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St. Charles Family Law Blog

Terminal illness and custody disputes

Those who are struggling with a terminal illness may be facing many different hardships, whether they are depressed due to their health or they are facing physical and financial problems associated with their health crisis. For people in this position, the divorce process can be particularly tough, especially if there is disagreement over how child custody should be awarded. Parents who are simultaneously dealing with a terminal illness and a custody dispute may be under an immense amount of pressure, and they may have concerns about whether their circumstances will impact the custody decision.

Courts assess many factors when deciding how to award custody. If a parent’s mental health has deteriorated, this may affect how custody is awarded. If the court believes that a parent is unable to provide a child with the care that they need because of their health challenges, this may prevent the parent from securing the custody outcome they are looking for. However, many people who are dealing with a terminal illness are fully capable of providing a child with the support they need.

Separate property may affect how marital property is divided

You and your spouse planned ahead before your Missouri marriage by creating a solid premarital agreement. Now that you are divorcing, you have the confidence of knowing that your nonmarital property will remain separate from the division process. At Turken & Porzenski, L.L.C., our legal team often works with clients to negotiate for a fair division of property in their divorce.

Because your separate property will not be divided, you may believe that it will not be factored into the process. However, the courts consider many issues in determining what is a fair and equitable division, and your separate property may affect what you receive, according to the Missouri Revised Statutes § 452.330. Other factors include spouses' conduct and contributions to marital property during the marriage, which spouse will be the primary caregiver of the children and what each spouse's financial circumstances are.

What are postnuptial agreements?

Many couples experience trouble during the course of their marriages. When this occurs, a postnuptial agreement can be a means of rectifying ongoing issues and spelling out just what would happen should a divorce occur. The Spruce explains postnuptial agreements so you can make the best decision for your marriage. 

Postnuptial agreements can contain numerous elements. They're often used to resolve financial issues, such as disagreements about spending and saving. They can also contain language regarding child-rearing or household chores. They're also used to address changes that have taken place within a marriage, which may affect a couple's financial standing or caused conflict in some way. While they can be beneficial from this respect, there are some questions regarding the overall validity of these agreements. 

How can I help my child cope with visitation issues?

Scheduled visitation is a must to ensure a child has a healthy, loving relationship with both parents after a divorce. When one parent is unreliable, it can really take a toll on a child's emotional and mental health. Accordingly, Parents offers the following tips so you can help your child cope with your ex-spouse's actions.

When an important event is missed, encourage your child to express himself openly. Don't dismiss his emotions or attempt to make excuses for your ex in an attempt to alleviate hurt feelings. Acknowledge that your child is upset and let him vent his emotions to you without judgment. You can also encourage your child to make his feelings known to his ex in a way that feels the most comfortable. For some kids, this can involve sending an email or text. 

I have questions about paternity, what comes next?

Facing suspicions about a child's paternity can be devastating. Many fathers aren't sure what to do next, especially when they're told their fears are unfounded. The American Pregnancy Association offers the following advice if you're thinking about asking for a paternity test from your partner. 

First, you should be aware of why it's so important to establish paternity as soon as possible. When a child requires healthcare, medical providers are best served by information on both the mother and father. Without this information, certain conditions or illnesses will be overlooked, which leads to a poor prognosis when it comes to serious health issues. It also establishes a legal bond between father and child, which is useful when it comes to providing benefits or inheritances. Lastly, it ensures you can establish a healthy, loving relationship with your child free of doubt and worry.

Valuing a business for a divorce

A couple has reached the end of a marriage. But this couple has achieved financial success and accumulated property and assets, including a business. To reach a fair settlement, the spouses need a valuation of the business, so they can effectively divide this financial asset. Missouri is an equitable division state, and as such, the law requires equitable distribution of property and assets to each spouse during a divorce proceeding.

Ownership stake in the business

Are there valid reasons for alimony today?

You may have already heard the differing opinions: Alimony is an outdated concept. Spousal support unfairly penalizes the ex-spouse who pays. Alimony is still necessary for the spouse who was a stay-at-home parent. Your own situation may directly influence your opinion on this controversial topic. You and other Missouri residents may be interested in learning about spousal support after your divorce.

Many people believe alimony is as antiquated a concept as women staying home to take care of their households while men make the sole income. As you may know, in many families today, both spouses work outside the home and contribute toward the household income. However, there are a few situations in which it may be difficult for the lesser-earning spouse to make ends meet after a divorce, such as the following:

  • One parent staying home full time to take care of the children and the home
  • One spouse only working part-time or making significantly less money than the other spouse
  • One spouse having fewer job options because he or she supported the other spouse while he or she got an education and built a career early in the marriage

Modifying or ending child support

The parenting plan divorced or separated parents decide on for a newborn may no longer be adequate when a child starts school. As children grow, their needs change. The parents’ situations may also change during this time. As a result, there are ways to modify child support in Missouri to account for changes in circumstances.

For parents who have no desire to go back to court to iron out a new parenting plan, there is good news. According to Missouri Courts, as long as both parents agree on the changes, they can avoid a court hearing. These would involve the exchange location, days or times. However, major changes, such as where a child resides for the majority of the time, would require a new court order to be legally binding.

Deciding if you should give your ring back to your ex

As you are facing the future without your ex in the picture, you are looking at your once-beloved wedding band and trying to decide what is next. While there is no definite answer for what should be done with this piece of jewelry, it may be a decision that has created some tension and disagreement. At T&P, we are committed to helping people in Missouri to find rewarding solutions during a period of time that may seem rather hopeless. 

The circumstances surrounding your ring may vary depending under what conditions it was given, whether or not it holds any sentimental value to you or your ex and how each other feels about the impending divorce. According to today.com, you could share the mutual opinion with your ex that your ring is your property and can be disposed of according to your wishes. Perhaps you wish to repurpose it into something else. Maybe you will choose to sell it and make a profit. You could even consider giving it back to your ex. 

How can I buy out my spouse’s business ownership?

Divorces can become even more complicated when the married spouses also share a business partnership. If the divorcing spouses decide that they cannot run the business together after the divorce is complete, usually one spouse will try to buy out the ownership interest of the other. Assuming the other spouse is willing to take the sale, there are a number of ways a business owner in St. Charles County can seek to purchase a spouse’s ownership stake.

Per Inc.com, one option is to buy out your spouse with a share of other marital assets. These may include using stocks, real estate, a retirement account, or cash. If you do not have enough capital to match your spouse’s price, you can also consider negotiating away some assets in exchange for a lower price. For instance, if you own a boat that you know your spouse has an eye on, consider trading it to your spouse.

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