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Wichita Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Getting a right of first refusal provision in a custody agreement

136830284_s.jpgParents in Kansas who are going through a divorce may be concerned about how much time they will get to spend with their children. A noncustodial parent may want to introduce what is called a "right of first refusal" provision into the child custody agreement. This means that if one parent cannot care for the child and would need to have a sitter or another family member do so, that parent must first give that chance to the other parent.

Parents may set up what are known as "hours of alternate care." These blocks of time should correspond to when a parent is most likely to need someone to look after the child. Typical blocks are for overnight or for eight or four hours. One example might be a parent who has an unpredictable work schedule and is frequently called in for a certain amount of time. Going first to someone else to care for the child in these circumstances would be considered a violation of the custody agreement.

Britney Spears seeking more time with her sons

29458459_s.jpgMany people in Kansas have heard of Britney Spears' recent mental health and child custody struggles. According to reports, Spears' custody agreement with her ex-husband, Kevin Federline, was altered after she checked into a treatment center in September. The ex-couple's 50-50 custody agreement was changed to a 70-30 split with Spears having the smaller amount of time with her two sons.

US Weekly reported that Spears has plans to seek more parenting time when she goes back to family court next year. Spears will have to convince a judge that her 14-year-old and 13-year-old sons would benefit from spending more than 30% of their time under her care. Because Spears is under a conservatorship, she cannot legally be awarded full custody.

How women can prepare financially for divorce

87213310_s.jpgThe median income for women is significantly lower than that of men, and women in particular may suffer financially after a divorce. However, women in Kansas can also take steps that will help them get back on a secure financial footing before, during and after the divorce.

Before the divorce is underway, women should gather important documents about the family finances. This might include tax returns, bank statements, property titles and more. If they do not have credit in their own name, they may want to consider getting a credit card that they pay off monthly to build a credit record. They can also open an account in their own name. The existence of this account must be disclosed during the divorce process, but it can help in saving to pay for a divorce. Individuals may also want to consider getting a post office box to receive confidential mail.

Co-parenting with a difficult ex

81606621_S.jpgMany divorced and divorcing parents in Kansas are concerned about their children. They want to spend time with their kids while also recognizing that children benefit from having a strong relationship with both parents. However, there are situations in which effective co-parenting can be particularly challenging.

While many divorces are amicable, others are not. In some cases, one spouse may engage in controlling, unpleasant or aggressive behavior that makes the relationship difficult or intolerable for the other spouse. In divorces where there are no children, divorce represents an opportunity for one spouse to start a new life without having to deal with such negative behaviors on a regular basis. However, if a couple has children, both parents will have to work together to address parenting issues.

Child support payments may linger into adulthood

85948076_S.jpgKansas parents and others who are divorced or separated may be entitled to child support payments. While these payments typically end when a child turns 18, there are exceptions to this rule. For instance, parents may receive financial assistance until a child graduates from high school or until a son or daughter turns 21. Noncustodial parents may be required to help pay a son or daughter's college tuition or make additional support payments for an adult child who is in college.

In some cases, parents are responsible for financially supporting a child if that individual is going to school full-time. In Missouri, support payments will cease at age 22 regardless of whether that person is still in school or not. Child support payments could be modified if a parent experiences a change in financial circumstances. Payments can also be terminated if a child is emancipated prior to reaching the age of majority.

How social media is affecting divorce cases

118915097_S.jpgSome Kansas residents may be surprised to find out just how much social media evidence is looked at when it comes to divorce cases. Of course, this makes sense considering that millions of people are using social media accounts to share photographs, keep in touch with friends, and share what is going on in their lives.

It has been estimated that over 80% of attorneys discover evidence in social media posts that are worth using in court. Over 60% of cases involving the end of a marriage use Facebook as one of the main sources of evidence. And just about a third of legal action in cases of divorce were preceded by affairs conducted over the Internet.

Reasons men may not report domestic violence

68711022_S.jpgAt Stange Law Firm, we believe that regardless of whether you are male or female, you have the right to feel safe, particularly at home. However, domestic violence against men happens in the United States, including Kansas, every day. The Crime Report cites data from the Centers for Disease Control indicating that the portion of men in the United States who experience stalking and/or violence of a physical or sexual nature at the hands of an intimate partner (including but not limited to spouses) at some point in their lives is approximately one-third. The percentage of men who experience psychological aggression from intimate partners is even higher, at 34.3%. 

If you are one of the millions of men who experience domestic violence at some point in their lives, you should know that you do not deserve this kind of treatment and you have the right to seek help. Unfortunately, however, many abused men never report the domestic violence they endure. There are a number of reasons for this reluctance. 

Paying for the kids' extracurricular activities

99889788_M.jpgThere is a certain sense of finality that comes with divorce, yet despite this feeling, you and all of the others involved in your proceedings will eventually regain the perspective that life does indeed go on. Not only does it continue for you and your now ex-spouse, but it also does for your kids. That means years and years of more soccer games, dance recitals, band camps and beauty pageants. As you know, all of these activities cost money, and this prompts many to come to us here at the Stange Law Firm PC with the same question: who pays for it?

It is a common (yet understandable) misconception that a child support obligation covers every expense related to your children's lives. It does indeed cover their sustenance, medical care and other important needs, yet nor extracurricular activities. Like many parents, you may believe these activities to be important, but the difference between them and the aforementioned expenses is that football, ballet and piano lessons are not considered essential elements to a child's upbringing (whereas having a roof over their head, food in their stomach and access to a doctor are).

How can you relinquish your parental rights?

119327924_S.jpgWhen considering the issue of paternity, most in Wichita might think your actions in such a regard would be limited to either trying to establish your paternity or dispute such a claim being made against you. Yet there could also be scenarios where your paternity is not so much in question, but rather if you want to maintain your parental rights.

Some might bristle at the thought of you willingly choosing to terminate your parental rights (assuming that your only reason for wanting to do so is to not have to be held financially responsible for your child). Yet there are indeed a number of legitimate reasons why taking such an action might be viewed as a valid option for you. These may include:

  • You not wanting to impede your child from receiving support from another party that has a greater capacity to provide it
  • Extenuating circumstances (such as incarceration) making it difficult for you to care for your child
  • You wanting to have your child's other parent completely out of your life

Is shared custody for everyone?

65215009_S.jpgAs a Kansas parent who is getting a divorce, do you already know how you will be handling matters of child custody? You may have heard that shared custody is largely considered to be the better option, but are there any downsides? And what do you do if it simply isn't the right choice for your family?

FindLaw examines some of the different custody options you have, including shared custody. Shared custody is largely lauded as being beneficial to the children of divorce. This is because studies have shown that children of shared custody tend to have fewer behavioral and emotional problems growing up.

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