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

A guide to foster parent's bill of rights

In the state of Missouri, foster parents have certain protections under the law. They have the power to make decisions about the daily activities of children under their care, and they are allowed to practice their own family values while remaining respectful of their foster child's own cultural heritage. All discipline that's carried out by foster parents needs to adhere to current state law, and it's purpose must be to direct and teach the behavior of the child.

Foster parents have the right to arrange visitation between the foster child and any siblings or biological family. Whenever possible, these meetings should meet the needs of all parties involved. Visitation is crucial for the development of children within the foster system, so it's important for foster parents to be flexible and cooperative when it comes to these meetings.

Consequences and solutions when a parent fails to pay support

All situations have two sides, including the issue of unpaid child support, as some Missouri parents learn when faced with this situation. Although it is common to associate unpaid support with fathers, hence the stereotype of the deadbeat dad, the reality is that both mothers and fathers find themselves in situations where they fall behind on their payments, sometimes due to situations out of their control.

When it relates to family law, however, it is important to understand the consequences for parents who fall behind in their payments, the options available to these parents and the options available to the custodial parent awaiting child support. For parents who have fallen behind in payments, the consequences include having their pay garnished, withholding their federal or state tax refund, having their unemployment payments intercepted or even facing jail time. When a parent falls behind because they cannot pay because of job loss or similar situations, they can ask for the payments amount to be reevaluated. In some states, parents who have fallen so behind that they cannot ever repay the entire amount might also be eligible for waivers of late support fees when they begin making payments.

Why some couples might choose a prenup

56812635_S.jpgCouples in Missouri may hesitate to create a prenuptial agreement because they are worried about how their families will react or even that the agreement could increase the chance they will get a divorce. They might also worry about revealing their own financial problems such as bankruptcy. However, a prenup can build communication between a couple along with important protections if they do divorce.

If one person is likely to accumulate debt, a prenup can establish that the other spouse will not be responsible for that debt in the case of divorce. A prenup can also be helpful if one person is bringing significant assets into the marriage and wants to protect those assets. If spouse owns a business, the prenup may ensure that the other spouse does not have a claim on it in a divorce. Increasingly, people are even using prenups to state who will get pets.

Divorce correlated with marrying on special days

35859536_S.jpgWhen people in Missouri are planning to get married, some think that they should choose a special date for their weddings. Recent research indicates that doing so is correlated with a higher likelihood of getting divorced, however.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne, couples who choose specific dates such as Valentine's Day are likelier to divorce. The researchers analyzed data from 1 million couples who married. Of the couples who married on Valentine's Day, 11 percent had gotten divorced within five years and 21 percent had divorced within nine years.

Establishing child support

38961503_S (1).jpgPaying or receiving child support is a matter that many parents in Missouri have to address. The payment is a duty that typically falls upon the noncustodial parent, and the goal is to maintain a financial level of support that comes close to what the child had before the separation.

Before a child support arrangement can be established, it is first necessary to establish a relationship between the kid and parent. The act of giving birth typically establishes a woman as the mother of the child. For paternity, however, there are multiple ways to establish a biological relationship. If the husband and wife are married when the child is born, there is a presumption that the man is the father. For a father who is not married when their child is born, it will be necessary to complete a form that acknowledges the paternity. This form can be completed in the hospital after the birth or at a local Vital Statistics Registrar or Child Support Enforcement Agency.

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.

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Other Office Locations

  • 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
  • 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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