Kansas City Family Law Blog

A fight over the house might not be worth it

Lots of married couples in the Kansas City area from all walks of life own a house in common. Many times, these houses are not only an important financial investment but also a place associated with lots of memories and strong emotions.

For these and other reasons, who gets to keep the martial residence is often a topic of contention in a divorce or legal separation on either side of the Missouri River. Some people may even go in to the property division process determined to do whatever they legally can to remain in the marital home and become sole owner of the property.

Tax changes to spousal maintenance coming very soon

As this blog has discussed on a previous occasion, courts in Missouri can and often will order one spouse to pay another periodic sums in order to balance out the relative economic earning power of a couple who is coming out of a divorce or permanent separation.

These spousal maintenance payments, also commonly referred to as alimony, get decided based on a number of factors. Sometimes, a Kansas City resident may wish to agree to pay alimony as part of a negotiation in exchange for some other benefits.

Legal separation in Missouri

Like other states, Missouri has a process called legal separation. In essence, a legal separation allows a married couple to live apart while being protected by a state court via order for property division, child custody and support and the like. At the same time, the couple remains legally married.

Legal separation has been described as a middle ground for those who feel the need to maintain separate households, sometimes for very compelling reasons like domestic violence, yet they wish to remain married for religious or moral reasons. The process does not end a couple's marriage, yet it goes a lot further in protecting the parties than simply having one party move out of the family home.

Offshore accounts can they raise issues

It might be surprising how many Kansas City residents, even those who live in typical suburbs in the area and hold ordinary jobs, engage in offshore banking.

Contrary to what one might have gathered in the movie and in reading about the tax schemes of some unscrupulous wealthy people, offshore accounts are not illegal. In general, a person is free to put their money in the financial institution of a foreign country and may well have lots of legitimate reasons for doing so.

Negotiating some virtual visitation into your custody agreement

Even if your marital relationship doesn't last, your relationship with your children should. You and the other parent may both understand that fighting over custody in court probably wouldn't help anyone as far as planning for the future and making a smooth transition into a new life.

In the interests of making the process less stressful for everyone, you agreed to work on a custody agreement outside of the courtroom in order to reduce the tension and find a way that you can work together for the best interests of your children. You can think outside the box as far as figuring out what arrangements would work best for your family.

When it comes to property division, beware of sentimental value

When a Kansas City resident has a piece of property, like a favorite chair or an heirloom china set, he or she might say that the property has sentimental value to him or her. The term sentimental value means that, while the property might not be worth much to the general public, it has a great deal of worth to the owner.

Sentimental value is what value an individual, usually the owner of the property, puts on a piece of property and is almost always higher than what the property is worth to an average person. It is usually based on a person's association of the property with a person, place, thing or memory. It can also be based on the feeling that a person worked hard to acquire or improve the property, oftentimes spending money to do so.

For better or for worse, Missouri is a 50-50 child state

Of late, several states have decided to make moves toward giving both moms and dads equal time with their children. Missouri is one of those states. In other words, under current Missouri law, if parents are living in two separate households and need a custody order, the default will be a parenting plan where dad gets to have the kids in his home half of the time, and mom gets them the other half of the time.

While 50-50 is not how it always works in practice, and there are exceptions to the rule, in general, a parent who has been responsibly involved in the lives of his or her children is going to see his or her children for a good chunk of the time. It is, in these cases, just a matter of getting a detailed parenting plan worked out.

Requirements for creating a prenuptial agreement

As a previous post on this blog discussed, prenuptial agreements can be very beneficial to couples in the Kansas City area who are thinking about taking the next step in their relationship and tying the knot. Particularly when one or both of the spouses has been married before, a prenuptial agreement can help even happily married couples with no plans to divorce protect certain valuable legal interests.

Like other states, Missouri law imposes certain minimum legal requirements that couples must abide by if they want to create a valid prenuptial agreement.

Overview of Missouri's relocation rules

Like many other states, Missouri has specific rules that cover situations in which a parent in the Kansas City area needs to move.

The purpose of these rules is to make sure that, on the one hand, parents who need to make a move for good reasons have the ability to do so without having to worry about losing a relationship with their kids and, on the other hand, the other parent gets to maintain his or her relationship with the children as well, at least to the fullest extent possible.

Who decides who gets custody of the children after divorce?

Missouri parents know that divorce can be extremely difficult on the youngest members of the family. As a parent facing the divorce process, it is likely that one of your main concerns is the protection of your children and allowing them to have a strong and stable future. It can be helpful to understand how child custody works and who makes these important decisions.

Parents have the right to maintain a strong relationship with their children after divorce. It is important for you to pursue a final order that respects your rights as a parent while allowing your kids to have as much continuity of lifestyle as possible. Before you make any important custody-related decisions, you will find it beneficial to seek a full understanding of your legal rights and options.

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