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St. Louis Family Law Blog

Sexual Assault Awareness Month presents startling statistics

Domestic violence can take a variety of different forms in a relationship within the St. Louis, Missouri, area and beyond. Sometimes couples can face just one type of violence, and sometimes, there are many more at play between the two people in the relationship. These types of abuse can commonly manifest in a few different forms, including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse among others. All of these types of abuse can be detrimental to the people involved in or affected by the behaviors.

The month of April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness about sexual violence and work to stop future incidents through prevention efforts.

Paternity leave, fathersí rights being questioned publicly

Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you may have heard the comments of former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason when professional baseball player Daniel Murphy chose to miss the first two games of this year’s season to be at his son’s birth. Esiason, who is now a sports commentator, suggested that Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section before the beginning of the season if Murphy wanted to be with her when their child was born. Esiason’s comments set off, in his words, a “firestorm” of controversy on both sides of the paternity leave argument.

Esiason has since apologized for the comment, saying that it was “insensitive” and that the family should have been able to concentrate on the happy event rather than face the criticisms that flooded the media.

'Video killed the radio star;' did MTV generation kill marriage?

Wehave all heard the statistics about the percentage of marriages that end in divorce. However, the statistics and the reasons for divorce in Missouri and throughout the country may be more complicated than the numbers show.

A recent study looked at demographics of divorce over the last four or five decades, including the ages of those divorcing and the real statistics of the social environment of the decade. These numbers paint a different picture than many people may have expected.

Missouri state bill to benefit domestic abuse victims on hold

Domestic violence - in all its forms -  is affecting men, women and children in every community across Missouri and the world, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, nationality or educational background.

A bill with the welfare of domestic abuse victims in mind is currently on hold after being amended severely in order for it to pass the critique of the Missouri Senate committee.

Supreme Court ruling bans guns for domestic violence offenders

The United States Supreme Court delivered a ruling in March that is considered a major victory for victims of domestic violence. The decision prohibits the possession of firearms for anyone convicted of domestic violence in any state throughout the country, including Missouri. 

The law even applies to states that currently require proof of physical violence in a domestic abuse conviction to revoke the privilege of possessing firearms. Some types of domestic abuse that may not involve physical violence can include psychological or emotional abuse and stalking.

Gwyneth Paltrow's example proves divorce can be amicable

There are many challenges that couples might face during a divorce, including battles over children, pets, assets, alimony, and child support. The proceedings leading to a divorce can be stressful and dramatic. St. Louis residents may have noticed there has been a tremendous buzz in the media recently regarding actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce from Coldplay’s Chris Martin.

The well-known actress shares two young children with the musician. The couple recently revealed publically that they are attempting to finalize their divorce in a peaceful manner. 

For divorcing spouses with a pet, there are options

Many St. Louis residents have probably heard the phrase "pet custody" more and more in recent years. The phrase is exactly what it sounds like: a divorce mechanism that stipulates which ex-spouse gets custody of the family pet. This pet custody agreement could be a shared arrangement, like joint child custody agreements, or it could an agreement that sees only one of the spouses retain control of the pet.

You may be saying to yourself "well that seems like a bizarre thing to argue about in a divorce." However, pets are very important to many families all across the country. For some couples, their pet may be akin to a child. Thus, pet custody when these couples file for divorce is incredibly important to the case.

Do you really want to go to divorce court over a massage chair?

When it comes to property division in divorce, the two spouses may have a wide array of feeling about how things should be divvied up. Some items hold sentimental value to one spouse, but not the other. Some items are significant to both spouses. Some pieces of property or assets are far more complex and difficult, such as 401(k) accounts, a business that the spouses started together, pensions and even debts.

These issues could draw out your divorce for months if you and your spouse don't approach them in the proper manner. You will need an attorney to help protect your rights and interests, as well as to give you advice when negotiating or bargaining over certain pieces of property or assets. Ultimately everyone wants what they want -- but what many couples don't realize as that the quicker they can achieve a fair divorce agreement, the better it is for everyone.

Here are a few simple steps to consider when talking prenup

Many St. Louis residents may hear the phrase "prenuptial agreement" and start to feel uncomfortable or on edge. Prenups, despite their perception, are critical to a married couple's happiness, and we say that without any sarcasm. Prenuptial agreements truly are that important. Without one, married spouses are simply failing to protect themselves just in case a divorce happens.

A prenup doesn't guarantee divorce -- it just prepares the spouses should one occur. Too often people think the prenup ends up causing a divorce. However, most divorces are far more complicated than that. Discussing the prenup openly and having a constructive conversation about it well before the wedding is the first key to successfully obtaining a prenup.

$14 billion in child support went unpaid in 2011

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that roughly $14 billion in child support payments is owed by parents who are "gaming the system." There were 14.4 million custodial parents in 2011, and only 62 percent of the $38 billion they were owed was paid. It makes you wonder why such missed payments are seemingly accepted, and what the custodial parent can do to hold his or her ex-spouse accountable for their actions.

First and foremost, there are significant sanctions that are placed on a spouse who does not comply with his or her obligation to pay child support to their ex-spouse. They would lose their license and eventually their passport if they failed to pay, and eventually their wages would be garnished if they continued to ignore their child support responsibility.

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