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Missoula Montana Family Law Blog

Custody issues related to your career

Child custody can be a tough aspect of family law for many reasons. For starters, uncertainty involving the custody of a child can lead to serious emotional hurdles, such as depression, anxiety and anger. These negative emotions can carry over into other facets of your life, such as your job. For example, your performance at work may suffer because of the emotions you are going through, and there are other ways in which child custody could affect your career. It is pivotal to handle custody issues properly and do all you can to protect your child’s future while minimizing any repercussions that a custody dispute may have on your life.

Other issues that may arise with respect to custody and your career involve relocation and the way in which your work schedule could affect your custody arrangement. Some parents have to move for work, which can become especially tricky after a divorce when they have to share custody with their ex. Others may work a very demanding schedule, or they may work odd and unusual hours, which can make it difficult to create an effective custody agreement.

Protecting your reputation during divorce

The end of a marriage can be a difficult process for various reasons, such as a parent’s unwillingness to pay child support or disagreement regarding how custody should be split up. Sometimes, a person’s reputation may be at stake, both during and after the divorce process. For example, someone may worry that an unfavorable outcome in court, such as losing a custody dispute, could reflect poorly on their reputation. Or, someone may find that the very decision to file for divorce has brought judgment from their friends, family members and even the community, in some cases. Moreover, some people face these problems because of personal attacks coming from their former partner.

It is essential to protect your reputation and there are a number of ways in which you may be able to accomplish this. For example, you should be careful about what you say online and to friends and family members during this time. Sharing certain types of information could reflect poorly on you and may even adversely affect your case (such as lifestyle choices that may impact a custody decision).

Can your child support obligation be modified?

When you and your spouse choose to get a divorce in Missoula, you may naturally expect to have to pay child support. Like most parents, you probably have no issue with supporting your children financially, yet at the same time, you do not want your child support obligation to become a prohibitive expense. That might happen if your financial circumstances take a turn for the worse after your children support agreement has gone into effect. What should you do, then, if this happens? 

You do not want to miss any payments. Having child support arrears could put you in jeopardy of having your wages garnished or even being jailed. On top of that, your ex-spouse could use the fact that you have missed child support payments against you in an attempt to limit your custody. Rather than missing a payment, your best course of action is to inform of the court of your situation and seek a modification of your existing order. 

Poverty, other financial issues and divorce

Many people concentrate on emotional issues surrounding divorce, such as depression and other negative feelings, while some may have serious concerns related to their children (how custody will be awarded, the ways in which their kids will be impacted by the divorce process, and so on). There are many other divorce issues to explore, however, such as various financial considerations. For some parents, poverty is a serious challenge with respect to divorce, whether financial challenges led to the breakdown of a marriage or a parent is worried about their financial future afterward. There may be many other financial considerations to go over before and after a divorce as well.

If you are currently facing financial hardships, it is important to approach your divorce from the right angle. There could be different strategies to make your divorce less costly, and you may be able to reduce the financial impact of your divorce by planning ahead carefully. Even if you are not experiencing financial difficulties and do not anticipate these problems to arise in the future, the end of your marriage could affect your finances in many ways. For example, you may need to pay alimony or child support, or you could struggle with the division of marital property.

A fresh start after ending your marriage

Marriages fall apart for countless reasons, and every couple faces unique circumstances. For example, some do not have kids together, while others struggle with custody disputes or financial concerns as a result of property division, child support, alimony or another factor. Some people tend to dwell on some of the negative aspects of the divorce process, but there are a number of positive ways in which life can change as well. For example, some people are able to find a fresh start after splitting up with their spouse.

Sometimes, people feel trapped in a marriage. A marriage may cause someone to feel emotionally trapped, or they may feel as if they are unable to pursue career opportunities or live life according to their wishes. For example, someone might need to relocate for a better position, but their spouse may have been opposed to the idea. Or, they may have wanted to pursue certain hobbies and activities that their spouse was not supportive of. Sometimes, married couples are not compatible, which can cause each person to feel a sense of despair and result in other challenges such as depression, anxiety, etc.

Understanding settlement conferences

In the past, if you and your spouse decided to get divorced in Montana, you had few options available to you besides going to court. However, due in part to the high costs involved in litigation, both in terms of time and money, as well as the desirability of maintaining cordial relations between spouses, alternative dispute resolution options are increasingly available to help you reach a divorce agreement. We at Cunningham Law Office understand that you may feel confused or overwhelmed by the choices available to you. In this article, we explain a term with which you may not be familiar: settlement conference.

According to the American Bar Association, a settlement conference involves a neutral third party who assists you and your spouse to explore settlement options in lieu of going to court for a hearing. A settlement conference is similar to mediation in some ways. Both are forms of alternative dispute resolution meant to reach an agreement outside of court and moderated by a third party with no personal interest in the case. However, a settlement conference is different from mediation in some significant ways. 

When only one parent wants to modify the parenting plan

It is common for divorced parents in Montana to find that changing circumstances make their current parenting plan impossible to adhere to. However, the difficulties that arise for one parent may not be acknowledged by the other. Even when one parent does not agree to a change, the other can request that the court approve a modification to the original parenting plan. 

According to the Montana Judicial Branch, there are a number of forms for a parent to complete and file to request the modification. These include the following information:

  • The formal request for the changes
  • The reason for the request
  • The proposed schedule

How is personal property divided in a divorce?

You may have a pretty good idea of how you and your spouse will divide your assets fairly in your Montana divorce. But what about the antique furniture and the art collection? To determine what is fair, you will need to find out what they are worth, and that means you will need to hire a professional appraiser.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there are a few things you need to do before you hire an appraiser

How can I file a complaint about the handling of my case?

Dealing with child support issues in Montana usually means trying to get support set up and ensuring you receive or pay the right amount. However, problems may also arise with the child support office. Perhaps they have mischarged you or withheld money. They may have made a decision you do not like or mishandled your case, which led to problems for you. Whatever the case, The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services explains you have the right to file a complaint if you feel wronged.

Before you take formal steps to file a complaint, there are a couple of things to do. You should always talk with the person you feel wronged you first. It may have been an honest mistake or an oversight. If nothing else, the person can explain why they made a decision or took a specific action. In many cases, this is all you need to clear things up.

How a settlement conference may help you avoid family law court

People who are planning to take their family law case before a Montana court may worry that the judge will make a decision without fully understanding the facts. You may wonder if there is an alternative to litigation. At Cunningham Law Office, we often help clients come to a peaceful resolution through settlement conferences.

Perhaps you have heard of mediation, in which a neutral third person meets with spouses and helps them to come to an agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to meet for a discussion without it leading to a dispute, you may have already decided that mediation will not help. While a settlement conference has the same goal, it has some distinct differences from mediation.

Cunningham Law Office is a family law-focused firm in Missoula, Montana. We serve Missoula, Ravalli County, and the surrounding area.