Tulsa, OK Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC
Missouri families might feel like making wise decisions for their children is increasingly difficult. For some, life is a bit more complicated due to the widespread closure of schools, businesses and public offices. For families that have a child custody order in place, making the right call amid a pandemic may cause tension.
Nationwide, parents are struggling to adjust to new guidelines and regulations. For children that are used to splitting time between two parents, the schedule may be temporarily interrupted. If parents do not agree on a course of action, the situation may result in the need for legal action.
Missouri families are adjusting to the widespread closure of many schools and businesses. The nationwide health crisis has affected nearly every household, changing the way people work, keep in touch with friends and family, and even grocery shop. The state recently announced that courts will remain closed for at least a few more weeks, leaving many to wonder how the current circumstances will affect their child custody proceedings.
Many parents may feel like their lives are in limbo because cases that may have been adjudicated by now are at a standstill. This can be frustrating and stressful for parents that are trying to get organized and make long-term plans. Parents may also have to make changes to existing child custody schedules to accommodate school closures and employment situations.
For older Missouri residents, ending a marriage can be a particularly confusing and emotional process. Often referred to as a “gray divorce,” the term simply means a divorce between a couple over the age of 50. Any children may have already struck out on their own, and a divorcee may be retired from a job that occupied a lot of his or her time. The prospect of starting over without the company of a spouse may be scary, but people considering a gray divorce have options.
There are a few tips for healing emotionally during and after a gray divorce. There may be concerns about a potentially empty social life, especially if a spouse continues to attend events and engagements that were once mutual. Instead of feeling a sense of loss, it’s possible to look at this situation as an opportunity to try new things, perhaps something that the individual has always wanted to explore. A cooking class, a book club, a new sport or perhaps just a weekly lunch date with a friend can provide something to look forward to.
Missouri grandparents may be among the estimated 2.4 million nationwide raising their grandchildren full-time. If a parent has passed away, suffers from a serious medical condition or addiction, or is otherwise unable to care for a child, a grandparent often comes to the rescue. In such situations, grandparents may need more information about pursuing child custody and other important matters that can affect the well-being of the household.
Many grandparents may feel a bit overwhelmed. Having raised children of their own, they must learn how to raise a new generation in the digital age. Finances, medical care, education and online safety can be tricky matters to navigate.
When Missouri marriages come to an end, a court usually hashes out the details. Who gets the house? How will time with the kids be split? Personal details like these are a few examples of normal things that might be included in a divorce order, but a court cannot tell a couple how to share “custody” of their mutual friends.
Recently, a newly divorced woman was invited to a party set to take place during a trip back to her old town of residence. She wanted to see her friends, but after her divorce, many had remained close with her ex-husband, and she was made aware that he was invited to the same party. Though she described their current relationship as amicable, she was torn because their marriage ended when her former husband cheated on her, and she had moved on to a new relationship with someone else.
While most people are well aware of the number of marriages that end in divorce, they still enter into a marriage with the anticipation that theirs will be the one to last. Sadly, this is often not the case. Many couples are finding ways to achieve their splits while remaining amicable. In Missouri, collaborative settlements are becoming more commonplace as couples are able to amicably negotiate agreements, resolve custody issues and arrive at divorce settlements that are mutually agreed upon.
In some instances, remaining amicable may not be an option, and litigation may be needed. There are significant differences between the different approaches, however. Litigation can take longer as one is at the mercy of the court’s schedule. This also can add to the length of time it may take to finalize a divorce agreement. The added time can also become costly with accumulated attorney’s fees and court fees.
Whether a Missouri couple decides to litigate or mediate an end to their relationship, it is helpful to enter the chosen process armed with effective negotiation skills. There are typically several ways to say the same thing. The phrasing a spouse chooses and the manner in which he or she conveys an idea can mean the difference between an ability to negotiate a fair and satisfactory divorce settlement in a swift and amicable manner or becoming entangled in a lengthy court battle. A spouse who takes time to review practical tips for successful negotiation may place him or herself a step ahead of the game.
While effective speaking skills are no doubt a valuable tool when negotiating a divorce, it is also helpful to be a good listener. Spouses might disagree on numerous issues, such as child custody, property division or alimony and child support. It is just as important to hear and clearly understand what the other party is saying as it is to be able to express one’s own ideas in a coherent and thoughtful manner.
Divorce is never an easy task to contemplate in Oklahoma and it can be complicated all the more when children are involved. Young children in particular may feel the emotional trauma that can come with changes in the family dynamic, but child custody norms have evolved to expand the options that are available. This includes a change in the paradigm concerning fathers and custody.
It is now widely accepted that the best interest of the child includes a strong relationship with both parents. This typically involves a child being able to spend significant time with each parent. One of the societal changes that contributes to shared custody becoming more accepted is that more women are working full time.
For whatever reason, January seems to see an increase in filings for divorce. It may be a result of the new year focus on starting fresh, new beginnings or clean slates. It is seldom an easy journey and one made even more difficult when children are involved. There are steps Oklahoma parents can take to lessen the trauma that children can experience with child custody in a divorce situation.
The post-divorce living situation can be a very big factor in how well children weather the life change. One option that is seeing increased popularity is referred to as nesting. Nesting allows the children to remain in their home in familiar surroundings while the parents take turns staying with the kids. Shared custody goes along with this and allows both parents to remain very actively involved in their children’s lives, which is known to be one of the best outcomes for the kids.
The holidays have passed, the cold of January is settling in and tax season is rapidly approaching. January is also said to be the month when there are more divorce filings than at other times of the year. This can be an issue in particular for older couples who may be contemplating a divorce. As one nears retirement age in Oklahoma, thought must be given as to how best to handle retirement accounts and the tax implications of divorce on those accounts.
IRA accounts may be among the accounts that a divorcing couple need to divide in asset distribution. If both parties are over age 59½ and have not taken any distributions from the accounts the process is straightforward. But if early withdrawals, known as 72(t) distributions, have been made, the situation can get a little more complex.