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

The challenges of co-parenting for divorced fathers

29425433_S.jpgFamily law judges in Missouri and around the country consider the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation decisions, and that often results in co-parenting arrangements where mothers are the primary caregivers. This can be difficult for fathers who are used to seeing their children every day to accept, but the transition can be made easier, and the emotional damages suffered by the children involved minimized, if both parents work together.

Effective communication is crucial if co-parenting arrangements are to be successful. Arguing in front of children or communicating through children can be traumatic for all involved and are clear signs that divorced parents still harbor animosity toward one another. When conflict is an ongoing problem, divorced fathers may be wise to document all of their interactions with their children and former spouses in preparation for possible future legal actions.

Divorce preparation steps to take

38515504_S.jpgPeople in Missouri who are getting a divorce may want to take steps to prepare for the divorce itself and for life after the divorce. A divorce has essentially three phases. First, there is the process of filling out paperwork and filing. Next, there is the discovery phase in which both spouses reveal their finances. Finally, there is a settlement.

Couples should think carefully about whether divorce is the right choice in the first place. It is a difficult and expensive endeavor. Next, they should research to get a good understanding of state law. They should also think about their own financial and other goals. Getting organized is important and includes getting together all financial paperwork and creating a budget for after the divorce. This budget will help with decisions such as whether it is feasible to remain in the family home. People should close joint accounts, get a copy of their credit report and seek out legal and financial professionals who can help. They should also remember to practice self-care.

Parenting after divorce requires focus on the children

23940584_S.jpgParenting after a divorce can become quite complicated. Many ex-spouses in Missouri struggle to make the situation work. By maintaining focus on the children and being committed to making co-parenting work, success is possible.

Parenting plans are set during the divorce, either agreed to and negotiated by the parents or set by the court. The goal is to smooth the transition and keep both parents actively involved in their children's lives. However, both parents should be willing to work together and be flexible when it comes to following the parenting plan. This means that depending on the children's needs, one parent might invite the other to events even when it's not their allotted time. In the same way, parents should be able to negotiate the pickups to avoid additional confrontations that might have an emotional impact on the children.

Dealing with changes to tax law during divorce

40805158_S.jpgPeople in Missouri considering divorce may wish to expedite their plans in order to finalize before the end of the year. This is because there are some changes to federal tax laws that will go into effect at the beginning of 2019. Some of those changes could have a serious impact on the future finances of people who end their marriages. For people who want to ensure they are governed current tax laws during their split, finalizing during 2018 may be a priority.

One of the most well-known changes to the the tax law that affects divorcing spouses involves a difference in the way that alimony is treated. Currently, the former spouse who pays alimony can deduct the sum of money he or she pays. For wealthy couples with a high-asset divorce, the difference can be substantial, as this deduction can amount to up to 50 percent of a total tax bill. On the other hand, the recipient pays taxes on the income in his or her lower tax bracket. The recipient can also invest the money in an IRA to save for retirement.

Modifying child custody and visitation arrangements

84156249_S.jpgFamily law judges in Missouri and around the country make child custody and visitation rulings based on what they consider to be in the best interests of the children involved. However, their decisions may be revisited when situations change. The courts generally act quickly when children have been placed in situations that have become dangerous due to substance abuse problems or episodes of domestic violence in the household. Child custody arrangements may also be modified when parents die, move to another part of the country or routinely ignore visitation schedules.

When a custodial parent passes away, custody will usually be awarded to the noncustodial parent. However, custody may be awarded to a third party if the surviving parent lives far away or has a grueling work schedule. Family law judges could also award custody to a third party in these situations at the request of the children involved. Custodial parents who relocate are often able to retain custody, but judges may scrutinize their motivation for moving and the impact that the move will have on visitation schedules before making these decisions.

Deciding whether to get a prenuptial agreement

43131363_S.jpgSome couples in Missouri might think that they don't need a prenuptial agreement if they're not wealthy. However, there are a number of reasons why a spouse with a lower income may want to create a prenup.

For example, a spouse may want a prenup if they have children from a previous relationship. A prenup can outline what property should go to one's children in case of death. Another reason to have a prenup is if either spouse is bringing a significant amount of debt into the relationship. A prenup can prevent the other person from being responsible for this debt in case of divorce.

Avoiding mistakes when dividing IRAs in divorces

35462374_S.jpgWhen Missouri couples have IRAs and decide to divorce, it is important for them to make certain that they divide their retirement accounts correctly. If people make mistakes, they may face substantial tax liabilities from the Internal Revenue Service.

When one spouse will need to give the other spouse funds from his or her IRA, it can only be done in one of two ways. The account holder can change the name on the account to the recipient's name if all of the IRA will be transferred. The other way to give funds from the IRA to the other spouse is to transfer them directly from the IRA into an IRA that is in the spouse's name.

Joint legal custody for parents

83441125_S.jpgGiven that the rate of divorce rate in Missouri is above the national average, Missourians are likely aware of the anguish that comes with having to endure custody battles. On the one hand, children often find it emotionally trying to see their parents fight while feeling uncertain about what the future holds for them. On the other hand, not only may parents be terrified that they could end up missing out on a big part of their children's lives, but they might also be confounded by the amount of legal jargon thrown around.

One of the most important terms to be aware of is joint legal custody, which is different than joint physical custody. Simply put, joint legal custody allows both parents to make pivotal decisions on behalf of the children, such as where the kids will learn, what religion they will be raised into and what medical solutions they will be offered in case of an emergency.

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