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St. Louis Fathers' Rights & Divorce Law Blog

Until debt do us part: Division of marital debt during divorce

If you're like most Americans, you have debt. Whether there are balances on your credit cards or student/home/auto loans, you likely owe money to some institution. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. America seems to run on credit, which means debt is the norm.

When couples get divorced, however, they often fail to consider the role of debt in their property settlement. In today's post, we'll discuss some basic information about how debt is handled during divorce.

Assisted reproductive technology & disputes over parental rights

4092207_S.jpgThere's no doubt that medical science has allowed humans to do things once thought impossible. Even if we look only at the field of assisted reproductive technology, recent advancements have made it possible for couples and individuals to have children despite significant biological obstacles.

But assisted reproductive technology has serious legal implications as well as biological ones. And these issues are not always easy to sort out. In fact, some cases are raising questions about what happens when maternal and paternal rights are in competition with one another.

Literal approach to asset division goes viral in YouTube video

11537657_S.jpgEarlier this week, we wrote about the fact that "fair" can be hard to define in a divorce settlement. Because Missouri is an equitable distribution state, many people think this means that assets will be divided in a 50-50 split, or as close to that as possible. But equitable does not necessarily mean perfectly equal.

As it happens, a YouTube video related to this subject has recently been gaining international attention. It was made by a divorced man who took the idea of a 50-50 split a bit too literally.

What exactly does 'fair' mean when it comes to divorce?

20142112_S.jpgFrom the time that we are young children, most of us are concerned with fairness. Kids are quick to point out when they are not being treated fairly or equally compared to a sibling or friend. In many cases, this need to call out unfairness doesn't go away as we get older (but many of us might be less likely to complain if an unfair situation benefits us).

Unfortunately, what our parents often said was and is true: Life isn't fair. Especially when it comes to something complex like divorce, each spouse may have a very different view of what a fair divorce settlement should look like. And even if they agree, complete fairness isn't always possible.

Child support laws: Public opinion vs. reality: Part II

5556730_S.jpgIn our last post, we began a discussion about a recently released public-opinion study on child support. Laws and calculations regarding child support obviously vary by state, but average Americans may have little knowledge of what those laws say.

For this and other reasons, public attitudes about child support can be very different from the legal realities. Today's post will focus on Missouri's laws regarding child support awards and child support modifications.

Child support laws: Public opinion vs. reality: Part I

12869850_S.jpgWhen it comes to family law issues, everyone has an opinion. While many people will never go through a divorce or child custody dispute, it is nonetheless tempting to form an opinion about family law issues based on one's own experiences.

It should come as no surprise, then, that public attitudes about divorce, child custody, child support and alimony are often very different from the laws in a given state. Indeed, the public often makes assumptions about what laws say based on their own opinions of what the laws "should be."

What factors do courts consider in property division?

29307830_S.jpgDifferent states have different approaches when it comes to splitting up property in divorce. As some readers may know, it is standard classify states as using either a community property approach or an equitable division approach. Community property as an approach to property division generally involves dividing marital property equally, though the exact rules vary.

In the equitable division approach, which is used here in Missouri, community property is divided not equally but equitably. Missouri law provides judges significant discretion as to how to do this, though various statutory factors are provided as being relevant to the issue of fairness.

Protecting the whole family's privacy rights during divorce

Thumbnail image for 37367850_S (1).jpgEarlier this week, we wrote about social media, wireless technology and the way that these phenomena are shaping aspects of family law. During a difficult divorce or child custody dispute, most people want to maintain a sense of privacy, and evidence taken from one's smartphone or Facebook account can feel like a serious violation of that privacy.

Of course, more traditional media can also play a role in divorce cases, especially when the case involves a celebrity or a person with access to mass media technology. Although it didn't happen here in Missouri, a recent case is a reminder to Missouri residents that violating your spouse's privacy during the divorce process can lead to serious consequences.