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

Studies look at effects of women's higher earnings on marriage

41460820_S.jpgWomen in Missouri may be more likely to make more money than their husbands did in previous generations, but this does not make their marriages more stable. Marriages in which wives earn more than their husbands could be more likely to end in divorce.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that around 38% of wives are bigger earners than their husbands. However, attitudes toward husbands who are not the main breadwinners in the family have not kept up with these changes. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 25% of people thought it was extremely important for mothers to earn money for their children compared to 40% who believed this about fathers. Pew Research also reported that while women earned at least half the income for just 13% of couples living together in 1981, that percentage rose to one-third by 2017.

Valuing stay-at-home parents' contribution in a divorce

28802320_S.jpgThe decision to divorce can be troubling and difficult for many people in Missouri. For the 25% of American mothers who stay at home to raise their children and the 7% of fathers who do the same, the end of a marriage can be particularly worrying. They have spent years outside of the workforce, and, as a result, they may face a much more difficult time obtaining a competitive salary after seeking a job. They may also need additional education or training in order to obtain employment that can provide for themselves and their children.

The decision to stay at home is widely supported in American society, particularly for mothers; studies continue to show that many people believe that mothers should leave the workforce to care for their children. Even 10% of highly educated mothers with a master's degree or higher stay home to dedicate themselves to raising their children. This may mean that they are leaving a high-powered career; when they later return to the workforce, including after a divorce, they can face significantly lower salaries.

Learning lessons from high-profile divorces

30106960_S.jpgSt. Louis residents may be interested in Jeff Bezos' divorce and the lessons that divorcing couples can learn. One lesson that this high-asset divorce teaches people is the importance of the divorcing couple forming their own unified narrative. Both Jeff and his wife came out with a joint statement explaining that although they were getting a divorce, they were going to remain friends. This aimed to put and end to speculation and to people taking sides publicly about the divorce.

The reason why this could be a good idea, and the reason why other divorcing couples may want to emulate this idea, is that once the public, friends and family members start taking sides and incendiary things are said, the divorcing parties may want to protect their own reputation. Part of this could include digging their heels in during divorce negotiations. This can make the negotiations go longer, which means that the divorce is more expensive.

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.

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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
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  • 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
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  • 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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