Columbia Divorce Law Blog

Financial planning for a divorce?

Like most things in life, planning can help your divorce. No, we are not suggesting that you should plan to get divorced. However, if you are certain your marriage relationship is failing, and you are considering the prospect of a divorce, doing some financial homework before you file can significantly ease many of the complex elements of your property division.

The dividing of your marital property is a very important part of your divorce. Which assets your receive and their form and timing can all have a long-lasting impact on your financial condition after your divorce agreement is final.

Do we need to know what the divorce rate is?

The U.S. Census Bureau would like to stop doing something it has done for decades. It no longer wants to have to count the number of divorces that occur every year. The questions asked regarding divorce are part of the American Community Survey and the data is used by many disparate groups for everything from research on the changing American family, to political groups arguing pro or con on many issues.

The Census Bureau apparently feels that the data is not particular valuable and can be obtain from other sources, such as the state courts that grant divorces. While that is true, to some degree, having a single source with a consistent methodology used to gather the data, ensures accuracy that may be lacking when looking at 50 distinct sources.

How lucky do you feel in your divorce proceeding?

During any divorce, the property settlement is likely to be a significant element of the proceeding. The older the couple, the longer the marriage and the more substantial the assets, the more likely there are to be disagreements over what is a fair division of the marital property.

But few divorces are likely to have a property division of the size of the divorce involving Harold Hamm and his wife. He is the owner and creator of Continental Oil, an oil drilling company that has grown dramatically as the fracking oil boom of the Bakken oil fields has expanded.

How a child support order is enforced in Missouri

There are people in the state of Missouri who owe child support. On the other side of the equation, there are people who collect this payment from their child's other parent every month.

Just because a child support order is issued does not mean a person is actually going to pay. As unfortunate as it may be, there are people out there who will do whatever it takes to dodge their responsibility, even if this means it could land them in jail.

What are the types of paternity testing?

There are many reasons why establishing a biological relationship is important. This comes into play when the mother believes a man is the father of her child.

Most men never have to go through the paternity testing process; however, some find themselves in this position for one reason or another. Fortunately, this is a simple process that can be completed in a number of ways.

Planning for the holidays after a divorce

With Christmas and the end-of-year holidays coming up fast, many people are feeling the stress of the season. For those in the midst of divorce, or recently divorced, that stress may be even more intense. With the relentless cheer of advertising contrasting with your emotions, the disconnect can be painful.

For those dealing with a recent divorce, a first Christmas can be challenging. Your former happy holiday remembrances may come back to haunt you like the ghost of Christmas past, while you attempt to deal with parenting time hand-offs and the complication of meeting obligations for presents and gifts.

How much do you know about divorce and Social Security benefits?

Recently released studies have shown how the number of so-called gray divorces -- meaning those involving baby boomer couples -- are now on the rise thanks to fundamental shifts in our nation's longstanding social patterns.

While it's certainly heartening to see these older people work up the courage to exit an unhappy marriage, it's nevertheless extremely important for anyone planning this step to understand that they have unique financial considerations that must be accounted for in any divorce.

For example, boomer couples mulling a split will likely want to consider how it may affect their Social Security benefits.

Even if the divorce rate is declining, you may still need one

The divorce rate causes a great deal of concern for some people. Politicians are always discussing it, and often attempting to pass laws that they hope may lower it, like Missouri's neighbor to the southwest, Oklahoma, which has enacted laws that enforce a waiting period, apparently in the hope that the couple will reconsider their divorce.

Social scientists and statisticians devote a great deal of energy to the problem, wondering why it happens, whether it is good or bad and what causes marriages to fail. Much of the concern over the divorce rate stems from the supposed effect on children. 

Divorce and your estate: do you have a plan for your plan?

Most educated people will tell you that you should update your estate plan after any major life event such as after marriage, having a child, the death of a loved one and yes, even after divorce.  But if you're like a lot of our Missouri readers, estate planning may be the last thing on your mind when going through the divorce process.  After all, you have enough on your plate.  Why should you concern yourself with your will when you need to be focusing your energy of dissolving your marriage and moving on with your life?

Because an estate plan lays out your end-of-life wishes -- such as what you'd like done with your remains and how you would like your assets distributed to loved ones -- it's very important to consider how your divorce will affect the execution of it down the road.  So what is the effect here in Missouri?  Let's take a look.

Equal time or a well-constructed parenting plan?

Child custody is almost always a difficult topic in a Missouri family court. After all, what is the "best interests" of the child? Each parent may have an idea, but given the environment of a divorce, they may not coincide. And the judge has only the information provided by the parties to base his or her opinion.

While studies suggest that shared parenting can benefit a child in some cases, it is difficult to extrapolate that it will work well in all cases. There has been a movement to require that all child custody be presumptively 50/50, and North Dakota voters just rejected such a ballot initiative.

For parents who desire a shared child custody role post divorce, a good way to demonstrate the viability of such an agreement is to create a parenting plan. In Missouri, as many states, hard and fast custody rules have been changed to require parents to develop a parenting plan.

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