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Kansas City Family Law Blog

When emotions interfere with divorce issues

If you are contemplating divorce, already in the middle of the process, or have already parted ways with your former spouse, you may have various responsibilities and concerns. You could be worried about how marital property will be split between you and your spouse. Or, perhaps you are losing sleep thinking about how custody will be awarded. During these times, an array of emotions can arise, from anger to depression and high levels of anxiety. It is important to prevent these emotions from having a negative impact on your divorce case.

Our law office knows that people may feel out of control during a divorce proceeding. All of these factors can significantly increase the chances of strong emotions, but you should try to maintain a sense of calm and be careful as you work through any hurdles that you have to navigate. Regrettably, some people have allowed their negative emotions to get in the way of their divorce case, whether they have an outburst in the courtroom or fail to prepare properly because they feel too overwhelmed. With so much at stake, especially if you have kids or significant assets, it is vital to avoid this if at all possible.

Untangling child custody disputes

Home is a place to unwind, bond with family and friends and enjoy peace of mind -- these aspects are especially ideal for children who are affected by divorce. Millions across the nation struggle with making two homes what one used to be. Yet a 2016 Missouri law has caused many parents to develop concern in regards to how much time, exactly, they are able to spend with their own children. Much confusion has surrounded this 50/50 parenting law, and some fathers in particular have decided to speak out.

In September 2016, KSHB News covered the lobby carried out by the movement on father's rights that ended up in Washington D.C. The movement focused on the potential Missouri parenting laws that were subject to change, regarding parents' encouraged equal rights to their children post-separation. Some of the fathers involved in the movement had spent little to no time with their own children due to preexisting child custody laws. Like most states, however, Missouri prioritizes the best interests of the child in divorce cases -- with that said, the fine print can make matters complicated. 

Divorce, bankruptcy and your mortgage

Residents in Missouri who are facing the difficult and emotional decision of having to end their marriage may also have other decisions to wrestle with. If financial problems are part of the marital issues, people may also be struggling with how to reconcile these problems as well. If the financial challenges are severe enough and bankruptcy is a viable options, consideration should be given as to what type of bankruptcy might be best and when it would be most appropriate to file for that bankruptcy relative to when a divorce filing is made.

As explained by The Balance, if a person or a couple feels that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is appropriate for them, they may want to consider doing this jointly before they initiate their divorce proceeding. This will allow them to benefit from higher exemption rates which may result in them being able to keep some assets that they may otherwise lose if one spouse filed a solo Chapter 7 bankruptcy regardless of the timing of that filing.

Child support determination guidelines in Missouri

One of the greatest challenges that divorcing parents in Jackson County may face is being able to set aside the issues that contributed to the end of their marriages in order to work together in raising their kids. Many may believe that residual feelings of animosity harbored by former spouses may prompt them to try and punish their exes through their divorce proceedings. One way may be to ask for inordinate amounts of child support. Those obliged to pay such support may feel as though their former spouses are trying to harm them financially under the guise of trying to support the kids. The fact that the U.S. Census Bureau reports that $32.9 billion was due in child support as recently as 2013 may seem to support this assumption. 

It should be known, however, that the decision of how much one must pay in child support (or if one is required to pay anything at all) is left to the court. The elements the court uses to make a child support determination can be found in Section 452.340(1) of Missouri's Revised Statutes. These include:

  • The standard of living that the children involved in a divorce case would have enjoyed had their parents remained together. 
  • The time children spend with each parent as part of a custody agreement, and the expenses required to fulfill such an arrangement.
  • The children's education needs, as well as their physical and emotional health 

Domestic violence and cell phone recordings

With family law, various legal challenges may arise. However, those involving domestic violence are often particularly difficult to work through and may carry significant consequences. Depending on your circumstances, you may be worried about your safety or the well-being of your children. Or, you could fear that your reputation and career will be shattered. Our Missouri law firm fully understands the amount of stress that domestic violence disputes can generate and we believe it is important to take steps to protect yourself.

If you are afraid that you may be subjected to domestic violence, it could be a good idea to be prepared to capture any incident on your cell phone or via another mechanism, such as a security camera. If you have already obtained evidence of domestic violence on your phone, you may want to consider using this footage as evidence in court.

Divorce and concerns about identity theft

16290767_S.jpgDivorce brings many hurdles for couples, such as concerns about who will be responsible for paying debts or taking care of children. However, some people may also fall victim to identity theft at the hands of their former marital partner. If you fear that this may happen to you, it is pivotal to take whatever steps you can to protect your identity. If you think that this has already affected you, you may want to look into further action. Unfortunately, identity theft can affect those who are splitting up with their spouse for different reasons.

Sometimes, people are very bitter during a divorce or are upset at their former spouse for one reason or another. Unfortunately, some people choose to act out in a way that may hurt their ex, even if it is against the law. Some people may also steal their former spouse's identity because they are experiencing financial challenges after ending their marriage. Moreover, this can be especially problematic because spouses often have each other's personal information, such as date of birth, mother's maiden name, social security number, etc. If you have experienced identity theft or another violation of the law because of your ex, you may want to address this in court.

When a child custody battle is a life or death matter

37707567_S.jpgAll too often, child custody battles involve some level of child abuse. Countless parents across the nation have experienced the crippling stress of attempting to gain full custody of children in dire situations. When an ex-spouse or partner fails to provide their child with proper emotional and physical care, that failure constitutes as abuse. Parents in Kansas City have the right to dispute child custody arrangements when they fear their children are unsafe.

There are answers to child custody battles involving abuse, but in the case of one Kansas City grandparent, that answer came too late. Last month, KSHB News reported on the tragic death of three-year-old Evan Brewer, whose remains were found at the home of his mother and her boyfriend. KSHB shared that, in September of this year, the father of the child had filed a protection from abuse order against the couple. The father claimed that the boyfriend would beat Evan extensively. Even more shockingly, complaints of abuse to the child landed in the records of the Department of Children and Families just days before the child died. The father of Evan heavily criticized the state's lack of involvement in such cases, demanding more attention spent on addressing child abuse.   

What is third-party custody?

42256169_S.jpgLike most grandparents in Jackson County, your deep regard for your grandchildren is only matched by the love you feel for your own kids. You of course want to see your own children succeed as parents, yet not at the expense of your grandkids' well-being. If the issue of your grandchildren's custody does come up, you may feel as though you owe it to them to ask the court to consider giving you custodial rights. 

Section 452.375(5) of Missouri's Domestic Relations Code shows that the state considers five distinct types of custody: 

  • Joint physical and joint legal custody to both parents
  • Joint physical custody with sole legal custody awarded to one parent
  • Joint legal custody with sole physical custody awarded to one parent
  • Sole custody awarded to one parent 
  • Third-party custody 

Addressing threats during the divorce process

37960928_S.jpgDivorce can be hard for many reasons, from custody to child support arrangements. However, there are times when the end of marriage can become especially troubling. For example, someone may have to deal with threats from their spouse, whether these threats involve violence or have to do with legal issues involving children. Stange Law Firm is aware of how troubling this can be for parents, and we know how essential it is for people to handle these types of disputes appropriately, as difficult as that can be at times.

With technology, there are even more ways for threats, false accusations, and other attacks to arise. During divorce, a spouse may receive a hateful email from the person who they are splitting up with. Not only can this generate an intense emotional reaction, such as stress, anger, depression, or fear, but it could also have an impact on the case. If you are going through a divorce, it is vital to be careful with the things you say. On the other hand, if you have received threats, you may want to consider bringing this up in the courtroom, especially if they involve the safety of you or your children.

Family law issues and retirement

37453448_S.jpgWhether someone is worried about the outcome of a child custody dispute or is unsure of how their marital property will be divvied up, splitting up with a spouse can be tough in many different ways. However, those who have made the decision to file for divorce shortly before or right after retiring may face additional challenges. Our law firm also realizes that some people may be caught off-guard after their spouse decides to call off the marriage right around the time of their retirement. If you are facing these hurdles, you should review your rights and take steps to protect your future.

Divorce can be hard, but it can also be viewed as a new beginning. Likewise, retiring can be difficult for some people, but for many it is also a fresh start. If you recently retired, your daily life could have changed in all sorts of ways. For example, you may have more free time and your daily routine has likely changed quite a bit. Ending your marriage can also change your life in a multitude of ways and you could have a hard time processing these changes if you are already trying to adjust to life after retirement. 

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
256 NE Tudor Rd.
Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086

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