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Belleville and Edwardsville Divorce Law Blog

Filing a paternity case to establish father's rights

Fathers in Missouri who were not married when their child was born will need to file a petition to establish paternity to enjoy the same rights as fathers who were married to a child's mother when the child was born. This is true even if a father's name is on the birth certificate and there is no doubt that he is the father of the child.

A father who wants to establish his paternity rights will either need to take a DNA test to prove that he is the biological father, or both he and the biological mother can sign an affidavit acknowledging paternity. Signing an acknowledgement and obtaining a court order is the fastest way to establish paternity.

Child custody and support after a divorce

When parents in Missouri go through a divorce, issues around child custody and child support can be particularly contentious and emotionally difficult. Often, neither parent wants to lose time with their children and, in many cases, both parents feel that they have received an unfair shake in family court. While joint or shared custody is becoming a growing standard across the country, many fathers feel like they are excluded from their children's lives after a divorce.

In around 80 percent of cases across the country, mothers receive primary custody in family court. However, many of these cases include fathers who do not fight for child custody of their own. Fathers who work to secure custody often have a strong chance of receiving primary or joint custody of their children in a divorce. Fathers may face a slightly more uphill battle if their paternity was not documented on the child's birth certificate. However, fathers can catch up by filing proper paperwork and seeking an active role in the child's life.

Calculating childcare costs and support payments

45107426_S.jpgWhen two working parents in Missouri decide to divorce or separate, child support can be a serious and contentious issue. One of the most significant costs of child-raising is often day care, and many parents may wonder how they will continue to pay childcare costs after divorcing. If you are divorcing while your child is in daycare, a child support and family law attorney can help you to seek a fair solution that reflects these costs in the child support formula.

Under state law in both Missouri and Kansas, daycare and other childcare costs can often be included in the overall child support formula. While the most basic child support calculations reflect primarily the income of each parent and the number of children requiring support by both, other factors can also be taken into account by the court. Those other factors include additional expenses involved in caring for the child. Most commonly, this provision applies to childcare costs like daycare fees, preschool costs or nannies' wages. Many family law judges will allocate childcare costs between the two parties based on comparative shares of their net income.

Divorce more common among people with divorced friends

20142140_S.jpgSocial groups have a strong influence on the lives of people in Missouri. When spouses in unhappy marriages have friends, relatives or co-workers who have ended their marriages, divorce risks rise. A study that looked at the peers of 5,209 men and women determined that the risk of divorce goes up by 75 percent when a spouse has a close friend who goes through a divorce.

Having coworkers who have ended marital difficulties through divorce bumped up a person's chance of divorce by 50 percent. Divorced siblings had a smaller effect on people but still raised their divorce rates by 22 percent.

Reports of support disputes between Ewan McGregor, ex

Missouri fans of Ewan McGregor may be aware that the actor and his wife of 22 years, Eve Mavrakis, announced in October 2017 that their marriage was at an end. It later emerged that the two had separated in May. Later that same year, a relationship between McGregor and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead became public.

According to court documents, McGregor and Mavrakis are now in a dispute over spousal and child support payments. McGregor has been making support payments to Mavrakis since January, but there are no formal spousal or child support orders in place. McGregor says he wants credit or reimbursement for what he has paid, which is more than he would have paid in child or spousal support with a court order. Mavrakis is claiming that the amount is insufficient. In addition to a 22-year-old daughter, they have three other children, two 16-year-olds and a 7-year-old.

How divorce affects older adults

98229460_S.jpgAccording to research, children of divorced parents are more likely themselves to get divorced, with daughters of divorced parents having a 60 percent higher chance and sons 35 percent more likely. There are other factors that also make a divorce more likely. People in second marriages and marriages of only a few years have a higher risk than those in first marriages or those who have been married for a long time. However, longevity is no guarantee of a lasting marriage, and couples 50 and older in Missouri and throughout the country are more likely to divorce than the past.

Since 1990, the divorce rate has tripled for people 65 and over and doubled for those 50 and older. Despite theories that this could be linked to major life changes such as children moving out or retirement, studies show there is no correlation with these events. Instead, it has been found that older adults divorce when their marriages are no longer fulfilling to them.

What happens during child custody proceedings

35161724_S.jpgParents in Missouri who must go through child custody proceedings might wonder what to expect. The courtroom for a child custody hearing is usually smaller than other types of courtrooms, and fewer people will be present. It is important for parents to dress appropriately for a court appearance.

Parents should also prepare for questions such as what kind of living arrangements are in place for the child and what kind of emotional support the parent can offer. An attorney can help a parent with this preparation. A judge makes the decision about child custody based on the best interests of the child, so there may be additional questions related to the child's well-being. For example, a judge may ask a working parent about child care arrangements when the child is not in school or may ask about sleeping arrangements if the parent lives in a small apartment.

Rise in income for Britney Spears prompts child support dispute

92716077_S.jpgBritney Spears is widely recognized as a pop star by music fans throughout Missouri and the rest of America. Her recent headlining show in Las Vegas has only added to her fortunes. Court documents arising from her current child support dispute with ex-husband Kevin Federline show that her assets total over $56.5 million. Because Spears' income has increased since they originally negotiated a child support agreement, Federline has petitioned the court to increase her support payments.

The former spouses have two sons, ages 12 and 11. Spears already pays their father $20,000 per month, and the parents share custody. According to court filings, Federline needs more money because expenses for the boys have increased now that they are older. He also said that the boys have a substantially different lifestyle when they are with him compared to their mother's household. Federline's income only amounts to about $3,000 a month. His lawyer requested an increase to $60,000 every month.

Student loan debt can contribute to divorce

46737804_S.jpgMany people in Missouri are struggling under the weight of student loan debt, which has grown dramatically in the past decade. On average, student loan borrowers have $34,144 in debt. The average debt for graduates of the class of 2017 is even higher at $39,400. In the past 10 years, the percentage of borrowers who owe more than $50,000 has gone up 300 percent. Just as student debt can have a significant impact on life decisions, it can also have a major effect on marital relationships.

A number of millennials have decided to postpone major life plans like getting married or buying a home because of concerns about debt. For those who do decide to get married, the psychological stress and pressure associated with student loan debt can be devastating to a relationship and lead to divorce. Concerns about the financial future can be expressed with anger or anxiety, and that stress can damage the marital bond and romantic connection. Because financial issues can already be one of the most serious problems a marriage can face, significant student loan debt only exacerbates these concerns.

Lawyers report rise in younger people getting prenups

76765603_S.jpgGetting a prenuptial agreement may be more important for Missouri millennials who are getting married than in previous generations. Couples in general have been getting prenups at a higher rate than in the past, but according to the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been an increase in millennials doing so.

With the average age of marriage rising for both women and men, millennials are going into marriage with more assets than their parents may have had. They may want to protect real estate, investments and retirement funds, and a prenup may help them do that. Others may be struggling with debt. In 2017, college graduates' average student loan debt was more than $38,000. Millennials may have other debt as well, and their spouses-to-be might be concerned about having to pay back some of those debts in case of a divorce. They may see a prenup as a solution.

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