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St. Louis Missouri Legal Blog

Child custody, asset division issue in Robert De Niro's divorce

While there are some couples in Missouri who are able to amicably end their marriage, allowing them to transition to the next stage of their lives relatively drama-free, there are many who need court intervention to help them make a variety of different decisions related to their split. This appears to be the case in the divorce of Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower. At issue is the division of millions of dollars as well as custody of their daughter.

The couple reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement. As a result of that agreement, De Niro -- who according to Hightower's attorney is worth over half a billion dollars -- claims that Hightower is entitled to $1 million a year, half the value of their marital residence, a $6 million apartment and $500,000 in cash. He additionally argues that their case should be heard by a mediator.

Child custody: Easing the stressors of summer vacation

Many children in Missouri count down the days to the start of their summer vacation from school. However, this time period can be a time of confusion and stress when children divide their time between the homes of two parents who both share child custody. Despite the potential for added stress for the child, there are some ways in which parents can help with the transition.

Perhaps most important is that both parents commit to successfully co-parenting with one another. To do so, parents must commit to open communication and cooperation with one another. Additionally, refraining from speaking negatively about the other parent can prevent further friction. Open communication can help parents set consistent guidelines between the two homes to help aid with transitions as the children move back and forth between them.

What rights do men have over their partner's kids?

It is very common for men to live with children who are not their own. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.8 million men reside with children they have not fathered or adopted.

Only about 60% of these men identify themselves as stepfathers, with the highest rates involving children who are teenagers. As a man living with your partner and his or her kids, what are your legal rights and options regarding the children?

Dividing real estate as part of a divorce

When a couple in Missouri chooses to marry, there are multiple decisions that they must make. However, couples who are in love and filled with hope for the future are often able to fully discuss their options and come to compromises that are mutually agreeable. Unfortunately, if the relationship comes to an end, the couple is left to disentangle their lives without that same spirit of compromise, significantly complicating the property division aspect of a divorce.

One of the more difficult aspects of property division deals with real estate. In most cases, the home in which two spouses resided is considered a marital asset, subject to equitable division in Missouri. There are several different options when it comes to the family home. For example, the couple could decide which one will keep the house or the house could be sold and the assets divided.

Ruling issued in Miguel Cabrera's child support case

Certain athletes and other celebrities may want their names in the headlines in Missouri and across the country in praise of their efforts on the field or on the stage. However, much media attention has been paid to professional baseball player Miguel Cabrera for reasons other than his prowess at baseball. Recent reports indicate that his publicized child support case may be at an end.

The case involves two children that Cabrera has with his mistress; he has three other children with his wife. Though he was originally ordered to pay $20,000 each month in child support, an amended judgment has him paying $14,000. The mother of the two children reportedly asked for $137,000 per month based on Cabrera's $30 million per year salary; a judge ruled, however, that amount was not necessary to meet the needs of the children.

Proposal seeks presumption of shared child custody in Missouri

When a couple divorces, there are multiple decisions that must be made. If they have children, many of these decisions involve who will provide care for them and whether one party must pay child support. A proposed bill in Missouri adds additional requirements for judges when making a child custody determination.

The bill would require that judges presume that a 50/50 shared custody plan is best. Though a bill was passed in 2016 that requires judges to look at a variety of different factors before making a decision regarding custody, this bill requires a "presumed default parenting plan." Rep. David Evans, who consulted with the author of the bill, says that some judges still hold a bias that one parent -- typically the child's mother -- should have custody.

Can science predict divorce?

We can rely on science for a lot of things, but can it predict the success or failure of a marriage? There is no way to 100% predict that a marriage is heading for a breakup. That said, social scientists are able to predict which couples may be more likely to call it quits based on a variety of behaviors and lifestyles. 

Everything from employment status to the ways couples fight can contribute to the end of a marriage. Here are some of the top predictors of divorce.

How retirement assets are treated in divorce

Many couples in Missouri are aware of how important retirement savings are, and do their best to plan and save accordingly. For some couples, retirement savings can account for a significant portion of their property. This can make figuring out how to divide retirement assets during a divorce extremely difficult.

Not all retirement assets are treated the same during a divorce. Individuals will need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to handle a defined contribution plan -- such as a 401(k) -- without taking penalties or encountering certain tax implications. A QDRO is a court order for a retirement plan, which allows for payments for marital property rights, child support and more. Some divorcees choose to have their portion of a defined contribution plan roll over into a separate retirement account, but this is not a requirement.

How to divide these 3 important assets in a divorce

Dissolving your marriage is a tough process. Not only is it an emotional struggle, but it can also impact your finances, too. The outcome of your divorce may affect everything from your monthly budget to your taxes. The main aspect of the split that influences your financial life is the asset division process.

Dividing and distributing marital assets can be confusing, grueling and contentious. It helps to have an understanding of how the process works. Here is a look at some of the items you may need to divide and the options available.

Saving time and money with a collaborative divorce

For some couples in Missouri, the end of their romantic relationship is dramatic, marked by bitterness and contention. For others, the end comes slowly without anger as the couple slip into a pattern of a friendly relationship rather than a romantic one. For either scenario, there are divorce options that can help transition to the next stage of life more peacefully.

For example, many people choose a collaborative divorce rather than one involving litigation. In this process, all involved -- including the attorneys and a variety of professionals such as a mediator -- sign a participation agreement. All involved commit to meet together and openly share information. The process requires honesty.

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