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law-libraryAs we have discussed in previous blogs, the method to calculate the presumed child support amount in Missouri Family Courts is dictated by Missouri  Supreme Court Rule and through the use of the  “Form 14”.    Effective July 1, 2017 a new version of the Form 14 will take effect.  In this blog we take a look at a couple of the major changes that could impact your Missouri child support.

Overnight custody adjustment

When calculating child support through the use of the Form 14, one of the significant factors impacting  the amount of child support ordered is the number of overnight custody periods the paying parent is awarded in the family’s custody plan.   In effect, the more time the children are in the physical custody of the paying parent the Form 14 adjusts, and the award of child support may be reduced. This adjustment is calculated on line 11 of the Form 14.

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pension planIn today’s blog we discuss the consideration of future pension benefits in the division of marital property in Missouri Family Courts.

In previous blogs, we have addressed the entitlement of divorcing spouses to retirement benefits accumulated during the marriage.  In circumstances when the parties have accumulated, during the marriage, savings in a retirement savings plan such as a 401(k) Plan, 403(b) Plan, 457 Plan, Thrift Savings Plan, or IRA, the division of these assets is relatively simple.  The present day value of the retirement asset can be verified through the most recent statement or by simply logging on to the account to check the balance.  In determining the marital interest, the Court will consider the amount of that value that has accumulated during the marriage.  That amount is generally marital property and will be considered in the division of assets in the overall marital estate.

However, in cases where a spouse has accumulated interest in a defined benefit pension plan the Court’s consideration of the value of that marital asset is not as simple.  When a spouse accumulates an interest in a pension plan, the following three stages are to be considered in the accumulation of that asset: an interest in the pension plan that has not vested; an interest in the pension plan that has vested but has not matured to the point where the spouse is entitled to receive payment from the Plan; and the final stage, when a Plan is vested and has matured to the point where the spouse is entitled to receive the specific benefits defined in the Plan.  In the final stage, the benefit is most often paid out in a specific monthly installments beginning when the employee/spouse reaches a certain age and/or has accumulated a specific amount of years of service time.

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military-pensionsMany Missouri family law attorneys who have been in practice since September 11, 2001 have experienced an increase in their cases involving families with Military retirement plans.   In today’s blog we discuss a potential pit fall when dividing a marital interest in these plans.

In the years following September 11, 2001 the United State’s Military experienced a measurable increase in the numbers of people enlisting in its various branches.   Along with the increase in enlistment came an increase in the payment of military benefits, including retirement benefits and disability benefits.

From the year 2000 to 2013 the number of military veterans receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)  increased by nearly 55 percent and spending for those benefits almost tripled during that same period of time.   With the increase in the number of veterans receiving some level of disability payment, it is incumbent on your Missouri family law attorney to be aware of the potential impact of a VA disability award on the receipt and division of military retirement benefits.

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private school costWith the prevalence of private grade schools and high schools in the St. Louis area, family law attorneys and judges are often faced with the question of how to pay for the costs associated with these schools when one or both parents decide to send their child to private school.  In today’s blog we cover how this can impact a parent’s child support obligation.

If you assumed that St. Louis has a larger than average percentage of students attending private grade schools and high schools as compared to other large metropolitan areas, you would be correct.  In a recent study by the real estate company Trulia, of the largest 100 metropolitan areas in the United States, St. Louis ranked 10th overall in a measurement of the largest percentage of students enrolled in private school.

Whether it be in a divorce situation or in a case where the mother and father were never married, the Missouri family court is often faced with a decision as to whether to assign these costs to either parent.

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money-magnifyMissouri family law attorneys and judges often wrestle over how property is to be divided when that property was acquired during the marriage from one party’s separate or pre-marital assets.   In today’s blog we examine the Source of Funds Rule  and its potential application in divorce proceedings in Missouri. Continue reading →

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scales of justice.jpgAfter receiving an Order in a divorce judgment of spousal support or alimony, which is referred to as maintenance in Missouri family courts, many times there are questions and concerns surrounding the term of these maintenance payments and whether they can ever be altered.
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money&marriage.jpgAs a family law practitioner one of the most common explanations, given by new clients, as to why they have remained in an unhealthy and often times oppressive marriage is the feeling of being financially trapped due to the unknown financial consequences if they leave the marriage . This is typically due to either one parties’ almost exclusive reliance upon the income of his or her spouse to provide for the family’s financial needs; or that the financial circumstances of the parties lead a client to believe that a divorce or legal separation will only cause more financial hardship. In those circumstances, client’s may elect to stay in the relationship in hopes that by doing so they can address their financial problems prior to addressing their marital problems.

In today’s blog we take a broad look at the potential financial impact of divorce and some specific tools which are available to address both the short- term and long- term needs of a client.
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Divorce.jpgIn Part I of our most recent blog we discussed how important it is to determine an attorney’s level of experience with family law and those specific issues which are of particular importance to the client. Further, we addressed how important it is that potential clients evaluate their comfort level with the attorney and his or her staff. The client should feel confident that the attorney: has a good understanding of the client’s unique situation; that they are able to communicate to the client a legal strategy to assist them; and that the attorney and staff have the competence to execute that strategy. In today’s blog, we cover the importance of evaluating the attorney’s familiarity with the venue in which the divorce will be pending and the particular judge who may be presiding over that divorce. We will also discuss the importance of having a clear understanding of the billing practice of the attorney and the attorney’s office.
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