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Missoula Montana Family Law Blog

Managing divorce has unique challenges during retirement

There is no doubt that couples who decide to divorce in Montana will be faced with difficult challenges as they embark on the process to rebuild their lives as independent individuals. Depending on how long a couple has been married, the types of assets they share and the reason their relationship is ending, their path to moving on could vary significantly. For couples who are nearing retirement or who have already retired, divorce can wreak havoc on their financial future and should be carefully navigated to prevent costly mistakes. 

When couples have shared a significant period of their life together and are now facing separation, it will take time to unravel everything they have shared and designate who will keep what. If a couple has had children together who are now in adulthood, they will benefit from communicating regularly with their children and maintaining those relationships. They should also make active efforts to focus on how their future will be better and on what can be done currently to find joy and realize the benefits of the changes that are happening in their life. 

Is college tuition part of child support?

Montana child support payments are obligations you might have to your co-parent in order to share the economic burden of raising your children. The court might order these payments based on a variety of considerations, but college tuition is not likely to be one of them.

The reason for this is that your obligation to pay child support has an age limit. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, your payments in Montana should end when your child turns 18 or graduates high school — 19 at the latest. There are some exceptions to this rule, so please continue reading for more information.

Why is paternity important to fathers?

Paternity is important in Montana because it gives both father and child legal rights. Children have a right to be supported by their legal parents, and fathers have certain rights, such as being served notice of various family law procedures.

You may already be the presumed father of your child. That means that the law assumes you are the father, even if you are not married to the mother. If this is not the case, you may be able to establish paternity by other means.

Child custody dispute ends in shooting

The ultimate hope is that those who are going through a divorce in Missoula can keep things civil between each other throughout the process. Doing so may typically works out to benefit of all of those involved, as it allows proceedings to be completed quickly and keeps the resource expenditures required to complete the case at a minimum. Yet divorces often involve a great deal of emotion, and in some cases, expecting those involved to contain that emotion might prove to be too much to ask. At that point, the goal then becomes to limit the impact that it may have on the proceedings. 

Yet the matters related to a divorce case are not always limited to the courtroom. That fact became tragically apparent in a child custody dispute that spilled into the streets in Texas. A man arrived to pick up his daughter from her mother'ss house when an argument between the two (and another man) ensued. The child's grandfather then retrieved a shotgun and followed the father to his van before shooting into the vehicle while both the father and the girl were inside. The father began to pull away, but then stopped and exited the vehicle, and returned to the house. The grandfather then shot him in the chest in the front yard. He later died from his wounds.  

The process of filing for child support and having it enforced

When the process of divorce is still relatively new for couples in Montana, one of the concerns that may cross their mind is how they will continue to support the needs and comforts of their children without the support of a spouse. This change in the dynamic of their family will undoubtedly have an impact on parenting and raising their children, but resources like child support have been created to hopefully provide at least a little relief. 

Child support takes into consideration the daily needs of a child including shelter, food, water, education and childcare if the parent they live with has to maintain a job. Using details gathered from the personal circumstances of a couple's divorce and logistics, courts will determine an amount to be paid, generally by one spouse to the other. Traditionally, men were required to pay child support as they were the primary breadwinners, but with changes in how many women are working and maintaining substantial jobs, there are now many women that are also paying child support. 

Avoid behaviors that could cause your divorce to affect your job

Getting divorced from your spouse in Montana is probably never something you anticipated happening when you first met and fell in love. Acknowledging that the most appropriate solution for solving your marital conflict is to go your separate ways may be difficult to accept at first. At Cunningham Law Office, we understand the complexities of ending a marriage relationship and are committed to helping people work through that process. 

While divorce has a sneaky way of affecting many parts of your life, one area that it could damage is your career. For one, you may need to take some time away from your job for various negotiations and court dates to finalize your separation. You may also experience mental distraction as you struggle to maintain your focus on your job responsibilities when you have difficult circumstances to face in your personal life. 

Can you tell when a divorce is going to happen?

While every marriage has its moments where contentment, happiness and love seem to be fleeting, it can be incredibly discouraging if you feel that disagreements are more common than any positive interaction. Identifying the warning signs that your marriage to your spouse in Montana is not in a healthy place is important in helping you decide if pursuing your relationship is worth your while. 

Perhaps the most imperative part of maintaining any relationship is being able to feel comfortable communicating openly with the person you are building a relationship with. Effective communication often requires you and the other party to listen, negotiate, practice flexibility and at times, settle for an arrangement that may not be exactly what you had wanted. With a willingness to compromise from both you and your partner, you have the ability to create a strong relationship that is built on trust and respect. 

Rescuing retirement savings from the grasp of divorce

When people get divorced in Montana, their decision to separate from their spouse can affect their life in many different ways, some more significantly than others. One area that seems to feel extra strain is retirement savings. For many people, panic sets in when they recognize that the retirement plans they have made for themselves are tied up in divorce proceedings. 

As soon as people begin the process of getting divorced, they would benefit from starting to look into a retirement plan of their own. Drawing upon the expertise and guidance of professionals such as a financial advisor, people may be able to begin curating their own retirement savings plan that will still allow them to have considerable resources as they age. Another consideration they may look into is negotiating a settlement with their former spouse for a portion of the shared retirement savings plan. People who make an effort to be flexible may be able to work with their ex and the courts to secure at least a portion of the retirement savings which they may be able to effectively roll over into their own account. 

Custody decisions in Montana

Parents who are going through a divorce in Montana must do their best to decide how to divide child custody in a fair and equitable manner. This includes focusing on what is best for the child and making sure each parent has a role in parenting.

According to the Montana Judicial Branch, rather than use the term custody, the courts prefer to use parenting time to describe the agreement between the two parents. This term better emphasizes the fact that parents should make decisions based on what is best for the child as opposed to what is best for mom and dad. Ideally, both parents should come to an agreement, but if they are unable to, a judge will make the decision. 

Job-related challenges and divorce

There are many different factors that can make it more difficult for some people to maneuver the divorce process. For some couples in the state of Montana, job-related challenges can bring an additional amount of stress into their daily lives, and this can be counterproductive for those who are trying to secure favorable outcomes with respect to numerous family law issues (such as a custody dispute, alimony, etc.). It is important to carefully review your divorce case and any of the legal topics that you may have to address as you work toward the end of your marriage.

If you are facing challenges in your professional life, these issues could complicate your divorce case in different ways. For example, if your job has been very demanding (such as working an excessive amount of overtime), you could feel drained of energy and stressed out, which may get in the way of preparing for your divorce. Or, you could be going through financial difficulties due to a demotion or even the loss of your job, which may raise questions about spousal support and child support.

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