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St. Louis Family Law Blog

Restrictions spouses may face during a divorce

When Missouri couples decide that it's time to get a divorce, they may find that the actual separation process could take some time. While the divorce is being settled, both former spouses may face certain restrictions that will only be lifted once the divorce is finalized.

For example, both individuals cannot transfer, dispose of or sell property while the divorce is underway. This includes finances and credit cards. Those involved in the divorce are only allowed to use marital funds for essentials such as house payments, groceries or expenses associated with the children. This restriction prevents either spouse from retaliating against each other or from draining bank accounts. Additionally, a person cannot cancel his or her spouse's insurance, including health and auto policies, during the divorce process. This gives the other spouse time to find his or her own coverage.

Understanding the applicable uses of child support payments

As a parent, you probably consider the current and future well-being of your child to be of the utmost importance. If you are going through a divorce, you may have concerns about how the process might affect your child and how the outcome of the situation will impact his or her future.

Following your divorce, you may wish to continue providing your child with the necessary financial support. However, you probably don't want to fund the personal endeavors of your former spouse in the process, and you may wish to gain a better understanding of what child support payments should cover.

Steps for dealing with child support after a job loss

The loss of a job triggers many financial concerns. For parents in Missouri who pay child support, sudden unemployment can lead to worries about complying with court orders in addition to other monthly bills. Unemployment does not alter or postpone the requirements set by the court for supporting children.

The first step for a recently jobless parent should be applying for unemployment benefits. It's important to inform the unemployment office about the child support order right away. The state agency will then deduct the support directly from the unemployment checks.

Divorce over 50 continues to rise

Divorce rates continue to rise for one group of people in Missouri and across the United States: the baby boomer generation, now comprised of people over age 50. The term "gray divorce" has been coined to describe these separations. Divorces have more than doubled for Americans over 50 since the mid-1990s at the same time that the divorce rate for the general population has stabilized or even declined. There are a number of factors that can contribute to this trend. Approximately 25 percent of all divorces in the country are carried out by people over the age of 50.

These statistics encompass divorces between couples who were married for decades as well as people ending shorter second or third marriages later in life. There are simply more older people than there were in the past, and they are living longer, healthier lives. While there were 63.5 million Americans over 50 in 1990, by 2010, there were 99 million people of that age. In addition, as of 2016, people live an average of 10 years longer than they did in 1950.

Divorcing parents may need university expenses plan

Many Missouri parents dread the thought of paying for college expenses. This is understandable considering that higher education is becoming more expensive every year; the College Board estimates that the cost of tuition and fees rises by an average of 3 percent annually. While these costs can be massive, college is generally a good investment in the future.

The difficulties in dealing with university expenses can escalate dramatically in the case of a divorce. After parents decide to end their marriage, they will need to carry two households on the same general income that previously sustained one household. In addition, there can be additional costs associated with divorce, from separating retirement funds to arranging new housing and dealing with the after-effects of asset division on investments and other savings. While parents may have plans to save for their children's education, every kind of family asset can be disrupted in the course of a divorce.

Film looks at impact of child support system on fathers

The child custody and support system can be overwhelming for many single parents who enter it after a divorce or the end of a relationship. The process can be complicated further by the impacts of societal racism and poverty, emphasizes the director of a documentary film, "Where's Daddy?" The film seeks to explore how child support enforcement systems impact the relationships that African American fathers have with their children. In particular, it looks at the role of punitive consequences, like jail time, job loss or driver's license revocation, for parents who owe child support and how those consequences can be particularly damaging for African American fathers.

In addition, the film explores how child custody and support can be affected by poverty. Many parents living in poverty may be unable to afford legal counsel or representation. Many fathers may be unaware that they can file to modify a child support order if they lose their job or earn less at a new job. This can lead to an accumulation of insurmountable debt. One study by the Urban Institute notes that 70 percent of all child support debt can be attributed to parents who earn less than $10,000 annually or make no income at all.

Is your child's other parent planning to relocate?

If you and the other parent of your child do not live together, you may find it is challenging to come to agreements on many important matters regarding your child. For you, as the noncustodial parent, the situation may be even more frustrating. Your time with your child is limited, and you want to make every moment count.

You may have been shocked to learn that your co-parent is planning a move. Perhaps your former partner has married or has found a new job in another state. Maybe he or she is moving closer to family. While those reasons may be important to your spouse, what matters to you are your legal rights as a parent of the child.

Prenups can protect wealth in the event of a divorce

When many Missouri residents get married, they expect to remain married to their spouses for the rest of their lives. However, about half of all couples eventually choose to divorce. One way that individuals who are planning their wedding day can protect themselves is to sign a prenuptial agreement.

While prenuptial agreements can benefit nearly every couple on some level, it is usually affluent families who push the topic the hardest. This is often because families who have some sort of wealth want it to stay within the biological family. While many individuals may be open to the idea, there are some who decide that a prenuptial agreement is not for them. Parents can help avoid future legal battles and protect family assets by setting up trusts that include prenuptial previsions.

How shifting roles in a marriage can lead to divorce

While more Missouri couples may be starting their marriages from a position of equality, plenty of couples still begin with more traditional arrangements in which the husband is the breadwinner. According to a new Swedish study, marriages in which women grow to become higher earners than their husbands are more likely to end in divorce.

This may happen for a few reasons. For example, some men become hostile when their position as breadwinner is threatened. Husbands might start trying to control the money that comes in, or they may get jealous and accuse the wife of having an affair. Others could respond by working less but not doing more child care or housework.

Splitting a business during a divorce

As anyone who's been divorced in Missouri will testify, the entire process can be very emotionally draining for all concerned parties. Should there be a valuable asset such as a business that needs to be split, things can get even worse, especially if both individuals were involved in growing the business. According to the amount of effort and money invested into the business, the whole process can become quite personal to either party, eradicating any sense of objectivity they might need to negotiate fairly. Moreover, the possibility of one individual trying to defraud the other person by devaluing the company on the books or hiding debts can make matters tense.

Consequently, it is necessary to keep a level head and approach the process of splitting a business methodically, starting with getting an accurate valuation of the company. This will ensure that everybody gets a fair deal, and the sooner it happens, the faster the business can return to serving its customers. Usually, the fastest way to get a fair appraisal is to hire a professional who can assess the value of the assets, including the equipment and the real estate.