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Should I settle my divorce in or out of court?

No one likes to be embroiled in unpleasant situations. There are times, however, when Missouri couples in the throes of divorce can't seem to come to a consensus on various issues and have to make the decision whether to keep trying to settle those matters or head to court to have a judge decide. There are definitely some options to weigh.

Firstly, litigation -- or going to court -- can take an awfully long time, in most cases a year or longer. Couples are at the mercy of the court's schedule. So, it really behooves couples to try to reach a settlement with their independent lawyers. But if each individual knows they're likely to end up in court anyhow, it might be best to go that route.

How breast feeding impacts child custody, visitation

Many new mothers make the decision to breastfeed their babies. But when a Missouri couple who has a child who is still breastfeeding makes the decision to divorce, it may impact visitation or child custody. Before anything else, however, the child's best interests need to come first and that includes maintaining the nursing relationship between mother and child. 

When nursing is part of the custody equation,  there may be some conflict between maintaining a nursing schedule and the other parent's parenting time. A woman can still breastfeed her child without it affecting a co-parenting plan, experts say. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF suggest babies be breastfed for at least one year, and preferably until two years of age and beyond. A baby can still bond with a co-parent even when the baby is breastfed.

What are the reasons people decide to get a divorce?

When people make the choice to divorce, it is typically not something they take lightly. It often comes after a great deal of consideration for any and all possible benefits and consequences. Even so, the reasons that people get a divorce are as varied as those who pursue this path. 

If you are thinking about getting a divorce here in Missouri, you may wonder whether anyone could possibly understand your experience. While every situation is unique, there are several common reasons that people decide to untie the knot. Learning what those are may offer you some reassurance that you are not alone in your thinking. These reasons seem to fall into three categories

Financial planning is crucial during the divorce process

The financial ramifications of ending a marriage might be hefty for many individuals. It's crucial for each spouse to embark on some financial planning upon deciding to divorce. This is especially prudent if divorce for Missouri couples comes later in life. Some things to keep in mind regarding finances going through the divorce process are determining what's important to each person.

It is wise to have some experts helping in a game plan. The person may want to enlist the help of a financial planner, accountant and a lawyer. These people can help fashion a plan for the future depending upon where a person would like to be regarding his or her finances as a single individual. It is wise to have long-term financial goals.

More women are initiating divorce than men

A couple doesn't come to the decision to part ways easily. Statistics show, however, that more women than men initiate divorce proceedings. Missouri couples going through divorce may face number of challenges, including emotional and physical exhaustion, so why are some women willing to put themselves and their partners through such significant life-changing events?

Experts say women don't usually make the decision they want a divorce until all other avenues have been exhausted. In other words, the marriage must be in a dire straits situation and likely has been for quite some time. About half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce and 80% of those are initiated by women. Experts say there are definitive reasons for this.

Splitting up? Expect to split your assets in a fair way

You feel relieved to have finally filed for divorce. You have been waiting a while to make the move, and now, you feel that you can truly move on with your life without your soon-to-be ex. At the same time, you are worried about how the property division process will go.

The reality is, the property division process can be complicated in Missouri, especially for couples with a large number of assets to split. However, the more you understand Missouri property division law, the more confident you may feel going into this process. Here is a rundown on how Missouri courts handle the splitting of assets during divorce.

Divorce is no reason to feel ashamed or stigmatized

When people marry, they intend for it to last forever. Of course, that's not always the case and some Missouri couples may find themselves in the throes of divorce somewhere down the road. Unlike decades ago, when many people spoke about divorce in hushed tones, the stigma has eased today and there is no reason people should be ashamed when their marriages end in divorce. In fact, although not usually a cause for celebration, a divorce can be viewed as getting a new lease on life.

Yet despite the increased social acceptance of divorce, some people whose marriages don't last feel a sense of shame and guilt, even when they know logically it's best for them and for their children. Divorce is still often accompanied by embarrassment, but experts say it doesn't mean individuals should look upon themselves as failures or like they're damaged in any way. Indeed, divorce can actually show others how strong a person is to move forward on his or her own since in many cases divorce takes fearlessness.

Tips for noncustodial parents to stay close to their kids

Many noncustodial parents in Missouri look forward to getting a fresh start in life after they settle their divorce. They want to leave their old marriage trouble behind and move on. Like most parents across the country, however, they want to avoid child custody problems and hope to maintain close and active relationships with their kids.

There are several things a noncustodial parent can do to stay closely connected to his or children, and to provide much needed support to help them cope with the changes in their lives. All children need time with their parents in order to thrive. Children of divorce fare best if they continue to spend lots of time with both parents. A noncustodial parent can help by staying nearby, meaning, it is probably not a good time to take a new job that is thousands of miles away from the kids.

Keeping the family home not always best solution after divorce

When a marriage comes to an end, many individuals in Missouri and elsewhere around the nation think that keeping the family home is an ultimate goal in a settlement agreement. However, financial advisors warn that maintaining that home may not always be the wisest strategy following a divorce. They offer several important options to consider when determining how best to proceed with division of assets.

Many couples believe that selling the house and dividing the assets is the least complicated path to take. However, there are many issues to address, such as deciding on a realtor, determining an asking price for the house or deciding how mortgage payments should be split pending the sale. Selling a home can also have a significant impact on a person's taxes. Therefore, depending on the cost of the home, taxable income could increase significantly.

Statistics show that "gray divorce" is on the rise

For many Missouri couples and others across the country, staying married into their golden years doesn't always end in wedded bliss. In fact, the rate of couples over the age of 50 getting a divorce has doubled in recent years. The term "gray divorce" has been coined to reflect this growing trend in our nation. Although divorce can be difficult at any age, researchers have offered some suggestions for those who are experiencing it in their golden years.

Studies show that it is possible for those going through a divorce to begin having difficulty sleeping and other physical or emotional issues. Men's problems may include their diets or social lives, since their wives likely handled cooking and planning events. On the other hand, women often struggle with finances. In many marriages, wives quit their jobs or took long pauses in their careers, leaving husbands to manage the money.

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