Divorce is typically an emotionally charged and multifaceted process. Ending a marriage is never easy due to the emotional strain this situation usually causes. However, the financial aspects of divorce can make a case even more contentious. If you are preparing to divorce in Kansas City for any reason, you are likely to have many concerns about the issues you must resolve in your divorce proceedings.
A standard Missouri divorce requires settling property division, child custody, and support for the couple’s children and resolving any other lingering issues between the spouses. While the average person can likely account for the foundational economic issues that divorce entails, any divorce is likely to present long-term financial concerns for anyone.
Legal counsel is essential if you are unsure what to expect regarding the financial side of your impending divorce. You need to find a divorce attorney in Kansas City who has experience handling complex financial problems in divorce, such as separate property ownership disputes and high net worth divorces. The right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of your case.
Property division is one of the most important facets of any divorce case. The legal process of divorce requires assessing the property owned by the divorcing spouses, ascertaining its value, determining what qualifies as the separate property of each of the spouses, and dividing marital assets and debts under the equitable distribution rule enforced for Missouri divorces.
While the property division process may seem simple enough at first glance, the reality is that it is a complex, tedious, and time-consuming process in most divorces. This is especially true for divorcing couples who control substantial assets, complex business investments, and other property and debt that cannot be divided easily.
It’s understandable for any divorcing spouse to desire the best possible financial situation for themselves following divorce. However, it is vital to be realistic in your expectations when it comes to property division in divorce. Missouri’s equitable distribution law may aim for the “fairest” possible division of your marital assets, but “fair” could mean very different things to you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
The right attorney can potentially prevent many of the problems divorcing spouses have with their property division proceedings before they can escalate into more significant issues. You can rely on your attorney for help with your financial disclosure statement, a necessary first step in any property division proceedings. Your legal team can advise you if you have any reason to believe your spouse hasn’t been entirely truthful with their financial disclosure statement.
Separate Property Ownership
Property division, in general, can be a tensely argued issue in any divorce. However, many property division disputes revolve around separate property ownership. For example, a divorcing spouse claims separate ownership over a piece of property they owned before marriage, such as their home. However, the other spouse claims the property qualifies as marital property due to their contributions. If the other spouse helped renovate, improve, maintain, and/or remodel the home to improve its value, or if their efforts enabled the original owner to retain ownership of the house when they otherwise would have been forced to sell the property, this could qualify as grounds for the judge to consider the property marital and not separate.
Establishing your separate property ownership rights in divorce typically requires proof of ownership extending before your marriage’s beginning. However, special rules can apply to different types of property. For example, most separate property includes gifts you received, inheritance, and anything given to you by your spouse in a donatory capacity. Your attorney can provide valuable insights if you have any concerns about the ownership designations of certain assets.
Child support is another family issue likely to generate contention in a divorce. The court has a legal duty to rule in favor of the best interests of any child affected by the court’s decision. When parents must resolve custody in divorce, or when unmarried parents must establish legally enforceable parental rights and responsibilities through the family court, child support is likely to come into play.
Both parents are legally required to contribute to their child’s financial needs. When one parent assumes a greater share of custody than the other, the noncustodial parent is likely to owe them monthly child support payments per the court’s instructions. The judge overseeing the case will calculate the total amount of support the child should receive from both parents combined and then divide the result in half to determine the respective support obligations of each parent.
Child support can generate contention in several ways. For example, parents may need to return to family court if a parent violates a child support order. It’s also possible for a parent required to pay child support to argue that their support obligation is unrealistic or untenable for some reason. Finally, in the event you are required to pay child support but cannot afford your payments, you can petition for a reasonable change to your support order, so you do not risk the penalties that follow nonpayment of child support in Missouri.
Judges in states that uphold equitable distribution laws tend to avoid long-term financial agreements between spouses. However, spousal support or alimony is necessary in some divorce cases. For example, if one spouse is entirely dependent on the other’s income or unable to work and support themselves for medical reasons, the other spouse may owe them ongoing spousal support at the court’s discretion.
Spousal support intends to provide the supported spouse with the assistance they need to maintain a standard of living similar to what they had while married. The amount they receive depends on the difference in income the spouses have, and the time they will continue receiving payments depends on how long the marriage lasted.
Ultimately, any divorce can present a wide range of difficult financial issues. You need legal counsel you can trust to navigate the complexities of your case as successfully as possible. Reach out to a Kansas City, MO, divorce attorney as soon as possible if you have pressing financial concerns about your impending divorce.