one of the parents is found "unfit," you will have to maintain some type of relationship with your former spouse. You will likely have some form of joint custody arrangement, sharing legal and physical custody with your former spouse and that will be easier if you part on civil terms.

After all, you may have to see your child's other parent numerous times during the week when you exchange the child and if they are involved in many school or extracurricular activities, you will probably encounter them at those events.

Use your parenting plan to change your focus

38661705_S.jpgThe irony of divorce is that while your marriage can be ended, if you have children, your relationship with your child's other parent may continue for many years. Consider, if you have a two-year-old, your child custody and visitation order is likely to be in force for the next 16 years. That's four presidential elections.

That relationship will have a significant effect on your relationship with your child. If you insist on bringing the bitterness and contentiousness that was probably a part of your failed marriage, you need to think of the effect it will have on your child.