For most people, outside of experiencing the death of a loved one, going through a divorce is the hardest emotional experience in their life. It is our job to make sure that you are treated fairly by the court and to help guide you on emotional issues. Most divorces involve three key issues: property, child custody, and child support.
The longer that you are married, the more property that you accumulate. Some of this property, maybe all of this property, is subject to division by the court in a divorce as marital property. The complex rules surrounding how and when marital property is acquired make this area of law a minefield, and that’s when having an experienced attorney makes the difference. In a divorce, there are two classifications of property: separate property and marital property. Typically, property that is owned prior to the marriage is classified as separate property and property that is acquired after the marriage is considered marital property. However, property that may initially be classified as separate property may become marital property through actions such as co-mingling funds (e.g. in a bank account). Additionally, some property that is acquired after the marriage may not automatically become marital property, such as gifts or inheritance.
If you have children, there will probably be child custody and support issues. Normally, a husband and wife will have equal rights to their children unless there is a court order to the contrary. In other words, until there is a temporary order of custody and support or a judgment (i.e. a divorce decree) from the court, neither party has any greater rights than the other. Often, the court’s order will award the husband and wife joint legal custody and joint physical custody of the children. Legal custody concerns the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education, and welfare of the child. Physical custody concerns the periods of time during which a child resides with or is under the care and supervision of each of the parents. Naturally, the circumstances of every case are different and a parent may be awarded sole legal custody and sole physical custody in certain situations (e.g. physical or sexual abuse).
Child support is calculated based on a formula established by the State of Missouri. However, a parent may be entitled to deductions for factors like health insurance and overnight visits. It is important to be aware of these deductions in arriving at the correct calculation of child support.
If you have additional questions about divorce, child custody, or child support, call or come visit the family law attorneys at the Paul Law Firm. Consultations are always free!