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Belleville & Edwardsville Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Potential reasons to craft a prenuptial agreement

47248951_s.jpgWhen couples in Missouri and throughout the country get married, they are granted certain rights. However, they may also be bound by state law as it relates to how property would be divided in a divorce. In may be possible to customize those rules by creating a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements may also allow one or both parties to waive their right to seek alimony if the marriage comes to an end.

Prenuptial agreements may allow individuals to retain ownership of a business or other assets that they place a high value on. The terms of such an agreement can also allow individuals to protect themselves from being responsible for a spouse's debt. In some cases, assets that are deemed separate property prior to a marriage will become marital property during the course of the relationship. For example, if a home appreciates in value, the appreciation may be considered joint property even if the house was owned before the marriage.

Rumors swirl around actor Ron Perlman's divorce

47691821_S.jpgMissouri residents who watch television or enjoy movies will likely be familiar with Ron Perlman. The 69-year-old actor has played a string of iconic characters on both the big and small screens, and he also managed to enjoy the fruits of his success while avoiding salacious tabloid gossip. However, that run came to an end recently when celebrity websites published stories about the end of Perlman's marriage and his alleged involvement with one of his costars.

The "Sons of Anarchy" star says that he separated from his wife in May 2019. The couple married in 1981 and have two adult children. Perlman's attorney says that the couple decided to end their marriage because of irreconcilable differences, but stories soon appeared describing the actor's relationship with his wife as an open marriage. Gossip columnists also imply that Perlman is divorcing because he has become romantically involved with an actress he met while filming the television drama series "StartUp".

Divorce and Social Security

57300998_S.jpgWhen people get divorced in Missouri, they often assume that most ties between themselves and their former spouse have been severed. What divorced individuals may not understand, however, is that they may still be able to collect Social Security benefits on the income of their former spouse.

Spousal benefits are an important part of the Social Security system. Individuals who are married are able to receive a certain level of retirement benefits depending on their own work record as well as the work record of their spouse. In situations where a marriage has lasted for 10 years or more, both spouses may remain eligible for benefits providing that they meet three different requirements.

What to know about child support

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Parents in Missouri and throughout the country will pay an average of $233,000 to raise their children. Therefore, it is important that parents take the lead in providing for their kids whether the parents are married, separated or divorced. As of April 2017, American parents owed $114 billion in past due child support according to the Department of Health and Human Services. In most cases, child support payments must be made until a child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

If a child has special needs, parents may be required to provide financial support past the child's 18th birthday. Child support orders may be terminated if a minor is adopted by another adult. The process of collecting child support begins with obtaining a court order. In the event that a parent doesn't comply with an existing order, the other parent may contact state authorities for assistance in getting that person to comply.

Signs that parents are working well together

61616344_M.jpgMissouri parents can generally learn how to work together to raise their children after their marriage ends. There are many signs that indicate that a parenting plan is working well such as the presence of clear boundaries. In other words, parents understand that they can't control what their former spouse does. Instead, they will focus on teaching a child to work through adversity or how to solve problems in a positive manner.

Those who are raising children with a former spouse will ideally have a set schedule with predetermined meeting times and places. However, it is also important that they are able to accommodate each other's needs whenever possible. Parental units who have a healthy relationship are more likely to communicate those needs and speak up in a timely manner when changes need to be made.

Why now is the best time to plan a divorce

127781524_S.jpgParents in Missouri who are going to have a child in the near future should plan for how that child will be raised today. As part of the planning process, it may be a good idea to negotiate the terms of a future divorce. While it may seem odd to create a divorce settlement during what should be a happy time, it can make things easier if a marriage eventually fails. Agreements can be created either before or after the wedding takes place.

If a divorce pact is reached before the wedding, it will be referred to as a prenuptial agreement. The term for creating a marriage contract after a wedding is a postnuptial agreement. Both types of contracts allow parents to determine what property a person gets to keep and what items could be sold. It is also possible to come to terms on the amount of spousal support each person could receive.

Financial concerns come with later-in-life divorce

83003588_S.jpgWhen people in Missouri decide to divorce later in life, they may face unique concerns and challenges. In the past, older Americans often stayed married. In many cases, they were already married for decades and had remained together for the children. Life expectancy was often lower and many people struggled with health problems. As Americans grow older and live longer, healthier lives, they often want to enjoy romantic fulfillment later in life as well. In addition, some older couples are on a second or later marriage, rather than being part of a decades-long partnership with children. These changes have meant that "gray divorce," meaning divorce between two older Americans, is on the rise.

Since 1990, the rate of gray divorce has more than doubled, even while younger Americans are less likely to divorce than they were previously. The social stigma around divorce has been largely eradicated. However, financial concerns may trouble some older people who decide to end their marriages. These concerns are particularly significant for people who are ending a lengthy partnership. For people of any age who are ending a relatively short marriage, divorce comes with fewer costs. When a decades-long marriage comes to an end, however, spousal support may be a factor.

Courts might determine custody when it comes to pets

46058032_S.jpgPet lovers in Missouri might be concerned about what can happen to pets during a divorce. There are many situations in which both partners have attachment to a pet, and when the relationship ends, both partners might want to claim their pet. The rules differ around the country; however, in many cases, courts will uphold what has been stated in a premarital agreement by both parties when it comes to their pets.

Whether the spouses want to share custody or not, a court can determine what happens. In some states, the court considers pets as personal property, so the decisions made about the pets are not done in a similar manner to that of custody decisions regarding children. Unlike with children where custody issues are resolved with the best interests of the child, pet decisions are made similarly to contract law. However, while pets are personal property, the court also considers the special relationship between a person and their pet.

Allegations of abuse in child custody cases

32436541_S.jpgFamily law judges in Missouri and around the country place the welfare of any children involved above all other considerations in a divorce situation, which is why they take petitions filed by divorced parents who claim that their children are in danger very seriously. However, it is not unknown for people who harbor lingering resentment toward their former husbands or wives to make baseless allegations of emotional, physical or even sexual abuse.

This is why courts generally conduct thorough investigations into abuse claims before modifying child custody or visitation arrangements. During these investigations, officers from the Department of Social Services may interview family members, neighbors and teachers to determine the veracity of the claims. While the investigation is ongoing, judges may order supervised visitation based on the best interests doctrine. When custodial parents are accused of abuse, the children involved may be temporarily placed in a care facility.

What to know before filing for divorce

42425594_S.jpgIndividuals who are contemplating a divorce in Missouri or anywhere else should understand how it could impact their financial situation. Ideally, they will know their current expenses and earnings. In addition, it is important to understand how a divorce could impact future expenses. For instance, a divorcing couple may need to determine how to pay for a child's current education needs or if either person will be responsible for child support payments.

It may be necessary for parents to pay for some or all of a child's college tuition. In some cases, this may be done by contributing to a 529 account. Current expenses could include the cost of daycare while a parent is at work or the cost of a private tutor. A child's medical and entertainment expenses could be included in a child support order as well as money for basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
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  • St. Louis City: 100 S. 4th St., #549, St. Louis, MO 63102 (by appt. only): St. Louis Office
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