Columbia Divorce Law Blog

To prenup or not to prenup? It is a good question

There are few more sensitive topics in family law than that of a prenuptial agreement. As its name suggests, it occurs prior to the nuptials, and yet its topic is the division of assets as a result of a divorce. This is conceptually a difficult idea to wrap one's head around, but that difficulty pales in comparison to the difficulty of emotionally comprehending dividing and protecting your assets before you promise to remain married "'til death do you part."

And not everyone needs a prenuptial. If you and your spouse come from modest means, and neither of your parents have substantial assets that you potentially could inherit, there may be no "separate" assets that need protection.

Medical marijuana and joint custody issues

While all parents need to behave around their children, for divorced parents, the stakes are somewhat higher. You have a former spouse who may still harbor ill feeling towards you and be more than happy to use some indiscretion to make your life as a parent difficult.

Child custody decisions may hinge on many factors, but issues involving alcohol and drugs can quickly rise to the top of the list of items a court may examine very closely in the context of disputed custody of the child.

Missouri same-sex divorce case goes back to lower court

Court procedure can sometimes be maddening to participants. Court rules tend to be very technical and in some cases draconian. If you have a 30-day deadline to respond to a motion and you file your response on the 31st day, your case could be dismissed and your right to litigate the matter permanently ended.

A fundamental question for any court when presented with a case is whether it has subject matter jurisdiction. This means, is this a type of case the court is authorized to hear. If a court does not have subject matter jurisdiction, the case would presumably have to be dismissed and, if possible, refilled in a court with proper jurisdiction.

Do you know how divorce settlement works?

During your divorce, you may encounter numerous parts of the process that you may not fully understand. You trust your attorney is doing a competent job representing your interests and you may feel you do not have to understand all of the legal minutia and "inside baseball" discussions to obtain a fair and equitable divorce settlement.

To some degree that is true; if you needed to understand every legal element of your divorce process, you might not feel the need to hire a legal professional in the first place. You may have felt comfortable enough to do it on your own. While you may not need to fully understand every element of the process, you do need to understand every piece of your final divorce order and settlement.

How do you measure fair?

If marriage is seen as the melding of two lives into one, then a divorce is all about division. The dividing of those two lives yet again and leaving them two, independent lives. And depending on the situation, this can be easy or difficult. During this division, whether it involves the children, the family home or their investment accounts, it is expected that the ending result is fair.

Fairness is why we go to family court. To obtain a fair result. Nevertheless, how do we define a fair property division? In some cases, giving 50 percent to each could be fair. But because the marital property often consists of many assets and income streams, determining how to divide them fairly means that an equitable result means something other than a 50/50 split.

How will you spend your money?

When you hire an electrician as you are building or remodeling a home, you understand that every additional electrical circuit they add to system will cost you money. They will provide a recommendation, based on building code requirements, but you can always add more circuits, more "bells and whistles" and in the end, more expense.

While they are happy to shoot the breeze with you while they are working, they don't stop billing simply because you are chatting about the process of building or remodeling a home.

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.

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