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

Seniors face unique challenges during divorce

69049529_S.jpgIn Missouri and across the country, more people than ever are divorcing after age 50. This poses some unique challenges that aren't faced by younger divorcing couples. Anyone 50 and over who is considering a separation should become familiar with those challenges first.

One of the biggest issues people face is financial. Divorce can wreak havoc on an individual's finances, and those age 50 and over are at an especially high risk. That's because people in this age bracket do not have enough time to make up any losses they might take to their retirement or 401(k) accounts. People in this age bracket are very likely to have children in college, which can further strain their finances. Accordingly, a divorce can also have a major impact even on a couple's adult children.

Fathers have rights to their children as well

78015200_S.jpgAfter a divorce, both mothers and fathers in Missouri could be entitled to legal or physical custody rights to their children. Legal custody refers to a parent's ability to make decisions about how the child will be raised. These decisions could include the type of medical treatment a son or daughter might get or where they will go to school. If a parent has physical custody of a minor, the child stays with that parent.

It is possible for parents to split physical or legal custody of a child. When making a custody decision, a court will weight any factors that might be relevant in a given case. For instance, the age and gender of a child may play a role in determining if a parent gets custody. If the child is old enough, he or she could be allowed to express a preference for one parent over the other.

Bizarre and unusual reasons for divorce

41099810_S.jpgWhile many couples in Missouri divorce over disagreements about money or children, some have more unusual reasons for separating. Some divorce lawyers are turning to an online forum to report the most unusual or petty reasons they've seen for seeking a separation.

For example, one man complained that he hated the sound his wife made when she was chewing at the dinner table. Another man claimed his wife had attempted to place a curse on him. A woman said she had decided to divorce her husband because the dog he gave her soiled the carpet. Yet another woman filed for divorce two months after marriage because she was unhappy with the gift she was given for her birthday, an iPad case instead of jewelry.

Divorce between Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos finalized

13216200_S.jpgSome Missouri residents may be aware that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos, an author, were going through a divorce. On July 5, three months after the couple announced on Twitter that they had reached a settlement, a judge finalized the dissolution.

In April, MacKenzie Bezos said on Twitter that Jeff Bezos would keep 75% of their shared stock and would keep voting control of her shares even after the property division. MacKenzie Bezos will keep a 4% stake with a worth of over $38 billion. This makes her the third richest woman in the world while Jeff Bezos remains the world's richest man. They have also created a parenting plan for their children.

Complex divorces and interpreting student loan debts

52631359_S.jpgIn Missouri and across the United States, divorce is an emotional experience that leaves many spouses feeling lost and confused. From asset protection to child custody issues, divorce can seem overwhelming emotionally and physically. Couples with student loans need to address the issue concerning which spouse bears the legal responsibility for resolving the student loan debt.

A couple may not realize that a student loan debt existing before their marriage does not belong to both spouses. In this case, a judge typically decides that the spouse with the student loan debt is responsible for owing the money. However, complicated legal regulations mean that these general rules are subject to change. For instance, a spouse who owes $200,000 prior to their marriage is usually responsible for paying back the student loan debt. However, debt incurred during a marriage is often considered marital debt. In the case of a marital debt, each spouse must pay off the loan.

There are remedies for parenting time interference

48506875_S.jpgSome Missouri couples who have children find their relationship improves once their divorce is finalized, and they are settled in their respective new homes. For others, the same conflicts that prevented the continuation of the marriage make post-divorce contact problematic. However, where those problems rise to the level of causing one parent to interfere with the other parent's time with the children, it may be necessary to return to the family law court to address the issue.

Matters of child custody and child support are in many cases agreed upon by the couple informally and generally accepted by the court. When that agreement becomes part of the final order, family law legal experts caution that violating the terms of the agreement is a violation of a court order. Even where one parent feels justified in acting, such as a mother withholding child visitation for lack of support payments, unilateral action in contravention of the parenting agreement is not permitted. Fathers' rights can be enforced.

Helping children adjust to life after a divorce

45835225_S.jpgRecently divorced parents in Missouri can take steps to make the transition into a two-home life easier on their kids. First, parents should make it easy for children to keep up with the schedule. For younger kids, a large calendar posted in a common area can help. Older children may want to keep track with their Google calendars or other apps.

Parents can facilitate a smoother transition by making sure the kids don't have to pack every time they go back and forth between their homes. Having to repeatedly pack and unpack can be especially stressful for children who are still getting used to the two-home lifestyle. Children will feel more at home if they have the belongings they want and need in both places. Toiletries and duplicates of other items should be in both homes if possible.

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.

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