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Pets are generally treated as beloved family members. The court systems, however, tend to see a pet as property, even in cases of disputed divorces. For some individuals in Missouri, custody of the family pet becomes a contentious issue when settling a divorce in family law court. With the exception of two states, courts will treat a pet as personal property, but attitudes about this issue are changing.  

Since pets are loved like family members, both parties in a divorce may have a strong desire to maintain a relationship with that pet. While some judges will take into account who spends the greater amount of time and money on the pet, sometimes, individuals can be ordered to sell the pet and split the proceeds. One party may be required to buy out the other party in order to receive the pet. 

For now, the best bet to determine pet custody is to independently reach an agreement with one's ex for either sharing time or determining ownership. When the situation reaches court, the pet issue will be handled like property and not necessarily on the best interests of the pet. Attitudes about pets are changing, however, and new laws may reflect more the rights and best interests of a pet versus the pet's monetary value. 

Individuals in Missouri go to family law courts in order to settle many types of issues. Issues such as divorce, prenuptial agreements, and yes, even pet custody will be handled through the court system. Since some of the issues can be complicated or emotionally trying, many individuals reach out for help. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on a number of family law issues. 

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At the end of a marriage, an individual may find the need to divide the shared property. What and how the marital assets will be divided are decided during the divorce process. Some assets, like IRAs, have special tax rules that apply. Individuals in Saint Charles, Missouri, who want to separate an IRA during divorce should heed the rules to avoid a tax penalty. 

The transfer of an individual's interest in an IRA to a former spouse under a divorce or separation instrument isn't taxable, per the IRS. While some plans, known as qualified plans, require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to transfer the funds, an IRA does not require a QDRO. Funds can be transferred by the divorce decree by transferring the sum into a former spouse's IRA account or retitling the account to the former spouse. 

To qualify for the tax-free exchange, a legal divorce decree or separation agreement must exist. Informal arrangements do not qualify. Distributions taken from the IRA and awarded as cash do not qualify either, and they will be treated as a taxable event. Any distributions taken that do not qualify as a special exception will also be considered for an early distribution penalty. 

The division of marital assets, especially for those undergoing a high asset divorce, can become complicated. Individuals in Saint Charles, Missouri, considering a divorce may wish for some extra help to avoid tax penalties. An experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney may be able to offer useful guidance to inquisitive people. 

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Music fans in Missouri who follow the career of pop music star Britney Spears may recall the struggle the performer faced when her 2007 divorce made headline news. Since then, she has been trying to resolve various custody and child support issues that have arisen regarding her two children. The boys' father, Kevin Federline, is apparently not satisfied with current payment amounts.

Spears is said to be paying $25,000 monthly at this time as financial provisions, post-divorce, for her children. However, Federline may be asking for double that amount. Spears' father is her legal conservator and has been addressing the problem behind the scenes.

Some say Spears is quite concerned that her ex-husband is going to forbid her to see her children if she does not comply with his request for more child support. However, as many Missouri parents and others who have gone through similar situations can attest, no changes can be made to existing child support orders without the court's approval. There are several factors that may prompt a judge to modify an existing court order.

It is true that parents may devise their own plan, but they still must seek the court's approval before a plan is implemented. This goes for any modification, whether a parent wants a decrease or increase in payment amounts. Time will tell whether Spears and Federline can peacefully resolve their current child support problems or if the situation will lead to litigation. Any Missouri parent facing similar problems as these celebrities may protect his or her rights and children's best interests by reaching out for legal support.

Source: bravotv.com, "Could This Child Support Battle Allow Kevin Federline to Keep Kids From Britney Spears?", Tamara Palmer, May 24, 2018

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One woman's journey to successful pageant queen started with less than ideal beginnings. She lacked support from her parents and needed to do many things for herself for which children are not typically responsible. At 16, she was granted a minor emancipation and was able to take more control of her life. Individuals in Missouri may find the details of the woman's story inspiring. 

Although the woman says she harbors no resentment toward her parents, she was able to recognize that she wasn't getting the support she needed. Her emancipation request was granted. After that, she was able to legally sign contracts for herself and be considered an adult. She used her newfound freedom to graduate from high school early, join the Army National Guard and graduate from college. Now, she is a successful pageant queen. 

Emancipation laws vary by state, and they are typically rarely granted. Usually, an agreement is made between the child and the parents before the emancipation proceeding is completed. The orders are typically granted when it is in the child's best interest and the child has shown a reasonable ability to provide care for themselves. 

In Missouri, an individual may seek minor emancipation if his or her parents are not able to provide support to the child and that child is interested in taking legal responsibility for his or herself. Since the child will probably be required to demonstrate his or her ability to maintain themselves as an adult, he or she may require additional help. An experienced family law attorney can provide helpful guidance in this type of proceeding. 

Source: pressherald.com, "Facing adversity as a youth, Miss Maine USA took charge of her life on way to national pageant", Ray Routhier, May 21, 2018

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A man's bond with his child can be incredibly strong. For some dads, however, they may have a nagging feeling that the child they are raising is not their true biological child. Other men are willing to live with the uncertainty and try to keep a strong, stable presence in the child's life. However, for Missouri men, this attitude can come with long-term impacts, such as paying child support for a child who is not one's biological child.

There are shades of misattributed paternity, also known as paternity fraud. Some women knowingly deceive a man, understanding that the child is likely the product of an affair, but they choose to stay with their husband and keep the family together. Other women may truly have an incorrect belief about their child's parentage or simply be confused about the date of conception. 

Men who sign the birth certificate or otherwise take parental responsibility for a child without the proof of DNA testing take certain risks. One risk is being saddled with the financial responsibility for a child who does not belong to them. Another risk is forming a close bond with a child only to find out later, perhaps after a divorce, that one is not the father and lose custody rights. 

In order to prevent future problems, men are encouraged to request a DNA test before assuming parental responsibility. When claims of child support arise, a man will likely want to prove that he is the father before agreeing to long-term payments. In Missouri, parentage can affect both child support and child custody. Men who face paternity issues may wish to consult with an experienced family law attorney for more guidance on this issue. 

Source: t2conline.com, "Discover the Truth: The Best Strategy to Avoiding Paternity Fraud", May 14, 2018

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After a divorce, working together with an ex can be tough for some people. However, there are ways to adapt and make the process easier for everyone involved. By drafting a parenting plan and keeping some recommended tips in mind, an individual in Missouri can keep the children's best interests well provided for. 

At the end of a marriage, emotions can run high. It may be in everyone's best interests for the individuals to separate their emotions from the task at hand. People can choose to approach the co-parenting relationship like a business arrangement, and keep the focus on the children. Of course, a person may need to vent from time to time, but if he or she can avoid spewing negative emotions in front of the children, it may help to prevent future problems.

Another key area for co-parenting success is communication. By keeping communications transparent and as friendly as possible. It can be helpful to remember the golden rule and to communicate with the other parent as you would have them communicate with you. This way, you both will remain informed about important events in the child's life.

Co-parenting is possible after a divorce. Some people wish to set up a comprehensive parenting plan to ensure that both parties are aware of rights, responsibilities and expectations for the care of their children. Many people going through a divorce in Missouri may want extra help with this step. An experienced family law attorney will have the skill set needed to help a person draft a parenting plan that will keep the children's needs in the forefront. 

Source: kgwn.tv, "Youth Alternatives: Making co-parenting work", Kayla Dixon, April 26, 2018

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A musician faces legal challenges, and the results aren't yet clear. One woman claims that the man, the popular rapper Offset, is the father of her 2-month-old baby. He disputes the paternity and the documents that have popped up on social media. If found to be the father of the child, the man will have certain parental rights and responsibilities. Missouri fans of the rapper will likely want to follow the story as it develops. 

Offset, also known as Mr. Kiari Kendrell Cephus, recently became a father with his current beau Cardi B. Then the claims that he was the father to another child started to swirl on social media. Late last year, Instagram model Celina Powell came forward to claim that Mr. Cephus was the father to her child.

Unfortunately, the woman has a history of falsely making claims of being pregnant by other famous musicians. This fact caused some to doubt the authenticity of her claims. She posted documents on social media that she alleges are the results of a DNA test, proving that Mr. Cephus is the father. Fans of the rapper have spoken out on various social media platforms to say that they think the documents are fake. 

Offset has denied paternity and also sent a cease-and-desist order to the model before the documents surfaced. Now that the paternity letter is online, it looks like he may have some more questions to answer before the issue can finally be put to rest. Being the father of a child comes with certain rights and obligations, so it is important to have accurate information about the parents. A person in Missouri facing claims about whether he has fathered a child may want to seek the help of a seasoned attorney in order to settle the matter.

Source: xxlmag.com, "Offset caught up in paternity dispute with Instagram model", Lindsey India, April 30, 2018

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Major League Baseball star Pete Rose has made the bulk of his post-sports career cash by signing autographs. His wife claims that he makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year doing so, but loses it in gambling. Their pending divorce, started in 2011, continues with a new filing. His wife requested that Rose to reveal his personal finances so that the couple can split the marital assets and finally complete the divorce. Missouri fans of Rose may be interested in the developing case. 

The couple originally married back in 1984. Apparently, he filed for divorce back in 2011, but the breakup was never finalized. Rose has moved on romantically, and even made a reality TV show with his new girlfriend, a younger former Playboy model. The former ballplayer's penchant for making money with appearances and signed memorabilia has been documented in the past by magazines. 

His estranged wife claims that Rose makes $100,000 per month signing autographs, but that his taste for gambling causes most of the money to be lost. She alleges that he owes significant amounts of money to the IRS and to casinos. She has asked the court to compel Rose to reveal his finances so that the divorce settlement can be finalized. 

Individuals in Missouri going through the process of separating marital assets and finances during a divorce can relate to the importance of having a clear picture of the finances of both parties. Rose may finally have to reveal his financial status so that his soon-to-be ex-wife can formally end her marriage with the ballplayer. Other individuals looking for help in getting estranged partners to reveal the state of their financial affairs may wish to do so with the aid of an experienced family law attorney. 

Source: sports.yahoo.com, "New divorce docs claim Pete Rose has major gambling debts", Liz Roscher, April 23, 2018

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Some individuals with children may examine their options when it comes to caring for a child after a divorce. Sole custody and joint child custody are common options. For others, an emerging custody trend known as a bird's nest serves as an excellent temporary solution that reduces disruption in a child's life. Missouri individuals exploring their options may find that flying in and out of the nest works for their family's needs. 

During a divorce, the two parties usually find new housing. Finding appropriate housing may take some time, especially if the house will be sold as part of the divorce. For instance, a family may want to wait for a market rebound before selling a home in order to maximize the selling price. Perhaps the couple has not yet determined who will remain in the family home, or the pair may share a lease. 

A bird's nest arrangement allows the child to stay in the family home while the parents take turns staying for certain periods of time. When they are not in the family home, the parents have other living arrangements. This way, the child does not experience any disruption in his or her living arrangement, and it allows the parents to share the living space while they determine the next move. 

The bird's nest child custody arrangement typically works best when it is temporary and boundaries are well-defined. Not every family will want or need to utilize a bird's nest, but the arrangement could be a lifesaver for others. During a divorce, an individual must be prepared to negotiate and settle custody matters with his or her soon-to-be ex. Some in Missouri choose to enlist the help of an experienced family law attorney for more guidance in doing so. 

Source: CNBC, "This hot Hollywood divorce trend may not be for you", Lorie Konish, April 16, 2018

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A proposed state law would allow parents to seek outside help for caring for their children without facing charges of abuse or neglect. A Missouri state senator has introduced a bill that allows parents to give up their custody rights temporarily if they are unable to care for their children while they seek help for drug addiction or work to resolve any other major issues affecting their lives and livelihood. The practice is already used in the state, but the law would give a legal shelter against charges of child abandonment or neglect. 

Any parents who find themselves temporarily unable to provide care for their children, whether it is due to homelessness, a job loss, addiction rehabilitation or some other serious matter, may be able to use a power of attorney to temporarily give custody rights to a third party. If the process is followed, the parent would not be subject to charges of child abuse, neglect or abandonment. The parent would not lose his or her custodial rights, and there would be no financial cost to the state. 

Parents who find themselves lacking resources but still make good-faith efforts to improve their situations for their children should not face criminal charges. The law wants to support parents in that aim and keep kids out of the state foster care system. The bill also builds in protections for children by adding background checks for care providers and setting guidelines for the creation of care plans. 

For most parents, maintaining their custody rights and keeping a healthy relationship with their children is extremely important. The law, if it passes, will support those who take the steps to become better parents to their children. Sometimes, a parent may find him or herself facing a battle to keep custody rights. In Missouri, a lawyer can be a valuable help for individuals in custody disputes. 

Source: columbiamissourian.com, "Parents could temporarily give up custody of children under proposed law", Titus Wu, April 9, 2018

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