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

Avoiding mistakes when dividing IRAs in divorces

When 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.

Reality TV star files for divorce from former football player

12016760_S (1).jpgViewers in Missouri of "Kendra on Top" may recognize Kendra Wilkinson, who got her start in entertainment as a Playboy model. At the age of 32, she has filed for divorce from Hank Baskett, a former professional football player. They exchanged vows in 2009 and have two children, an 8-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl. With a separation date on her legal filings of Jan. 1, her divorce paperwork requested joint legal and physical custody of the children. She gave irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split.

Wilkinson announced publicly that she still loved Baskett, but her efforts could not save the marriage. She said that she would focus on being a strong parent for her children.

How to make financial preparations for a divorce

50280277_S.jpgGetting important financial documents together can be an important first step for spouses in Missouri who are planning to get a divorce. They may want to keep these copies somewhere safe such as in a safety deposit box or with trusted friends.

Obtaining credit reports before the divorce is underway gives a soon-to-be ex the opportunity to resolve any errors. A person might also be able to see if the other spouse is abusing a joint account. Establishing personal accounts and credit in one's own name might also be a good idea. A spouse who does not have their own income stream may face additional hurdles in getting a credit card. However, the 2009 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act allows people to apply for credit using household income.

Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement announces changes

67084405_S (1).jpgAccording to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, in fiscal year 2016, 75 percent of the $33 billion collected was through income withholding. For Missouri employers whose employees have been ordered to pay child support, there may be some changes ahead.

One concern is that when it comes to verifying employment, some employers are sending these requests on to third-party processors. These processors in turn charge a fee to child support agencies. While the OCSE has been working with all parties in search of a solution, it is anticipated that employers will be reminded that these requests are their responsibility and that the child support agencies will not pay.

Making smart financial plans in case of divorce

When couples in Missouri decide to get married, they may want to consider creating a prenuptial agreement. This document can specify which property belongs to each individual as opposed to being shared among the both of them and what will happen to shared property if the couple gets a divorce. Another precaution a person should take is difficult-to-appraise property, such as a business, valued before he or she gets married.

A couple that is already married can create a postnuptial agreement. This is similar to a prenup but is prepared after the marriage. Couples can do other things to protect their financial interests as well. For example, even if they have a joint account, each person may want to open an individual account as well.

Getting past fear is key to co-parenting

95852794_S.jpgFor Missouri parents going through a divorce, the process can seem like a never-ending tug of war with children in the middle. Every parent wants what is best for their child and is usually willing to fight in court to realize that vision. When mediators, lawyers and judges bring up the idea of shared parenting, many people, especially those in high conflict divorces, simply refuse to listen. Although their motives in refusing to consider such an arrangement may be understandable, it might be a disservice to children not to consider shared parenting.

The trend in most jurisdictions is for an assumption that equally split parenting time is in the best interests of the children when deciding custodial arrangements. This is just a starting point, and adjustments are made depending on what the court determines is actually in the best interest of the children. Child safety is always paramount, so abusive, neglectful or historically absentee parents are unlikely to succeed if seeking joint custody of children. The best interest of the children is the guiding star for judges when custody is an issue.

Is it always wise to play nice during a divorce?

30581049_S.jpgDuring a divorce, it is typically unwise to let negative emotions -- like jealousy, anger and bitterness -- take control. Doing so could drag out a divorce, compromise your settlement and possibly even undermine your parenting rights. 

Having said that, you don't need to ignore these feelings and always play nice. Your divorce settlement can affect you for the rest of your life, and you may need to fight for what you deserve. Below, we examine a few scenarios in which a person may need to be more assertive than amicable.

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