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St. Louis Fathers' Rights & Divorce Law Blog

Have you experienced parental alienation?

When a couple's relationship has failed and they begin the process of divorce, emotions often run high. They may harbor ill will towards each other and may occasionally complain, sometimes with a high degree of vitriol concerning their soon-to-be former spouse. This is not unusual or even unexpected.

But in some cases, it doesn't stop. During the divorce proceedings, this parent will continue to comment on the failings of their ex. Some may do it unconsciously, while others may become focused on pointing these failings, real or imagined, out to everyone they meet. And they may point them out repeatedly to the couple's children.

When you can't agree during a divorce

13671779_S.jpgSometimes, coming to an agreement during a divorce proceeding is difficult. A divorce is often about a loss of trust and that can make it hard for the parties to be willing to set aside their differences and do what is best for their future. Property issues can be particularly difficult as items of personal property may have sentimental or emotional value far beyond their apparent monetary value.

Similarly, property like real estate can be both emotional and financially problematic. One party may wish to retain the family home, but cannot afford to buy out the other party or may be financially crippled by such a transaction. This may lead to a deadlock, where they need to sell the property but cannot emotionally accept the deal.

Where you file your divorce matters

16713289_S.jpgMost people in St. Louis won't find they have much in common with the divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Few people have a marital estate measured in the hundreds of millions, but there are some lessons to be learned from their filing. If you have decided to file a divorce, jurisdiction is important. Jurisdiction is the term that defines the types of cases and the geographical area where a court may hear cases.

If you and your spouse are residents of Missouri, you need to file your divorce in this state. Jolie and Pitt have homes in multiple states and if Jolie met the residency requirements in more than one, she would have had a choice when choosing a state to file a divorce. She picked California, perhaps because it is a community property state.

Common-law marriage not so common

38365677_S.jpgIn recent decades, the stigma of two people living together has been reduced. More people are cohabiting, and it is important that they recognize the difference between cohabiting and marriage. Missouri does not recognize common law marriage, so simply living together in St. Louis will not create such a marriage. If you want to be married in Missouri, you need to comply with all of the statutory requirements to ensure you are legally married.

The one irony of common-law marriage is that in the few states that do recognize it, you can be married simply by living together and holding yourselves out as married. However, should you later decide you no longer wish to live together and want to end your common law marriage, you have to dissolve your marriage just as if you had been married.

Older couple's divorce brings special concerns

39457958_S.jpgDivorce among older couples in St. Louis,  throughout Missouri and across the nation has increased noticeably during the last two decades. The change is being led by the baby boom generation and is likely being caused by numerous factors. Women are better educated, often have had careers and their own income.

They may be unwilling to settle for a relationship that has grown stale or withered over the years. For many, 30 years of marriage have made them different people and they may find they now have little in common. They may view their marriage dissolution as simply the next phase of their lives.

Remember to treat your kids as kids

36637402_S.jpgThe legal world is an adult world. Children cannot, in most cases, sue. When their parent's divorce in St. Louis, they are part of the custody arrangement, but their input is limited by their age and maturity, and even if a judge takes it into consideration, it is simply one of many factors that will be weighed.

So they have to rely on their parents to protect their "best interest." The judge, too, is supposed to make decisions in the child's best interest. And what is that best interest? In one sense, the best interests of the child are that they should be allowed to grow up being treated as a child.

Shared parenting should now become more common in Missouri

48969307_S.jpgOne of the most painful aspects of many divorces in Missouri has been the traditional assumptions that one parent, often the father, really does not need to spend much time with their children. A couple could granted joint custody and a father could still wind up being awarded a few hours on a weeknight and every other weekend.

Many fathers felt shortchanged and according to the research, many children were being shortchanged. This should be changing now, as shared parenting is now the law in Missouri, and judges will now be required to attempt to award time as close as possible to equal between the parents.

Is it the season for your divorce?

45183526_S.jpgIt has been known for some time that after the winter holidays, there is an uptick in divorce filings. Many people wait for the New Year, perhaps giving their children one last set of holiday gatherings with their family. But after those holidays, people reassess their situation and move on.

A recent university study has found that this increase in filings is mirrored in August. The researchers examined divorce records for counties in the state of Washington, noticed the February/March increase and were somewhat surprised to find a similar increase during August.