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Kansas City Family Law Blog

Raising a child, key decisions and custody

68088579_S.jpgIn this post, we will take a close look at some of the challenges that are unique to parents. Raising a child can be tough for many reasons, from financial demands to daily stressors that surface in parents' lives. Sometimes, life as a parent can be particularly tough, such as instances where a couple cannot come to an agreement on a key decision in their child's life. For example, a couple may disagree about sending their child to a particular college for various reasons. In some cases, these disputes can even result in the end of a married couple's relationship.

Parents can disagree on many different key issues when it comes to the best interests of their child. Some may believe that a child should not be vaccinated or allowed to date at a certain age. A parent may be opposed to their child attending a certain college because they are worried about the school's reputation, the cost of tuition or their child moving so far away from home. Unfortunately, this can lead to a divorce, which may be particularly challenging for a child to deal with during a chaotic time in their life.

How can single parents save money this Christmas?

113613248_S.jpgIf you're a single parent in Missouri, chances are you're on a tight budget this Christmas. While you want to make sure the holiday is special for your children, you also don't want to spend yourself into financial instability. Whether you're concerned about making child support payments or trying to stretch them as far as they'll go, U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice to keep your finances on track this holiday season.

Set a budget and stick to it

Will you pay manimony when you divorce?

38832102_S.jpgIf you are a married Missouri woman whose salary or wage surpasses that of your husband, it may surprise you to learn that should the two of you divorce, you may have to make spousal support payments to your husband. As Wife.org explains, this reasonably new wrinkle to alimony goes by the nickname of manimony.

True, courts today grant manimony in only about 10 percent of divorce cases nationwide. Nevertheless, it represents a growing trend as women throughout the country continue to climb the corporate ladder or start and develop enormously successful businesses of their own. Surprisingly, in 40 percent of American homes today, the woman is the one who supports the family, either solely or by her substantial earnings that exceed those of her husband. Furthermore, over 2 million dads now stay home to raise the kids while their wives work to bring home the bacon.

How can I keep conflict to a minimum over the holidays?

34048153_S.jpgKeeping family conflict at bay during the holidays is a real concern for divorced couples. However, doing so is important for a few reasons, including proper stress management and maintaining optimum mental health for you and your children. In this case, VeryWellFamily.com recommends the following advice to ensure your holiday season is free of needless battles.

Prepare yourself for conflict

Is the divorce rate really falling?

30151074_S.jpgIf you are like a lot of people in Missouri, you may have long heard others talk about the divorce rate in America. Most people today know someone who has been divorced and may either have experienced a parental divorce or a divorce of their own. While not an uncommon experience, some recent research may point to a reduction in the divorce rate in America.

As reported by The Atlantic, a sociologist at the University of Maryland published findings that at first glance seemed to indicate a drop by as much as 18 percent in the rate of divorces in the United States between 2008 and 2016. However, the final data shows a drop by eight percent. This number takes into account other demographical shifts as well as the number of people who actually got married to start with.

Child support obligations for disabled children

38133389_S.jpgWhile it may be reasonable to expect that tensions exist between you and your ex-spouse immediately following your divorce in Jackson County, the passage of time should help ease those, especially if your ex-spouse remains compliant to any support obligations they may have (such as child support). It is well known that (in most cases) parents paying child support are no longer required to do so once a child reaches the age of majority. Yet what if you have a disabled child? Many in your situation come to us here at the Stange Law Firm concerned that once their ex-spouses' child support obligations end, they will struggle to meet their disabled children's needs on their own. 

The hope is that your ex-spouse will understand the need to continue to offer financial support for your disabled child into adulthood. Yet if they express an unwillingness to, you should know that the law does provide a method to extend a child support obligation past the age of 18 for disabled persons. Per Section 452.340 of Missouri's Revised Statutes, your ex-spouse may be ordered to continue to pay child support for your disabled child if the following elements exist in your case: 

  • Your child's physical or mental handicap makes them unable to support themselves
  • Your child has no realistic prospect of ever being financially solvent
  • Your child remains unmarried

Breaking news of a divorce to your child

Missouri parents who have decided to divorce have a lot of worries to handle. One of the top concerns involves parents trying to decide how they're going to break the news to their children. While the options vary depending on the child's age and temperament, there are still some general rules of thumb that can be applied to most situations.

Psychology Today puts a strong emphasis on remaining mature and keeping the child from feeling any blame for the impending divorce. It should be made clear that the divorce is not happening because of them. Rather, it's happening because the parents feel as if it's the best decision, and it's one they made entirely on their own. Additionally, studies have shown that children react better when parents present a unified front. This means parents should avoid blaming each other for the divorce or anything leading up to it.

Should you consider a postnuptial agreement?

27898590_S.jpgFamily law experts in Jackson County will often recommend that you and your spouse enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to your marriage in order to protect each of your existing financial interests should your marriage end. Yet even the experts may agree that not every marriage may need a prenup. Neither of you may have brought significant assets into your marriage, or even if you did, you may have decided that you ultimately did not care how they might be divided should you separate (which likely seemed to be an impossibility at the time). 

Now, for whatever reason, you may be questioning that decision. If so, you should know that postnuptial agreement can be just as good at protecting your assets from being divided or lost in a divorce settlement. A cynic might say that your wanting a postnuptial agreement is a sure sign of you believing that your marriage is already on its way to failing. Yet there are indeed circumstances where considering postnuptial agreement might be the best option for you and your spouse. 

Terminating parental rights in Missouri

43028026_S.jpgAfter your divorce proceedings have been completed in Jackson County, the hope is that you and your now ex-spouse will be able to work together on those ongoing issues which require collaboration (namely, the custody of your kids). Such a task may not be easy, as evidenced by many of those that have worked with us here at the Stange Law Firm eventually seeking to have the parental rights of their former spouses terminated. The law may support your decision if you indeed feel that such a step would be the best option in your case. However, completing such an action can often be difficult. 

Per information shared by Missouri's Judicial Branch, the law allows for the termination of parental rights based on consent. For this to happen, your ex-spouse must agree to it. Even with his or her consent, however, the court must still find that taking such action is in the best interest of your children before approving it. 

License suspensions for child support arrears

87531199_S.jpgOftentimes, married parents in Jackson County might have difficulties supporting themselves and their children. One can only imagine how much more difficult such as task becomes if and when such a couple chooses to divorce. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that as recently as 2015, over $33.7 billion was owed in child support. With such a large sum of money at stake (along with the well-being of those that are owed it), it should come as little surprise that family courts take the issue of child support enforcement so seriously. 

One effective method in resolving child support arrears has been to restrict the privileges of those that owe them. Many states will even suspend the driver's licenses of obligor parents in such situations; Missouri is among them. Per Section 454.1003 of the state's Revised Statutes, one subject to a child support obligation can have his or her driver's license suspended in any of the following situations: 

  • He or she owes an amount in child support arrears equaling either the sum of three months worth of payments or $2500
  • He or she fails to comply with a subpoena from the court concerning the modification of an existing child support order
  • He or she fails to comply with a subpoena from the court concerning the establishment of paternity
  • He or she fails to comply with a subpoena from the court over matters related to genetic testing

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Other Office Locations

  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
  • West County: 16024 Manchester Rd., Suite 103, Ellisville, MO 63011: Ellisville Office
  • Jackson County: 256 NE Tudor Rd., Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086: Lee's Summit Office
  • Jefferson County: 16 Municipal Drive, Suite C, Arnold, MO 63010: Arnold Office
  • St. Charles County: 2268 Bluestone Drive, St. Charles, MO 63303: St. Charles Office
  • Franklin County: 5 S. Oak St. Union, MO 63084: Union Office
  • Lincoln County: 20 Centerline Drive, Troy, Missouri 63379: Troy Office
  • Boone County: 1506 Chapel Hill Rd., Suite H, Columbia, MO 65203: Columbia Office
  • Greene County: 901 E. St. Louis, Suite 404, Springfield, Missouri 65806 Springfield, MO Office
  • St. Clair County: 115 Lincoln Place Ct., Ste. 101, Belleville, IL 62221: Belleville Office
  • Madison County: 5 Club Centre Ct., Suite A, Edwardsville, Illinois 62025: Edwardsville Office
  • Sangamon County: 400 S. 9th St., Suite 100, Springfield, IL 62701: Springfield Office
  • McLean County: 1012 Ekstam Drive, Suite 4, Bloomington, IL 61704: Bloomington Office
  • Johnson County: 7300 West 110th Street, Suite 560, Overland Park, KS 62210: Overland Park Office
  • Sedgwick County: 2024 N. Woodlawn Street, Suite 407, Wichita, Kansas 67208: Wichita Office
  • Monroe County: 116 W. Mill St., Waterloo, IL 62298 (by appt. only): Waterloo Office
  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
  • Jackson County: 2300 Main St., #948, Kansas City, MO 64108 (by appt. only): Kansas City Office

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