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June 2018 Archives

Missouri legislature passes major change in juvenile law

Missouri will be coming into line with 45 other states with respect to the age at which a person is automatically charged as an adult. For many years, the state criminal laws have set 17 as the age for being charged as an adult. That will change to age 18 due to a new statute passed overwhelmingly by both houses of the General Assembly. The juvenile law doctrine that gives the prosecution the ability to move the court to have certain juveniles prosecuted as adults will still apply.  

3 assets that may be difficult to divide

Divorce is rarely an easy process, but there are certainly some parts that are more difficult than others. Issues such as property division tend to be the most contentious, but there are steps you can take to mitigate any conflict and ensure you get what you need out of the settlement.

Divorce sometimes includes negotiations over the family dog

There is a growing realization among most people, including here in Missouri, that domestic pets are cherished family members. People readily find that each domestic animal has a distinct personality of its own, and the animal's loyalty and unswerving affection toward its care keepers is reciprocated by its human counterparts. Stories abound of dogs who react valiantly to save their owners in emergencies, and dogs are recruited to calm and comfort the elderly and people who are hospitalized. It is no wonder, therefore, that the decision of who gets the family dog in divorce can raise nearly as much strife as a dispute over child custody or visitation.

Ranking states according to child custody equality

With Father's Day approaching, many dads may be thinking about how they will spend the day with their kids. Their custody arrangements likely include Father's Day weekend so the children can celebrate the influence of their dads in their lives. Missouri dads going through divorce may be encouraged by the recent child custody trends that provide a more balanced time for the children to be with both parents. Although shared parenting looks good on paper, a recent study shows that it may not be put into practice as often as it should be.

Child custody is a co-parenting partnership for the children

At least in theory, Missouri and most other states have adopted the modern view that parents should share equally the burdens and joys of raising their children after a divorce. Studies have consistently reported more positive outcomes for children who had both parents remaining active in their lives after a divorce. That does not necessarily mean that the hours with the children each week should be split down the middle; instead, it refers to child custody being a shared experience with an equal commitment by both parents to the children's upbringing.

Divorce negotiations can find a plan to pay college tuitions

Divorce in Missouri generally follows the contours of procedure and substance that exist in other states. Although each state has its own variations, most divorce statutes today have a provision for a no-fault divorce. This means that neither party has to be blamed for causing the dissolution of the marriage.

Adoptive parents win child custody battle with natural father

In Missouri and other states, a natural parent does not always have superior rights to his or her child over an adoptive parent. Where a natural parent tries to challenge the rights of adoptive parents after the adoption has been duly processed and finalized by court order, the biological parent will usually have a tough legal challenge to overcome. However, each child custody case by necessity involves a very personal and in-depth determination that cannot be predicted in advance.

Divorce after 2018 will face new tax rules on alimony payments

Divorces nationwide and in Missouri will see some significant changes in federal tax rules due to the recent 2017 Tax Reform Act. For a divorce after 2018, the longstanding rule that makes alimony deductible to the payer and reportable income to the recipient will be eliminated. The payment will no longer be deductible nor will it be reported as income. In practice, the rule as it now exists has been a secure and generally useful mainstay of divorce negotiations for as long as family law practitioners can remember. 

2 things divorcees should know about property division

Marriage demands that you join your life with your spouse's in almost every sense. As you begin a partnership, you will likely share finances and belongings as well as your home. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but when your marriage is coming to an end, it can make the ensuing separation a complicated issue. There are a few things every divorcee should know about property division. 

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