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Missouri, Illinois and Kansas Fathers' Rights & Divorce Law Blog

Seeking sole custody of a child can be challenging

97125833_S.jpgFamily courts in Missouri might hesitate to grant a parent sole custody of a child. This action would place physical and legal custody in the hands of only one guardian. In such a situation, the other parent without custody will generally still have access to children in the form of visitation. However, they will lose the ability to make legal decisions concerning the children. This contrasts with joint custody that could grant both parents the right to make legal decisions for their kids.

Due to the serious nature of blocking a parent from having legal custody, a court will look for evidence to justify a request for sole custody. Extenuating circumstances, like persistent drug or alcohol abuse or domestic violence, could provide grounds to give someone sole custody. Judges look closely at what would be in the children's best interests when coming to custody decisions. A parent who wants sole custody should be prepared to present evidence supporting the petition.

Factors that affect the cost of a divorce

22875714_S (1).jpgEnding a marriage is rarely simple for Missouri couples. There are a number of factors that should be considered in addition to the social and emotional toll divorce takes on an individual. One of the biggest factors is the expense. Whether a person uses an attorney or not, divorce almost always involves taking a financial hit. However, if a divorcing couple plans ahead, they may be able to save themselves money.

The cost of a divorce in the United States is about $15,000 per person on average. This cost includes things like court fees, attorney fees, hiring financial experts, visiting mental health professionals as well as the cost of hiring realtors and appraisers.

Many factors contribute to the "gray divorce" trend

35462374_S (1).jpgThe good news for most couples planning to tie the knot in Missouri is that overall divorce rates have declined over the past few decades. However, this isn't true among one notable age group: individuals 50 and over. While the term "gray divorce" was first used around 2004, it's a trend that has existed longer than that. The stigma attached to ending a marriage has diminished, but this isn't the only reason why some people choose to split later in life.

Finances, for instance, can contribute to the decision to divorce after years of marriage. Money issues can involve everything from squabbles about debt and spending to differences in who earns what. Research suggests that marriages become stronger if the husband earns more, but the reverse is true if the wife earns significantly more. Other times, older couples simply grow apart or realize once children are grown that they no longer have the same feelings toward one another.

Same-sex divorce often raises difficult legal issues

110454438_S.jpgAlmost half a million gay couples around the country have married since the U.S. Supreme Court made its landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015. Research suggests that same-sex couples divorce at about the same rate as heterosexual couples, which means that almost half of these couples have already divorced or will divorce in the future. This is a delicate legal issue because the rules dealing with same-sex divorce are still evolving in Missouri and elsewhere.

Before the Supreme Court ended the debate about the legality of same-sex marriage, many states allowed gay couples to enter into domestic partnerships or civil unions. If those couples later married and then file for divorce, they may need to dissolve these arrangements as well as their marriages. However, this is not always the case as many states converted domestic relationships to marriages following the Supreme Court decision.

Avoiding certain costly divorce mistakes

37970727_S.jpgMissouri residents who are getting a divorce should take care to avoid certain mistakes during the process. These mistakes can result in very costly consequences in the future.

Having certain records on hand is necessary to make informed decisions about certain divorce issues. Once divorce seems inevitable, it is important that individuals begin to obtain records that detail the balances and account numbers for all financial accounts. It is also necessary to have on hand Social Security documents that report a spouse's earning records and expected benefit payout for the future. Records that show the amounts that have been paid for highly valuable assets and for major home improvements should also be gathered. Having all of these documents on hand can help with both deciding on divorce settlement terms and planning for taxes and retirement.

Divorce is becoming increasingly common among people over 50

39458626_S (1).jpgOlder people in Missouri, including those who have been in long-term marriages, are getting divorced in increasing numbers. Two sociologists determined that in 1990 only about 10 percent of people getting divorced were 50 or older. Just 25 years later, the figure had grown to 25 percent. Among these gray divorces, over half of them involve couples with marriages of over 20 years.

People at this point in their lives typically have multiple assets when they seek divorces. Real estate and retirement accounts represent two common forms of wealth that the splitting spouses must divide. If people want to keep the family home, they need to think about their ability to pay for upkeep and property taxes. Alternatively, two people can sell a home and split the proceeds. As for retirement accounts, these are generally divided equally unless some portions are traded for other assets. Tax consequences could come into play when people distribute retirement funds.

Disparity in attractiveness and divorce risk

70992692_S.jpgIf one person in a couple is significantly more attractive than the other, this could eventually cause problems in the relationship. An article in "Psychology Today" reported that according to research, couples who are not at similar levels of attractiveness are less likely to have a successful relationship.

This was the case despite the fact that in one study, husbands with more attractive wives, as rated by undergraduates, tended to be happier and more helpful to their wives than other husbands. Other research indicated that women who considered themselves more attractive than their husbands flirted more and were less committed to the relationship. According to another study, jealousy from the less attractive partner tended to be the culprit rather than a lack of commitment.

Addressing child support

37348092_S.jpgWhen parents in Missouri decide to divorce, one area of contention can be child support. In many cases, however, parents are willing to put aside strong feelings in favor of negotiations that center the child's best interests. These families often forgo lengthy litigation and opt to negotiate child support between themselves.

In general, the law acknowledges the importance of both parents providing financial support for their children. When parents have an accurate understanding of each other's finances, as well as their children's needs, there is groundwork for being able to decide what an acceptable level of child support ought to be.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806: Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 5 Club Centre Ct., Suite A, Edwardsville, Illinois 62025: Edwardsville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Shawnee County: 800 SW Jackson Street, Suite 812, Topeka, Kansas 66612: Topeka Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

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