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St. Charles Family Law Blog

Frequently Asked Questions About the Termination Child Support

When a couple divorces in Missouri, the non-custodial parent is often obligated to make child support payments. In some cases, support payments may be terminated, which means that payments will no longer need to be made. The Missouri Department of Social Services answers some frequently asked questions about when child support payments can be terminated.

Do Payments Stop When a Child Reaches 18?

Domestic violence and custody

From the issues that are taken into consideration during a custody hearing to the modification of a child custody order, our law firm has addressed many different custody-related issues on our site. However, it is important to keep in mind that each custody case is unique and some parents may have special considerations. For example, domestic violence can present challenges for those involved in a dispute over child custody. Whether a parent is facing allegations of domestic violence or has been subjected to intimate partner violence firsthand, these matters must be approached with care.

For starters, a domestic violence victim should immediately take steps to protect themselves and their children from further abuse. Moreover, they should know what their rights are and show no hesitation in court if domestic violence is a concern. Ultimately, parents should do all they can to protect their children and pursue an end result that serves the child's best interests. On the flip side, we know that some people are accused of domestic violence when they are completely innocent. There are different motivations behind a spouse's decision to falsely accuse another of domestic violence, from seeking revenge to gaining the upper hand in a custody dispute. People in this position should also firmly stand up for their rights.

Dealing with a 401k in a divorce

A 401k is likely not the first asset that comes to mind when divorcing couples in St. Charles start to discuss property division. Yet by the conclusion of divorce proceedings, how such an account is divided can easily be one of the most contentious issues. Indeed, according to a survey of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, those polled claimed that 62 percent of their clients fought over the equitable distribution of retirement accounts. 

It is easy to understand why; 401ks, IRAs and other forms of retirement savings may often rank among the most valuable assets that people have. Any contributions made to a 401k during a marriage are indeed considered to be marital assets (the same is true for any profits generated or interest earned during that same time frame). Per the 401k Help Center, after a party negotiating to keep the full value of his or her 401k, dividing up the marital portion evenly is among to more common methods couples use when dealing with this asset. To do this, a couple must obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. While separate from a divorce decree, a QDRO is almost always issued in conjunction with it. This document allows assets from a retirement account to paid to an alternate payer (in this case, the non-contributing spouse). 

Tips for dividing personal property in a divorce

One of the most difficult aspects of divorcing is dividing property. And it's not just the division of major assets that can cause heated disputes. Often, divorcing spouses fight over personal property, including items with little or no value.

However, there are ways to make this process a little easier.

What to expect at a Missouri child support modification hearing

If you and your child’s other parent no longer have a romantic relationship, but the two of you have a Missouri child support order in place, a time may come when one or both of you wish to modify that agreement. Maybe the child once lived with you, but now he or she primarily resides with your former partner, or perhaps the opposite is true. Conversely, maybe your child now takes part in numerous extracurricular activities, and you need help footing the bill for them. At Turken & Porzenski, L.L.C., we understand the types of situations that may warrant a child support modification, and we have helped many clients whose former partners contest the modification prepare for child support hearings.

Per the Missouri Judiciary, changing the amount of child support you currently pay or receive typically involves modifying your existing parenting plan. When your partner disagrees with your request to change the amount of your child support order, the two of you must attend a hearing, and there are certain steps you can take in advance of that hearing to improve your chances of a favorable outcome.

Disputing paternity requires a trial

If a husband and wife are married at the time of the child's conception and birth in Missouri, it is natural for the father to assume that he is the biological father. The mother and father typically both put their names on the birth certificate at the time of birth, which makes the man the father in the eyes of the law. In the event that circumstances come to light indicating that someone else is the biological father, the current putative father may want to dispute paternity so that the biological father may become the legal father, instead.

DNA evidence makes determining the true biological father of a child much simpler. However, the putative father must still take certain steps, or he will continue to be the father in the eyes of the law, retaining all the rights and responsibilities toward the child. The Missouri Department of Social Services notes that the mother and her husband must fill out and file a form known as the Husband's Denial of Paternity

How do you handle offshore accounts during divorce?

Just because you live in St. Charles County does not mean that all of your assets are limited to the local area. You might have holdings throughout the state of Missouri, business interests throughout the USA and even accounts offshore. Dividing these complicated assets during a divorce would require care and discretion from everyone involved in the process: yourself, your accountants, your attorneys, your spouse and so forth.

One of the most discreet strategies for asset division is to attempt to avoid litigation. Although it would be unlikely in most cases that you would be able to negotiate your divorce, it would probably be in your best interest to make an attempt to do so nonetheless. Each member of a high-profile couple typically has more to lose than individuals with less of a reputation. As such, your spouse could agree to do things quietly through private negotiation— even if it would mean forgoing some of the certainty of court proceedings. 

Reasons Why Child Custody Orders May Need Modified

If you have an existing child custody arrangement in place in St. Charles, you may find the need to modify the court order as the situation changes. Knowing when a change is warranted for parents, as it will ensure that your child receives the highest quality of care. VeryWellFamily.com explains some common reasons why child custody orders are modified, which can help you decide whether it’s necessary in your case.

The Visitation Schedule Is Ignored

Money concerns knot marriage and divorce

No one wakes up on their wedding day thinking they will eventually get divorced, but it does happen – and it is becoming more and more common every day. According to Pew Research, the divorce rate is rising. Is there a reason for this rise?

When preparing for a wedding, many couples consider the cost associated with the big day. As the divorce rate rises so does the cost of weddings. According to CNN Money, the average cost of a wedding in America is now higher than $35,000. On the heels of this news, a new study finds that couples who spent more than $30,000 on their wedding are more likely to get divorced than couples who spent less than $10,000.

The rules of child support spending

After receiving your first child support check, you might wonder how you are allowed to spend it. You know that child support is meant to help you give your kids the things they need, as well as keep your lifestyle as close as possible to the one they were accustomed to before your divorce. You may also be experiencing some financial difficulties that make child support a lifesaver. However, at Turken & Porzenski, L.L.C., we understand that custodial parents in Missouri may worry if their exes or the courts can dictate how they spend the money.

Fortunately, as FindLaw explains, you have more freedom regarding child support spending than you may have assumed. Neither the family law court nor your ex-spouse will be informed of what you spend your child support check on. You may decide to use the money for basic necessities, such as food, clothing and household items. You can spend it on rent or utility bills. You may use it for school supplies, extracurricular activities or doctor visits, or save some for college expenses or an emergency.

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