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St. Louis Missouri Legal Blog

How to know if divorcing is the right thing to do

Divorcing is a difficult thing to do, even when you want out. What can make beginning the process hard is not knowing if it really is the right move to make. You may question if your marriage is salvageable or if you have done everything you can to make it work.

How can you know when it is time to finally let go? Every relationship is different, but there are common factors you can look for to help you determine the answer.

New child support policy in St. Louis County

Most parents in Missouri and across the country want to do what is best for their families. Unfortunately, in some situations, a parent may find him or herself struggling to make child support payments. While in the past this inability could have resulted in prosecution for those living in St. Louis County, recent changes could change how this issue is addressed.

Under the past policy, those who failed to make child support payments were prosecuted criminally. Not only could a conviction result in jail time or probation, it was also considered a felony on the person's record. The new county prosecutor argues that a person in jail cannot earn money to support a child, and a felony conviction could ultimately make it more difficult for the parent to find a job.

Options when co-parenting does not work

Divorce is never easy. When there are children involved, parents who may have negative feelings toward one another must continue to maintain a relationship for the rest of their children's lives. While most people would agree that having divorced parents work together in a relatively peaceful co-parenting arrangement is in the children's best interest, the animosity that remains between the parents may make it difficult, it not impossible, for such an arrangement to be successful. The question for many parents in Missouri becomes, what are other ways to ensure that the best interests of the children are met when there is a great deal of conflict?

Though most admit that the transitions that come with a divorce are sometimes challenging for children, some argue that it is the conflict between parents that is the most damaging. Co-parenting involves parents who communicate regularly and openly with one another; they are often in agreement on rules and other child-rearing strategies. However, a high conflict situation may prevent a healthy co-parenting arrangement.

Seeking help with the divorce process in Missouri

When two people in Missouri make the decision to get married, they typically do so with the intention of spending the rest of their lives together. Unfortunately, as time passes, the events of life often change a person's personality and character, sometimes meaning the the two spouses are no longer compatible. Even when both people realize and admit that a divorce is the best choice, the process can be emotionally and financially challenging.

Fortunately, there are certain things that a person seeking the next stage of their life can do to ease the process. For example, many people surround themselves with people who can help them. While this can include therapists, it also includes an experienced and compassionate attorney. Most people want someone who is upfront and honest, ensuring they are fully informed about the process they are facing. Most benefit from having a person who is strong but reasonable.

Modifying spousal maintenance (alimony) in Missouri

When your marriage ends, the judge may order you to pay alimony, which is known as spousal maintenance in Missouri. While these support payments may make sense during and immediately after your divorce, they may not remain viable for long.

You may understand that your stay-at-home ex-spouse needs initial financial support, but this is not always sensible in the months or years following your separation. Here is some helpful information on how to pursue a maintenance modification in Missouri. 

Tax law change has Missouri couples rushing to finalize divorce

When a couple decides to end their marriage, multiple decisions must be made. Often, even those couples in Missouri who are committed to an amicable split find themselves facing lengthy negotiations. For many, those negotiations were expedited by their desire to finalize their divorce before new tax laws go into effect in 2019.

The laws are part of the tax overhaul plan passed in 2017. Under current law, people who pay alimony can receive a tax deduction; those receiving it pay taxes on that income. This sometimes allows extra money as the person receiving alimony is often in a lower income bracket. The deduction also allows the payer to pay less in taxes, meaning there is more money between the two.

3 common tax surprises after divorce

It's that time of year when we all begin to think about the thrilling prospect of income tax returns. However, individuals who have recently divorced are often surprised to discover the impact that their new relationship status has on their tax obligations. Here are three of the most unexpected issues that you may possibly encounter:

Singer, actor's divorce turns contentious

The end of a romantic relationship is inherently difficult. Even couples in Missouri who are able to put their differences aside and come to an amicable agreement often face emotional difficulties. While a prenuptial agreement can help ease some of these difficulties in the event of a divorce, questions about such an agreement's enforceability could ultimately arise if certain steps are not followed. In fact, such questions have arisen following the split of Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines and her estranged husband, actor Adrian Pasdar.

While the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, Pasdar claims that he cannot remember the process of drafting and negotiating the agreement. He is also challenging his agreement to waive spousal support. While state laws vary regarding such documents, all jurisdictions look at several basic elements to determine the validity of a prenup.

Experienced professionals for those seeking divorce in Missouri

Even when both members of a couple in Missouri are committed to making the end of their relationship as seamless as possible, the end of a marriage is a difficult process. Decisions that are made will likely impact the rest of each person's life as well as the well-being of any children involved. Fortunately, the attorneys at Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC are committed to guiding you through the divorce process.

Our attorneys strive to remove as much stress from the process as possible. We are committed to providing step-by-step guidance to help you throughout the process.We have the necessary knowledge and skills to help our clients through negotiations and determinations on spousal maintenance, child support and property division. As a divorce can result in a precarious financial situation, we can help you minimize the expenses and protect your property.

Who gets the pets following a divorce?

Many people in Missouri and across the country love their pets like their own children. As such, what happens to them following a divorce is an important consideration. In addition to who the pet lives with, who pays for the pet's bills is also an important question as the spending on pets has nearly doubled over the course of the last 10 years. Though courts have previously viewed animals as property, laws and attitudes are starting to shift.

In 1995, a judge in another state set the precedent regarding the treatment of animals during divorce. In a ruling, he claimed that pets are property, and, as such, judges do not have the authority to create a custody arrangement and visitation schedule. However, in the last two years, three states have enacted laws giving judges more leeway to consider the best interests of an animal.

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