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Columbia, MO Divorce and Family Law Blog

Financial results of divorce often hit women hard

Many factors influence the financial outcomes for Missouri women after a divorce. Societal factors like pay gaps between men and women and traditional gender roles contribute to lower incomes for divorced women. Taking too long to create a post-divorce budget also diminishes the financial futures of some women.

A divorce often results in a drop in income. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculated that earnings for married women exceed earnings for other women by roughly 20 percent. Divorce erases this advantage. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, household incomes for women drop 41 percent after a divorce. Lower wages for women exacerbate the loss of marriage income. For every $1.00 earned by men, women in comparable positions earn $0.82. Lower earnings also translate into lower Social Security benefits.

Women more likely than men to file for divorce

50533103_S.jpgLike all other states, Missouri has no-fault divorce laws, meaning that a filer does not have to provide grounds for seeking a dissolution of his or her marriage. When no-fault laws were initially passed, some where concerned that men would use no-fault divorces as a way to abandon their families, potentially leaving their wives and children in poverty. However, a study showed that approximately 80 percent of all divorces are initiated by women.

Although the idea of what constitutes a marriage has evolved over the last 50 years, the fact remains that there are still many social and practical expectations that are more difficult on women. As such, women appear to be generally more unhappy with the state of marriage than men. Husbands are often more passive when it comes to things not working. They may report being troubled by their wives' dissatisfaction with the state of the marriage, but may not take action to do anything about it while women may file for divorce.

When parents interfere with visitation rights

5947213_S.jpgMissouri parents who have gone through a divorce and who have custody and parenting time orders in place are required to follow them. If issues arise and one parent tries to interfere with the time allotted to the other, that parent may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties for doing so.

When parents of minor children decide to end their marriage, they sometimes will negotiate parenting time agreements on their own. Filing these agreements with the court can help the parents with enforcing them. Parenting time may also be decided by the court if the issue is being contested.

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.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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Columbia, Missouri 65203

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