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St. Louis Missouri Legal Blog

Seeking a child custody modification

When going through a divorce that involves children, custody orders are created to fit a family's circumstances at the time. There is always hope that the child custody order will work long term, but there are no guarantees. Thankfully, parents in Missouri can seek modifications to these orders when they feel that doing so is justified.

A custody modification can be achieved in one of two ways. First, parents can negotiate new terms privately, with the assistance of legal counsel or in mediation. Second, the parent wanting the change can file a petition in court. If new terms are agreed upon without needing to go to court, a judge will still have to sign off on the changes before a new order becomes active. If filing a petition is necessary, a hearing will be scheduled to address the matter in court.

Missouri juvenile law: MIP facts

The number of minors in Missouri who consume alcohol is somewhat alarming. Laws have been put in place to deter this behavior, some of which can affect for years those accused of violating them. A juvenile law attorney may be able to help minimize the consequences minors face if they are found with alcohol in their possession.

Missouri is one state that will enforce harsh penalties if a minor is convicted for possessing alcohol. The consequences, depending on the details of one's case and the number of offenses on one's record, include fines, jail time and license suspension. Fines tend to range from $300 to $1,000. Jail terms can last up to one year. When it comes to one's driving record, an MIP can remain on one's record until one reaches the age of 21, and it has been fives years since one's license was reinstated.

Something to learn from the Harry Macklowe divorce

Billionaire Harry Macklowe, after 58 years of marriage to his wife Linda, is seeking to dissolve their union. His reasons for doing so are his own, which is true for any person who decides to seek a divorce. There is something that Missouri residents can learn from how is divorce is playing out, though, and it has to do with the handling of marital property.

When getting a divorce in Missouri, marital or shared property is supposed to be itemized and available for equitable distribution between spouses. Unfortunately, there are those spouses who may try to hide assets in order to benefit their personal situations when all is said and done. This is what Harry Macklowe is rumored to be doing.

Is an uncontested divorce right for me?

Maybe your marriage has been going downhill for a while and things are just not working out anymore. You may be considering divorce but the thought of long, drawn-out court battles over every aspect of your lives sounds exhausting and daunting. Uncontested divorce, a more amicable alternative, may be an option.

Money, the biggest issue of going through a gray divorce

Ending a marriage, no matter when it occurs, is not without its difficulties. Both parties are left trying to figure out how to best move forward. Those in Missouri who are going through the divorce process later in life, however, will have just a few more concerns than those who end their marriages at younger ages.

According to the Pew Research Center, gray divorce has doubled since 1990. People are looking ahead at their retirement years and deciding that their marriages are not what they want. This is okay. It can, though, make being financially prepared for retirement a bit more challenging.

Missouri criminal defense: Penalties for marijuana crimes

While marijuana may be legal for medicinal use in many other states, that is not the case in Missouri. In fact, the laws surrounding even simple possession of marijuana are incredibly harsh compared to other areas of the country. Because of this, those who are facing marijuana-related drug charges would likely benefit from the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their cases.

Marijuana-related drug crimes can be broken down into four different categories: possession, sales, trafficking and cultivation. The latter three tend to carry stiffer penalties than a possession charge. However, the details of one's case will really determine penalty severity. According to state laws, penalties for the following drug charges are:

Need your alimony order adjusted? A family law attorney can help

Post-divorce finances can be a bear to figure out. For a lot of people in Missouri, the dissolution of marriage comes with a big drop in income and an increase in expenses. Thankfully, an alimony order can be included in a divorce settlement for the spouse who is in financial need. What if after all is said and done, you, as the recipient, need your alimony adjusted or extended? A family law attorney may be able to help you with that.

Spousal maintenance is not awarded in every divorce settlement, as economic situations vary. If it was awarded to you, it means that you met all the necessary requirements and/or a financial need was determined. Alimony is typically awarded for a set period of time. It will be up to a judge to decide if lifetime support is warranted.

What happens when the primary child custody holder needs to move?

While there are those who hope they never have to move, sometimes the need to relocate cannot be avoided. Life happens and one must simply do his or her best. What happens, though, if a primary child custody holder needs to move? According to the laws of Missouri, this is not something that he or she can do without the approval of the noncustodial parent or the court.

There are various reasons as to why one may need or want to relocate. A few of these include employment change, the need for familial support and a new relationship -- among others. While a parent's reason to move may seem perfectly valid in his or her mind, it can have a negative effect on his or her children. This is why approval must be granted before the move can take place.

Second-Parent Adoptions Increase Due To Concerns Over Trump Administration

President Donald Trump has stated that his views on same-sex marriage are "irrelevant," and implied that he is willing to live with the 2015 Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal. That is not enough to comfort large numbers of same-sex couples. One sign that same-sex couples are wary of the president changing course is the increase in second-parent adoptions since the election.

In a second-parent adoption, one spouse in a same-sex relationship is a biological parent and the other legally adopts the child. Many same-sex couples pursue second-parent adoption to protect the non-biological parent's rights in the event the relationship ends.

Things to know about getting a divorce in Missouri

Every state has different laws regarding the dissolution of marriage. As such, it is wise to get familiar with one's state's laws before taking the leap and filing for divorce. In that spirit, this week's column will go over Missouri divorce law basics.

In order for one to file for divorce in Missouri, he or she must meet the residency requirement. It is not possible to move into the state and file for divorce right away. One must be a resident for at least 90 days before the dissolution process can be initiated.

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