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Jackson County Family Law Blog

Missouri welfare reform causes some to seek child support

53466713_S (1).jpgCustodial parents depend on child support payments for many reasons, from medical expenses and buying food to purchasing clothes for school. In Jackson County, Missouri, and throughout the country, raising a child can be very expensive and parents should remain committed to providing their children with all of the tools they need. However, for both non-custodial and custodial parents, every situation is different.

In Missouri, people are only able to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) cash benefits for 45 months because of a bill that was passed in 2014. Before the bill was approved, Missourians could receive TANF benefits for up to 60 months. Following the reform, a number of changes have been seen across the state, some of which involve child support, according to experts.

Does interest accumulate on unpaid child support?

From a prison sentence to harsh financial penalties, you may face a number of challenges if you are unable to make child support payments. Furthermore, it is important to pay attention to other factors that could make your situation even more complicated, such as the accrual of interest on back child support. If you live in Jackson County, or elsewhere in Missouri, handling child support problems in a timely manner is vital.

According to the Missouri General Assembly, the state will charge you one percent interest on the child support payments you have missed each month. When you pay your back child support, no portion of the money collected will be considered an interest payment until the arrears have been paid in full. Moreover, interest will be charged on the final day of every month following your first missed child support payment.

Modifying a custody order because of military deployment

43943273_S (1).jpgWhether you are a parent who is facing deployment or are a non-deploying parent, you may wish to modify your child custody order as a result of military service. In Jackson County, Missouri, families who are preparing for the deployment of a loved one often face a number of difficult decisions and are unsure of the full impact deployment will have on their lives. If you are struggling with any issues related to deployment, finding answers and working towards a positive outcome is crucial.

According to the Missouri General Assembly, you can temporarily modify your child custody order while you are deployed or while your child's other parent is deployed. If you are being deployed, you may be able to have an expedited hearing over custody issues, so long as you have good cause and let the court know ahead of time. However, there are certain limitations that you should recognize. For example, you cannot assign your visitation rights to a relative who has a track record of carrying out domestic violence against someone in the household.

How to behave in divorce court

36417391_S.jpgIdeally, spouses are able to sit down with their attorneys in Missouri and come to a reasonable agreement on property division and other issues. Once this is reached, it is taken to the judge, where the final decision is handed down. However, if things do not go so smoothly, it may be much more difficult for both parties to keep their composure while in the court room. The Huffington Post warns that behavior in front of the judge may affect the outcome of the case.

Although one or both spouses were unwilling to negotiate before going to court, they should both be careful not to go overboard on their requests. If these are outrageously unfair, it will not impress the judge. On the contrary, it could lead to some negative feedback. Whether the judge's responses are welcome or unwelcome, spouses may do well to remember that the way they react and how they speak to the judge should always be completely respectful.

What does the court learn from a psychological evaluation?

In determining the best interests of your child during a custody battle in Missouri, the judge may decide that a psychological evaluation is necessary. According to the American Psychological Association, there are certain goals that the psychologist should attempt to accomplish during this meeting with your child.

58984077_S.jpgYou and your former spouse may have very different parenting styles, and the psychologist will evaluate how these specifically affect your child's needs. This is not meant to be a general assessment of you and the other parent. Instead, it is a practical evaluation of your behaviors and attitudes toward parenting as they are applied to the way you take care of your child. The psychologist is trying to identify if one of you is a better fit for custodial parent, or if you are both suited to co-parent.

4 events that don't automatically end child support

11048312_S.jpgParents who are obligated to pay child support don't necessarily look forward to making these payments every month. However, they do so knowing that their financial contribution is essential in protecting the well-being of their child, and they should know that failure to keep up with payments could have very serious legal consequences.

With all this in mind, parents often look forward to the day when they can finally stop making these payments. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen when people think it should happen.

Think divorcing in your 20s is easy? Think again

39243747_S.jpgThere are many things that seem easier for people of a certain age. But the fact is that we never really know how easy or difficult something is for others. For instance, as this article on The Huffington Post points out, there are many misconceptions people have about people who divorce at a young age. Some people think it's easy; others think it is the result of a careless, immature decision to marry too young.

The truth, however, is that divorce in your 20s, or any age for that matter, is complicated and difficult. If you are in your 20s or 30s and divorcing, you should be prepared for some very real challenges you may have to face. 

New law in Missouri aimed at improving shared parenting

53466661_S (1).jpgFor years now, there have been studies and surveys showing that children often benefit when they have frequent, consistent contact with two parents. These numbers have sparked many states to adopt new laws that aim at leveling the playing field when it comes to establishing child custody and shared parenting. 

Today, Missouri is among those states. Recently, a new law was passed that made important changes to custody and visitation guidelines.

How social media use could jeopardize your divorce

31480030_S.jpgSocial media is a part of our daily lives. This preoccupation with social media may seem pretty harmless, but it could be causing more problems than you think, especially if you are in a relationship.

As articles like this one on the Huffington Post point out, social media can hurt relationships in a number of ways, from making it easier to cheat to creating a false sense of reality. However, social media use can also hurt people who are getting out of relationships. For instance, if you are getting divorced, there are a few ways you could wind up damaging yourself and others through social media.

Is it possible to modify my child support order?

34278027_S.jpgWhen you are packing your child up to go back to school in the coming weeks, you probably aren't going to give them the same clothes, the same supplies and the same books you gave them a few years ago. This wouldn't work because things have changed and your child needs things that fit their needs better.

This is how you might also want to look at your child support order. If you have had the same order in place for a few years now, it might be time to revisit it and make sure it still fits your needs and your child's needs.