Columbia Divorce Law Blog

New legal steps taken to deal with missed child support

When a parent misses a court-ordered payment of support for a child, there are certain actions that may be taken by the other parent and by the state. While most non-custodial parents strive to make child support payments when those payments are due, any parent in Missouri in danger of falling behind may benefit by gaining an understanding of the available options to avoid potentially negative legal consequences. One state has recently decided to enact harsh consequences when a parent is significantly behind in support payments to the other parent.

While every state has laws in place to restrict, suspend or revoke a driver's license when back due payments accumulate, one state will make it impossible for parents who owe at least six months of child support to register a car. This new measure will take effect in the fall. It will only affect parents who are six months behind in child support. 

Paternity cases in Missouri can affect families in many ways

Legal orders establishing who the father of a child is are important in many ways and play a significant role in family law matters both inside and outside of family court. The establishment of paternity in Missouri can open the door to a number of legal matters and actions. Those matters can affect the child and both parents in a variety of ways depending on the unique circumstances of each family.

First of all, a paternity ruling in family court will start the process of financial support or child support for any child involved. There are other financial support decisions that can also come into play when paternity is established. For example, past expenses, including birth expenses, can be factored into what a parent may owe once paternity has been established.

Divorce will affect your taxes in Missouri

Any significant change in finances or living situations can affect taxes for the year. Divorce is no different. In Missouri, there are a number of ways in which a divorce will affect those taxes and alter how taxes are filed for both parties.

Those in the middle of a divorce can file as married or as married filing singly. They may even file as single. However, divorcing couples should consider the tax bracket and if filing singly or jointly will put them at the top of a certain bracket, which means paying more in taxes generally. If there seems to be tax troubles with one party, filling separately may be the best way to steer clear of those issues as one starts anew.

Property division facts for Missouri divorce proceedings

Anyone navigating a divorce may experience financial upheaval and a change in living circumstances. A great deal of those changes can come about as a consequence a property division settlement. Those in Missouri considering divorce may benefit from knowing the facts about the property division process and how it may affect their future.

First of all, marital property must be determined, as opposed to separate property. Though there are exceptions, marital property is basically property acquired during the marriage. Inheritances and gifts received by one of the parties are typically considered separate property, even if they were acquired during the marriage. However, gifts exchanged between spouses during the marriage will likely be counted as marital property.

Divorce can impact fate of home and finances in Missouri

The act of dividing assets when a marriage is dissolved can naturally involve a great deal of complications. However, one major issue during a divorce may be the fate of what is often the biggest asset owned by the parties -- the family home. For those in Missouri navigating a divorce, the financial impact of what happens with the house can have a significant impact on the outcome of the divorce proceedings and what each party may have as they move forward.

First, an accurate value needs to be assigned to the home. Three appraisals may ensure the most accurate valuation. When both names are on the mortgage, legal options must be considered. The person who wants to keep the house will have to qualify for any new mortgage debt in order to free the other person from being associated with the existing mortgage. The reduction in income of both parties can impact this option.

Lack of child support payments leads to arrest warrant

A former NFL player is being served with an arrest warrant. While players may find themselves in the news for all sorts of activities, both on and off the field, this time it is lack of child support payments that has led to Clint Session being back in the news. Missouri fans may remember that Session's was a linebacker for both the Colts and Jaguars before leaving the league in 2011 due to concussions.

Session has a daughter. He was ordered to pay $6,917 a month in child support back in 2015, plus he owed almost $240,000 in past support and expenses. He apparently has not paid and is now hundreds of thousands of dollars in arrears. In fact, records indicate he owes over $381,000 for support of the child.

Child custody agreements in Missouri are multi-faceted

A custody agreement is rarely a cut and dry issue that never needs to be revisited by either party. Child custody agreements are often negotiated as to what the details of physical custody will be and also what the details of legal custody may be. Thereafter, it is not uncommon for a child custody agreement to be modified when Missouri parents need to make changes for various reasons.

Legal custody refers to whether a parent can make certain decisions regarding the child, regardless of where that child is on a given day. For example, legal custody rights allow for a parent to have a say in matters concerning a child's education and religion. Health care decisions are also part of legal custody rights. Physical custody refers to the time a child is physically with a parent. Joint custody is the common outcome; however that is not always the case if significant time with one parent is not best for the child.

Fate of the family pet can be a property division sticking point

Nearly two thirds of all households have a family pet. When a divorce looms, the fate of that family pet can be a sticking point in the process. While many families in Missouri do not consider the family pet property, that pet will be dealt with as part of a property division decision in all likelihood. While views over how pets are seen may be changing, the law still regards them as property, and there are some tips below for those who have a pet that will part of a divorce settlement.

Anyone dealing with a pet as part of a divorce needs to have a full picture of the costs associated with that pet. This can include the money it takes to feed, walk and attend to the health needs of the pet. The reality of the expenses can make pet ownership or custody something that needs to be negotiated. Also, emotional attachment can lead to that pet being a bargaining chip of sorts.

Property division isn't necessarily equal in Missouri

The division of property after the dissolution of a marriage can get quite complicated even for those who do not own a significant amount of property. The property division process in Missouri is a two-step process. The first step is identifying the property eligible to be split, while the second step is determining how to split it as equitably as possible.

Property typically falls into two categories during the divorce process. Those categories are "marital property" and "non-marital property." Any kind of non-marital property is that which was acquired before marriage. However, inheritances and gifts received during a marriage can also be declared non-marital property. Marital property is shared property obtained during the marriage.

Child support questions need answered in Missouri

Regardless of the state of the relationship between the parents, providing for any shared children is simply the law. Child support is initiated as a means of providing the financial stability and support to ensure basic needs are met. Both parties, the paying parent and the parent receiving child support in Missouri can benefit from knowing where to turn for guidance and just how current guidelines for child support can affect their situations.

There are set guidelines in place based on factors such as income and specific needs of the child or children. While these guidelines can be a helpful starting point for parents to understand what to expect in general, those guidelines are in no way set in stone. There are many individual factors that can impact whether child support will be less or more than the current guidelines state. Some factors may include the special needs of the child, as that can make paying more necessary to ensure proper care.

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