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How Do I Make My Divorce Less Emotional?

Easier said than done, I know. As a St. Louis divorce attorney, almostFrustrated-Face every client I encounter is dealing with the rocky emotions of divorce when they come into my office for the first time. While completely taking the emotions out of a divorce case is nearly impossible, there are steps you can take to improve things drastically.

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Is Hiring a Divorce Lawyer Worth the Money?

moneyCost? It’s the first question that every attorney gets asked when they receive a call from a potential client. Clients want to know if they can afford the attorney, if hiring the lawyer improve things, and if they could be doing this on their own without spending the money. These are all reasonable questions to be asking and depending on whom you ask, you will get a variety of answers.

text boxTo be blunt, without a divorce attorney, mistakes will likely be made. In many cases though, clients do not realize what they are leaving on the table. As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know.

We always give our clients a very realistic example of a very typical lawyer vs. non-lawyer case. In a case without a lawyer, parties typically agree to a child support number or fill out a Form 14 themselves to determine a number. When someone unfamiliar with the Form 14 fills it out, they generally will miss some of the nuances which drastically change the number. [Read more…]

Rosie O’Donnell Learns After Previous Messy Divorce Tries to Keep Latest One Clean

BardolNothing leads to a bigger divorce mess than a household celebrity name and multimillions at stake. Rosie O’Donnell thought she learned her lesson back in 2009 with a divorce battle that raged on, got ugly quickly, and led to her forking over a big chunk of change and creating stress for her four children with her ex-spouse.

This experience made Rosie realize that she had to plan for the worst but hope for the best. Her next civil union involved a very specific prenuptial agreement that, while not publicly detailed, focused on minimizing the mess she had previously experienced.

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How Does Divorce Differ Through the Ages?

husband and wife on wedding day“Will you take this person to be your spouse, to love them, comfort them, honor and keep them, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto them, for so long as you both shall live?”

You say, “I do,” and when you do, you expect your life to be a certain way. But even some of the best-laid plans can change, though, and divorce is a common life change for couples throughout St. Louis County.

As a family law attorney in St. Louis, I know that divorce can happen at any age. I’ve worked with people of all ages, but they all have the same concern–how do I protect myself during my divorce? Different challenges come along with each stage of life. Depending on your situation, you’ll need to protect yourself from different things during your divorce.

Read below to learn about the varying concerns you may encounter if and when you divorce during the described age ranges.

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Will Lawyers Make My Divorce Worse?

There are times when it may seem like that. And there are some lawyers out there that might actually make the divorce worse. That being said, the majority of the time, lawyers will help your case and can substantially improve things. Something I always compare it to is a doctor/patient relationship. You would not even consider performing surgery on yourself. Yet, people regularly try to proceed with their own divorce. Similarly to health issues, a poorly handled divorce can leave terrible side effects for years to come.

I will give you a couple of examples. In Missouri divorce law, almost all pensions are divisible as marital property and Judges regularly choose to divide them 50/50 unless parties settle otherwise. However, a teacher’s pension is considered separate property and is not divided as marital property. If you are a teacher handling your own divorce, you might give away half your pension without knowing any better. Judges often sign off on settlement agreements without reviewing the exact terms and then half a pension would be gone for no reason. [Read more…]

Myth or Fact?…About Missouri Divorce

woman with question mark1) It takes at least a month to get divorce.

Fact.  Missouri has a 30 day waiting period after a divorce case has been filed before the case can be finalized. This includes parties that have already reached settlement or that have an uncontested divorce.

2) A spouse can deny the other spouse a divorce.

Myth. Unfortunately, even if one spouse does not want to get divorces, the divorce is going to be pushed through.  In Missouri, the petitioning spouse must only show that the marriage is irretrievably broken to be granted the divorce. This is generally not a hard burden to meet as the petitioning spouse filing the divorce in the first place is a pretty clear sign that the marriage is broken. [Read more…]

Hamm’s Uneven Monetary Split Reminds us of Post-Divorce Financial Distress

money and divorceIn early November, the heat was on in Oklahoma City as a multimillion-dollar divorce finally came to a close. The marriage of CEO of Continental Resources, Harold Hamm, and his wife of 26 years, Sue Ann, was finally resolved.

Since the filing of papers, the media couldn’t seem to get enough of the Hamm’s high profile (and high dollar) divorce. The scathing details about the split between the billionaire CEO and his wife did not go unnoticed, and for good reason, too.

The divorce papers were filed in 2012, and according to Mr. Hamm’s statements, this divorce was a long time coming. We learn from an article in the New York Times that despite their plentiful bank accounts, their marriage lacked love for at least ten years. The Beatles said it best: money can’t buy you love. But if you asked the Hamm’s, it certainly buys you a tumultuous, top dollar divorce. [Read more…]

Dealing with Domestic Violence – Is the NFL Doing Enough?

nfl footballDomestic violence is a dangerous family matter that goes from private to public in the blink of an eye. It is this raised eyebrow of awareness that puts big football names like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson on the newsstands.

Seeing “NFL” and “domestic violence” trending in the same sentence is unfortunately nothing new. It seems that every year, we hear of a professional sports player being involved in a violent altercation with a family member. Revelations of their horrible acts invade our morning news. Images, videos, and past interviews are replayed and displayed. Fans anxiously wait to hear news of whether or not the players are removed from the team’s roster.

Every year, though, their names disappear from the headlines. Football season comes and goes, but the awareness of domestic violence should not. [Read more…]

Furry Family Members Heighten Emotional Divorce Disputes

Bardol5For some couples, a pet is one of the first things they share. By purchasing a cat, dog, or other household pet, two crazy newlyweds become a family. Pairs bond over picking what to name their furry friend. They divide up the responsibilities, like vet visits, feedings, and dog walks.

All of a sudden, the love you share with each other is now shared with a new family member–your pet. Although in your eyes, these loveable animals are members of the family and almost equivalent to children, in the eyes of the law, they are still considered property.

This becomes especially evident when a couple begins the divorce process.

According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been a distinct increase in pet custody battles. Amongst all household pets, dogs are quarreled over the most during divorce. And even though divorce courts still considers them to be property, that has not stopped some judges from allowing pet custody cases, reports 22 percent of the surveyed attorneys. [Read more…]

Professional Athletes Not Earning Gold Medals for Marriage

lakersKobe Bryant can shoot a three pointer like nobody’s business. Tiger Woods can quiet the whole green with a soft putt of the ball. Michael Jordan’s earth-shattering slam-dunks are legendary, to say the least. But besides their outlandish athletic talent, what do all of these extraordinarily talented household names have in common?

They got divorced.

Forbes highlighted this common trend in a recent article, claiming that while domestic violence issues amongst professional athletes are currently gaining hype and infamy in the media, they do not actually comprise the most common marital pattern. Divorce is actually the most common issue at home for these athletes. [Read more…]