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5 important facts about adoption

Are you considering adoption? It's exciting to think about as your family grows, but it's also something you don't want to rush into. You need to carefully think through every step so that it goes smoothly and so that you can make the right choice for you and your new child.

To help you get started, here are some important facts about adoption in the United States:

  1. The biggest reason that people decide to adopt a child is because they cannot have one naturally. It gives them a chance to have the family they've always dreamed of even with issues like infertility.
  2. It is very common for adoption to cross racial barriers. For instance, about one-third of foster care children who wind up getting adopted are a different race than their new parents.
  3. You must plan for it financially. The costs may be higher than you think. Some estimate that it could take as much as $50,000 to fund an adoption. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to the cost, so every case is different, but it is not cheap.
  4. Adoption can be great for the children, as well as the parents. It can give them greater happiness and social success in their lives.
  5. Many children spend years in foster care before they get adopted, breaking the stereotype of adoptions only focusing on newborns.

Typical signs that your marriage could be headed for divorce

It takes a lot of work, sacrifice and change for a marriage to be successful. Even the most unselfish of individuals cannot make a relationship work alone. There's no secret formula for a perfect marriage as every relationship is different.

However, most marriages will experience the same warning signs that could signal a future divorce. Be on the lookout for the signs discussed in today's post.

What is nesting really like?

Nesting is a relatively new idea for child custody after divorce. The basics include keeping the children in one home, which is typically the one they lived in during the marriage. The couple continues to own that home. As time goes by, the parents move in and out, following a set custody schedule.

This is far different from the normal system of moving the children in and out of two homes owned by their parents. Some experts believe it really puts the kids first because it means that the divorce has a far less drastic impact on their lives. Typically, due to the expense involved, it is thought of as a potential solution for fairly wealthy couples.

Is a legal separation just a practice divorce?

Divorce can seem like a scary option when your marriage starts to get difficult. Just like any relationship, there are any number of reasons why a marriage can go from amazing to terrible over the years. People and circumstances change and what was once adorable can become the thing that pushes you over the edge.

Many people will make the progression from married to separated to divorced on their own, without making any formal agreement. The separation period becomes something of a “wait and see” time where you try to figure out what to do. A legal separation, however, can be valuable in some circumstance.

Yes, child custody agreements can be modified

When creating a child custody agreement, you hope that the terms will work for your family long term. Unfortunately, it does not always work out that way and you may find you need the terms modified. If you do, that is okay. The state of Missouri does allow for the modification of child custody agreements under certain circumstances.

Achieving a custody modification can take some effort. At the end of the day, any changes made need to serve the best interests of your children.

Can a wedding date affect the likelihood of divorce?

When people in Missouri choose a date for their wedding, they may think it has little relevance to their likelihood of divorce. However, according to some researchers at the University of Melbourne, choosing certain dates for a wedding is linked to a higher probability of divorce. In a study of 1 million couples, the researchers said that Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, was the worst day to get married; of couples who married on that date, 11 percent divorced within 5 years of the wedding. Even more, 9 years later, over 20 percent had ended their marriage.

Valentine's Day was not the only date that the researchers identified as problematic. People who married on "special number days," like Sept. 9, 1999, or Dec. 12, 2012, were more likely to divorce. While this could be attributed to a number of factors, the researchers said it could indicate that the couples involved were more concerned with the wedding itself than the marriage to come. They may also be younger or less experienced with relationships. In addition, couples may choose these dates on the spur of the moment and opt for a quick wedding despite the length of their own relationships. Others may have excessively romantic expectations for marriage and be disappointed in the practical reality.

Divorcing parents can help kids with back-to-school plans

For Missouri parents and kids, back-to-school time can be an exciting and anxious time of year as students look forward to new teachers, classes and friends. When parents have recently divorced, they may be even more concerned about how to make the school year successful. This is especially true when children are starting their first academic year while splitting time between their parents' homes. However, by keeping a few key tips in mind, divorced parents can help make their children's experience positive, supportive and full of achievements.

While it may be uncomfortable for parents to come together shortly after a divorce, it is important to talk together with the children about the upcoming academic year. By going over some key goals and concerns for the year to come, parents can provide strong support for their children's social and scholastic needs. In addition, kids will feel supported by both of their parents as they go off to face the new year. In some cases, this may be too difficult to do in person; however, kids can have the same conversation with each parent and share their results with the other.

Tax treatment of alimony to change

The rules governing taxation of alimony payments are set to change in 2019. Some of the biggest consequences of the new tax rules have to do with who pays taxes on the alimony. For people who are approaching or going through divorce in Missouri, it's important to be aware of the ramifications. The law will apply to divorce agreements that are entered into after New Year's Day 2019.

People who entered into divorce agreements including alimony or spousal support payments prior to the change will continue to apply the current tax rules going forward. The law that is being replaced allows the paying spouse to claim a deduction for alimony payments and requires the recipient to pay taxes on the money. Under the new rule, the person who pays alimony cannot deduct it, and the recipient doesn't owe taxes on alimony received.

Child support cases come in different forms

When Missouri parents decide to divorce, issues like child support and custody often prove to be especially complicated. Parents may notice that different support cases are handled in different ways. For example, some parties handle child support payments privately between the custodial and non-custodial parents while others make payments through a state-mandated system. This is because there are four major types of child support categories: IV-D, IV-A, IV-E and non-IV-D.

The "IV" refers to Title IV of the Social Security Act, which was passed in 1975. This law regulates the distribution of federal funds to the states to provide assistance to needy families. An IV-D child support case is one in which the Office of Child Support Enforcement assists the custodial parent in some way, whether through formally establishing paternity or enforcing a child support order in case the non-custodial parent fails to pay. For IV-A cases, the state seeks to defray Office of Child Support Enforcement costs by collecting child support. In IV-E cases, the child is in foster care or the care of someone else besides the parents.

Student loan debts are ruining marriages

Student loans are taking a toll on marriages in Missouri and around the country, according to a study by Student Loan Hero. The website reports that the average U.S. college loan balance is $34,144, while the average loan for 2017 college graduates was nearly $40,000. Apparently, the weight of this financial burden is breaking down marital bonds.

The survey found that a third of divorced student loan borrowers at least partly blamed college debt and other financial problems for the end of their marriage. Of those, 13 percent claimed that student loans were the primary cause of their divorce. These findings back up a previous survey that found that 43 percent of student loan borrowers report having money-related fights with their spouse somewhat often. The poll also found that 24 percent of borrowers have kept their college debt a secret from their spouse, while 18 percent think it's okay to lie to their spouse about money issues.

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