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Kansas City Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Getting a divorce when your spouse is a bully

Missouri residents in unhealthy marriages often dream about getting away from their situation. Divorce may be the best answer for those living in marriages with an unfair balance of power. However, getting a divorce is not as simple in these relationships as it is in other situations.

Divorce can bring out the worst in people. Now, imagine trying to divorce someone who uses bullying to get their way. To put it mildly, it is an extremely difficult process. A narcissist or bully often displays the following types of behavior:

  • Making threats of physical, emotional and/or psychological harm
  • Using intimidation tactics designed to cause fear
  • Attempting to isolate you from family, friends or other support systems
  • Making statements that cause you to feel inferior

When does a parent's child support obligations end in Missouri?

118036382_s.jpgMost parents are hesitant to ask questions about when they may stop paying child support. Many people believe that asking such a question will make them look as if they do not want to support their kids. Despite the hesitance, it is a valid and important question for parents who wish to begin planning later stages of their lives.

While nearly all parents would never begrudge the money they spend to care for their children, it is natural to look forward to a time when you can stop making these payments.

Understanding the law for parental relocation in Missouri

82955114_s.jpgFor some Missouri residents, child custody and visitation is a concern. One issue that is frequently problematic for both parents is if one wants to relocate. This can impact various aspects of the child custody agreement.

With parental location, it is wise to adhere to the legal requirements regardless of the parent's perspective. When a parent wants to relocate, the other parent and anyone who is entitled to custody and visitation must be informed via certified mail. This must be done within 60 days of the relocation. The following information must be provided: the location of the new residence; the home telephone number; when the relocation will take place; a statement as to why the parent wants to relocate; and a proposal to adjust the custody and visitation schedule accordingly.

Parenting plans need to be tailored to meet the children's needs

54444023_s.jpgIt can be easy to create a plan in which a parent spends every other week with his or her child. However, this may not necessarily be in the child's best interest, especially for kids who under 12 years of age. Fortunately, there are many different ways in which mothers and fathers can allocate parenting time after a divorce. For instance, a child could spend weekdays with one parent and the weekend with the other.

The goal is to find a plan that works for the parents while also ensuring that the child's needs are met. Keeping a child away from a parent for too long could cause separation anxiety or other mental health issues. Being with a child for an entire week at a time may not be practical from a scheduling standpoint.

Some good reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement

53220517_s.jpgSome Missouri couples may want to consider a prenuptial agreement before they get married. While no one likes the idea of thinking about divorce before walking down the aisle, experts say there are three circumstances in particular in which a prenup is critical.

Blended families can create a number of complications. It is generally important to each spouse that their own children get their assets, but without a prenup in place, this may not be what happens. If one spouse dies, the assets may pass to the surviving spouse and then to that person's children, leaving the children of the spouse who died first with nothing. A prenup can also be important if one spouse is involved in a family business. Without a prenup, if the two divorce, the other spouse may be able to claim a portion of that business as joint property. This could even lead to the family losing the business altogether.

What parents should know about visitation

25281085_s.jpgGenerally speaking, Missouri parents are allowed to have a relationship with their children after a divorce. This may be true even if a parent is not allowed to have custody of a son or daughter. When making a physical custody ruling, a judge must ensure that the best interests of the child are being met. In some cases, it is easier for a child to live primarily with one parent.

Those who are denied custody rights are generally granted visitation rights, and the parents themselves may create a parenting plan that meets their needs as well as the needs of their children. However, a judge can create a visitation schedule if the parents are unable to. Noncustodial parents are encouraged to spend as much time with their children as possible. Otherwise, they may risk having their parenting time reduced or eliminated altogether.

How a child's age can affect custody plans

97184852_s.jpgWhen parents with young kids in Missouri decide to divorce, some challenges will emerge. They may need to transition to a new coparenting relationship, no matter what disputes they went through before the separation. Coparenting requires good communication, but different approaches to custody might be necessary depending on the age of the children. When determining how parents should share custody, one situation does not have to remain the same forever. The parenting plan can even change to match the children's developmental stages.

In most cases, infants and young toddlers benefit from the stability of primary physical custody with one parent. However, this does not mean that the other parent can't have liberal visitation rights and a high level of involvement as the child grows. Regular quality time can help to build the parent-child bond regardless of the custody situation or the age of a child. Young kids who are a little older, on the other hand, may cope better with a more traditional shared custody arrangement. Because these kids do not understand time, however, it may be best to arrange regular calls or video chats.

Misconceptions about noncustodial parents

5556730_s.jpgThere is a misconception that noncustodial parents in Missouri and throughout the country don't care about their children. However, not having custody of a son or daughter doesn't mean that a parent doesn't play a significant role in that child's life. In many cases, he or she will have visitation rights and provide for the child financially. It is possible that a custodial parent will pay child support to the noncustodial parent.

There is also a misconception that all noncustodial parents are fathers, but depending on the facts in a case, a father could win joint or sole custody of a son or daughter. Regardless of whether a parent has custody of a child or not, he or she is considered a single parent. Typically, noncustodial parents are solely responsible for meeting a child's needs during overnight or other extended visits.

Fathers have equal rights to child custody

37279314_s.jpgFathers in Missouri may be concerned about their future relationship with their children if they are going through a divorce. Many dads worry that family courts will be biased against them and in favor of the child's mother even though they are loving, active participants in family life. Historically, child-raising was seen as the natural province of mothers, and fathers were expected to be more distant. Many of these views date back to a time when two-income households were far less common. There was a general expectation that the mother would have primary custody of the children while the father would pay child support and visit the children from time to time.

However, all of this has changed. Fathers not only regularly receive joint custody but also primary residential custody of their children. Many family courts are eager to foster the involvement of the father in a child's life, especially as multiple studies have proven that children have better outcomes and happier lives when both parents are involved in their development. Of course, there are still some biases to be found from time to time. Some judges may still believe that fathers are less likely to be "natural" caregivers than mothers, but this approach conflicts with state law and public policy.

Handling the holidays after a divorce

48072296_s.jpgThe holidays can be a challenging time for Missouri parents who have recently gone through a divorce. Scheduling plans with extended family members can be difficult to sort out at any time, but this is especially true if the child custody situation is still settling into place. Both parents' families may have traditions that they want the children to be part of, and as a result, the kids may become the center of a battle for control of the holidays. As with other issues dealing with family traditions and parenting time, it is important for divorced parents to put the kids first.

When parents do not focus on the needs of the kids, it can be easy for the holidays to become just another subject for ongoing arguments about the divorce. Parents may feel that they need to "win" the battle of holiday planning with the other parent. As a result, their children may feel even more hurt and confused. As much as possible, parents should work together to put their differences aside and make a plan for the winter holidays. Children benefit from a strong relationship with both of their parents, and the holiday season should give them plenty of close time with both sides of the family.

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