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Kansas City Family Law Blog

How is a visitation schedule determined?

As divorced parents in Missouri, you and your ex-spouse will need to face an issue that other couples may not necessarily need to: child custody. Determining and maintaining child custody arrangements can be a big source of tension after a divorce, and issues related to visitation and child custody rights can often cause trouble for everyone involved. At Stange Law Firm, PC, we work to help you get through any difficulties you may be having regarding child custody.

Whether you have shared or joint custody of a child, or if one parent has sole custody, you will still be operating off of a visitation schedule. This schedule is determined based on a number of factors, including but not limited to parental availability, history of abuse or neglect, status of employment, and ability to provide for the child.

Determining jurisdiction in interstate custody cases

73697073_S.jpgOne of the more common reason married couples in Jackson County may give as to why they are choosing to divorce is that they have grown apart. If such perceived distance caused issues in their marriage, one can only imagine how much more exacerbated those may become when the actual distance between them increases. In many cases, that distance may span across state lines. When it comes (and a couple has child custody issues that need to be resolved), a whole new level of complexity can be introduced to a case. 

Custody guidelines and regulations differ from state-to-state, which is why some may see it as an advantage to move to one where they believe they have the best chance of securing a favorable ruling. This then prompts the question of which state would have jurisdiction in a child custody case. To better regulate issues related to interstate custody cases, 48 states (Missouri included) have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. It confers the right the rule on a custody case to the court that meets one of the three following criteria: 

  • The court is located in the children's home state
  • The court is located in a state where people with whom the children have significant connections reside
  • The court is located in a state the children have relocated to for their own safety

What are some pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement?

43132344_S.jpgA prenuptial agreement may not be very romantic, but it can be the right choice for future spouses who want to protect a business or personal assets in Missouri. Because let's face it, we all know the divorce rate in the U.S. is 50 percent and this document offers some peace of mind. FindLaw offers several pros and cons to consider when you're weighing your options, listed below.

Pros of a prenuptial agreement

What do child support payments cover?

48343953_S.jpgMissouri parents still have a lot of work to do post-divorce. Your child still depends on both of you for financial resources, so figuring out a child support plan that works for all parties is crucial. Stange Law Firm is here not only to help get the ball rolling, but to aid you if you find yourself facing difficulties collecting support payments.

Child support payments are important for many reasons. They help cover basic necessities. This can include food, clothing, shelter, and educational fees. Medical expenses can also be covered partially by child support payments, though a parent's medical coverage will still extend to their child even after a divorce. After all, child support is meant to make up for the financial gap that the non-custodial parent leaves behind.

Arranging custody during the summer months

45903154_S.jpgWith the arrival of spring in Jackson County, parents inevitably look forward to the summertime to plan for when their children will be out of school. As a recently divorced parent, you may be looking forward to your kids' summer break with extra anticipation this year given that it will allow you to spend more time with them. You may want to include an extended vacation as part of that time, yet would such a venture work with your custody schedule? We here at the Stange Law Firm have worked with countless clients in the same position, and are happy to tell you that the law allows for extended custody periods exclusively during your children's summer break. 

When developing your parenting plan, you and your ex-spouse are offered two options to split custodial time during summer break. According to the Missouri State Judiciary, these options are to continue with your normal custody schedule, or to allow you both to rotate custody every week. If you were to choose the latter, this temporary agreement would begin three days after school ends and end three days prior to classes resuming. 

Modifying a child support obligation

37314719_S (1).jpgWhen divorce divides a family in Jackson County, almost everything changes. Perhaps the one thing that does not is the love and affection the parents feel for their kids (and, by extension, the desire they have to care for them). It is for this exact reason why child support is such a pressing issue when it comes to divorce. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, over $33.7 billion was owed in child support as recently as 2015. In a perfect world, those who owe such a support would never have issues paying it. However, the fact that unpaid child support is an issue family courts are perpetually dealing shows that does not always happen. 

Those obliged to pay child support may see their financial circumstances change. Such changes may include: 

  • The loss of a job (or a reduction in work hours)
  • The need to support a new family 
  • Changes in children's needs

What are some ways my spouse may be hiding money?

8100099_S.jpgIt has been said that money changes people, which holds true in Missouri and elsewhere. Whether or not you believe that money is the root of all evil, you must admit that the pursuit of it causes people to do things they may not have done otherwise. Things like hiding assets from your spouse. Do it during a marriage and you may wind up in divorce court; do it during divorce and it is illegal.

HuffPost shows that, among people with combined finances, three in 10 have hidden money or purchases from their spouse or partner. In fact, 7.2 million people in the U.S. own up to hiding banking and credit-card accounts. Here are some of the ways your partner may attempt to hide assets.

Child custody and unfit parents

49949771_S.jpgChild custody is a common point of contention between separating Missouri parents. Although one parent may deem the other unfit for child custody, courts generally prioritize the child's best interest by looking at the entire picture: a parent's financial situation and mental stability are often points of focus. However, when a parent has lost child custody in the past, or has inflicted abuse toward a child, legal action may be the next step.

In the unfortunate recent case of Savannah Leckie, an Ozark County girl murdered by her mother, child custody appeared in the wrong hands. Originally having lived most of her life with adoptive parents in Minnesota, the 16-year-old with Asperger's syndrome then went to live with her biological mother, Rebecca Ruud, in Missouri. The teenager then suffered months of torture and abuse from her mother, who used extreme methods of punishment to control the child. Ruud faces charges of first- and second-degree murder, among other crimes in relation to her daughter's abuse. 

Paternity testing and the steps at hand

92054050_S.jpgNo matter the situation, determining child custody can invite a world of stress for Missouri parents. After the obstacles of separation fade to the background, the court's decisions on parenting arrangements can create entirely new challenges. When there is uncertainty surrounding the identity of a child's biological father altogether, this stress can seem magnified.

Missouri law, like other states, requires that all parties agree to legal DNA testing, but does not require an initial DNA test. As Kctv5 News reported last year, one local father never received the paternity testing he had sought for years, only to later discover that his daughter was not biologically his own. Because his ex-partner denied his efforts to carry out testing, he paid child support dating back to the child's birth in 1988. While this was a shock to all involved, an added whirlwind was the accumulation of child support payments that amounted to $36,000 -- all of which had been garnished despite the DNA proof to Missouri Child Support enforcement. 

Do I have to pay my ex-spouse's student loans?

13044479_S.jpgIf you are one of the many people in Missouri who is facing the end of your marriage this year, you are no doubt concerned about the financial ramifications you may experience from a divorce. Many people focus on the division of assets when they first think of a property division settlement. While splitting assets is definitely a component of this, it is debts also that must be divided between spouses.

As Forbes explains, student loan debt may be one type of debt that ends up being shared by both spouses. Like other debts or assets, a determination of who will be responsible for paying student loan debt during a divorce may be influenced by many factors. One of these factors is likely to be whether or not the spouse who took out the loans used them solely for tuition and potentially books or other school fees or if the money was also used to pay for basic living expenses.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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Lee's Summit, Missouri 64086

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