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Overland Park Family Law Blog

Talking to kids about child custody and divorce

Children typically thrive in settings that are structured and centered on healthy routines. However, many Kansas families experience upsets from time to time, especially when parents decide to divorce. Such situations often include contentious child custody issues, which can cause children high levels of stress.  

The way a parent approaches such topics of discussion with his or her kids impacts the children's ability (or lack thereof) to cope. A parent must keep each child's age and level of maturity in mind before discussing serious issues, such as which parent the child will live with or why both parents are no longer going to live under one roof. It is not uncommon for children to feel angry, sad, afraid or all of the above upon learning that parents are getting divorced.  

Child custody situation in another state headed for jury trial

Many Kansas parents are currently facing problems with co-parents regarding visitation, support or custody issues. Child custody situations are often complex, and various types of extenuating circumstances can complicate matters even further. For instance, if one parent accuses the other of abuse, the court may need to investigate the situation before it can hand down a ruling.

A woman in another state claims that she was the victim of false allegations of abuse. She says the father of her children convinced a sheriff's deputy to arrest her and accuse her of child abuse. She was taken into police custody after an incident that involved one of her children being taken to a hospital emergency room. Hospital records state that the child in question did not show any external signs of injury; however, the deputy who obtained an arrest warrant testified that records showed a minor head wound.

Kansas spouses may choose collaborative law re child custody

Getting divorced is typically not a low-stress process. Especially if a Kansas couple has children, there are often emotional challenges as well as financial situations, property matters and other issues that must be resolved before a settlement can be achieved. Those who wish to avoid child custody litigation often opt for a collaborative law divorce.  

This is an alternative form of dispute resolution. Spouses may negotiate their own settlement or choose mediation, which involves a neutral third party who agrees to facilitate discussions. Either way, a main difference between a collaborated divorce and litigation is that the spouses themselves are making final decisions, then submitting their plans to the court for approval as opposed to having a judge determine what the settlement will be.  

Property division: Is your spouse stashing cash?

In a high asset divorce, it can be challenging to resolve certain complex issues. Property division in Kansas operates under equitable division laws like most other states. The court's discretion will not be able to help devise a fair and agreeable division, however, if one of the spouses involved is hiding assets.  

If one spouse suspects the other of trying to keep certain assets from being subject to division by stashing cash and engaging in other intentional activities to gain the upper hand in proceedings, the disadvantaged spouse will have to show evidence in court to substantiate the allegations. Every divorce situation is unique although there are several common asset-hiding schemes that spouses tend to use. Knowing where to seek support to further investigate a suspicion can help a concerned spouse rectify a problem situation. 

Man involved in child custody case may face arrest

Kansas parents who disagree regarding where their children should reside, either in divorce or as never-before married parents, may relate to a current situation as it unfolds in another state. The mother and father of a 4-year-old boy are engaged in a highly acrimonious child custody battle. The situation has escalated to the point that a judge has repeatedly ordered the father to return his son to the mother. 

The judge also says that, as soon as the man arrives at the court-ordered location with his son, he will then be arrested for contempt of court. Although the man was previously granted custody of his child, he was ordered to return from another state to which he and the boy had traveled, and he apparently did not comply. The man gained custody of his son after the boy's mother admitted that she had used methamphetamine drugs.   

Those contemplating high asset divorce in Kansas should know this

Kansas residents who file tax returns will want to be aware of upcoming changes in federal tax regulations. This applies most specifically to anyone contemplating filing for a high asset divorce. The changes are set to take place at the stroke of midnight as the first day of 2019 begins.  

Current tax laws allow those paying alimony to claim their payments as deductions on their federal tax returns. Anyone filing for divorce or seeking modification of an existing court order pertaining to divorce in 2018 can still get a tax break for paying alimony. The impending changes have prompted some to suggest that anyone planning to divorce should do so during this year, especially if that person thinks he or she will be ordered to pay alimony.  

Step-parents and summer: Avoid child custody problems

Many children in Kansas are among others in the nation who no longer live with both parents. Children of divorce face many challenges as they adapt to new lifestyles, especially during summer break. If a non-custodial parent remarries, it adds a whole new dynamic to the situation, one that can lead to serious child custody problems if the adults involved let their emotions or tempers get out of hand.  

There are several things a non-custodial parent can do to avoid problems when children come to visit during the summer. Discussing the issue ahead of time may help prevent disputes down the line. It is critical that step-parents understand that the two key figures in children's lives are their own parents, and decisions regarding custody, visitation and support come through parental negotiation and court approval (or intervention if parents can't resolve their differences). In short, step-parents may not interfere with court orders.  

Reality TV stars battling over property division

Kansas residents who are fans of the reality TV show, "Married to Medicine" are no doubt aware that one of the show's star couples, Quad and Dr. Greg Lunceford, were having some serious marital problems last season. The latter was suspected of infidelity, which may have been a key factor that prompted the former to file for divorce. Not only has Lunceford contested his wife's petition, he has filed a contempt motion that claims she has violated a standing court order in divorce cases regarding property division.  

Lunceford has asked the court to order his wife to return various items, including several television sets, a dining room suite and bedroom furniture, which he claims she removed from their home without his permission. His recent filing requests that the court hand down a contempt ruling against her. Not uncommon in contested divorce situations, Lunceford has also sought reimbursement for any and all costs related his legal filing. 

Child custody battle ends in tragedy

Any Kansas parent currently facing problems relating to divorce, custody or support issues should know that there are many support networks in place to assist them in all capacities, especially concerning litigation. Some parents misguidedly believe they must go it alone and wind up feeling overwhelmed and helpless when serious child custody problems arise. A tragedy that recently occurred in another state emphasizes the point.  

The situation involved a young mother and her 7-year-old son. The mother happens to have formerly worked as a Playboy model. Sadly, the woman was also engaged in a contentious custody battle with her son's biological father. The court recently denied her request to take her child to Europe over the summer. That situation led to tragedy when the mother and her son plummeted 23 floors from a hotel suite to their deaths; authorities believe the situation is suicide-related.  

Could mediation be key to successful property division agreement?

If a Kansas resident is currently preparing for divorce, he or she may be hoping to find the best way to handle everything without going to court. When spouses are still on good terms and can discuss important issues in amicable fashions, they may be able to achieve a fair settlement through divorce mediation. In fact, this alternative dispute resolution process may be the key to successful property division.  

Like most states, Kansas operates under equitable property division laws in divorce. This means the court determines the ultimate division of all marital property, which is to be divided fairly (though not necessarily equally). Marital property typically includes any asset acquired during marriage, with some notable exceptions -- such as an inheritance or gift to one party.  

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