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Kansas City Legal Blog

Reasons for terminating parental rights

Kansas parents may lose parental rights in certain circumstances. They may also voluntarily give them up. Involuntary termination of parental rights may happen if the parent is abusive, cannot care for the child because of disability, has an alcohol or drug problem that interferes with the ability to care for the child, has been incarcerated, or if another child in the parent's care has died.

After the termination of parental rights, the child may not have a legal parent or guardian. If this is the case, the child might go into foster care. The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act requires a state to file a petition before parental rights can be terminated and the child placed in foster care, but there are a few situations in which this is not necessary. If a parent has killed or committed a serious felony assault on another of his or her children, if the child is an infant who has been abandoned or if the child has spent 15 of the previous 22 months in foster care, the petition requirement can be waived.

Meeting the financial challenges of divorce

When Kansas couples end their marriage and there is a significant income disparity between the two, this can mean the person with the lower income needs to make a financial plan for the future. More often, the lower-earning party is a woman because women's incomes still lag behind men at around 82 cents to the dollar. There are a number of reasons for this, but one is that women tend to be more likely to take over care-giving duties for children or older relatives. This means that they may have to work fewer hours. In turn, they have fewer opportunities for career advancement and are less able to save money.

Another financial disadvantage of not being the breadwinner is that the lower earner may not be as familiar with household finances. This may leave that person feeling unprepared financially, but it is possible to make a plan with the assistance of a financial professional if necessary. This should take assets, expenses, income and goals into account.

Costly divorce errors with premature property division

Though negotiations over property division in Kansas and around the country are often stressful, the nuts and bolts of dividing some assets are actually quite simple. One example of this is the joint bank account. Even though either spouse can close a joint account at any time, it is important to be prudent about such decisions prior to a divorce.

Separating the assets in an account before closing it can prevent misunderstandings by either partner or negative consequences in divorce court. The courts consider the totality of marital possessions before settling disputes over spousal support or property division. Any negotiations between the couple seeking a divorce are also best done with full disclosure.

What type of custody arrangement will best suit your children?

Like other Kansas residents, you may still be in shock that your spouse told you that he or she wants a divorce. You may be confused, hurt and angry. In those first days, and perhaps weeks, after hearing this news, you may want to lash out, which is perfectly normal.

You may think that one way to get back at him or her would be to restrict the amount of time that your soon-to-be former spouse gets to spend with the children. The problem is that you are not only punishing the other parent but your children as well. Under normal circumstances, most people would admit that the children love the other parent, and he or she is a good parent. Approaching custody from the perspective of the children's needs often results in happier and better-adjusted kids in the future.

Legal counsel is helpful when spousal support issues arise

When you and your spouse file for divorce, there will be many issues that the two of you need to discuss and, ultimately, settle. One of these could be spousal support (often called alimony), though it will depend on your specific circumstances. Not every divorce has spousal support involved. It will be up to a judge to determine if spousal support should be involved in your divorce.

The courts will look at a wide variety of factors when they determine if spousal support is justified in your case or not. They will look at the length of the marriage; the relative health of the spouses involved; the incomes and financial stability of the two spouses; the property owned by the two spouses; the age of the spouses; and many other important life factors.

Obtaining guidance on preparing for the financial side of divorce

The end of a marriage can be a stressful and challenging period for everyone involved. However, in some cases there may come a point in a relationship where the only way to move forward in life is by moving on. Perhaps you and your spouse have decided to divorce, and while you might be looking forward to opening a new chapter in your life, you might have some concerns about what comes next.

Along with any emotional grief you may be experiencing, you are likely having to consider the potential monetary ramifications of transitioning from a two-person income to life on your own. Since the outcome of your divorce will likely have a significant impact on your financial future, you might want to consider taking certain measures to prepare for the road ahead.

How will parental consent affect your step-parent adoption?

Commonly, many individuals marry more than once in their lifetime. As a result, they may have children from previous relationships who gain a step-parent due to remarrying. In most cases, these blended families get along well and grow to love one another as a biological family would. This love often leads to a step-parent and step-child growing close and forming a strong familial bond.

When such a bond forms, you as a step-parent may wish to formally adopt the child as your own. Bringing up such a topic can sometimes bring about mixed emotions, but commonly, family members feel overjoyed at the prospect of legal adoption for step-parents and step-children. However, you could run into issues when it comes to parental consent.

Am I eligible for spousal support after my divorce?

Divorce comes with a myriad financial concerns. If you are the lesser earning spouse, you may be wondering how you will support yourself after the divorce is final. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible for spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance.

Developing a parenting plan suited to your unique needs

As a Kansas parent, you are concerned about the impact that your divorce will have on your children. The end of a marriage will certainly affect the youngest members of the family, but it is possible to smooth this transition and develop a parenting plan that benefits both the parents and the children.

Traditionally, the mother had primary custody with the father retaining visitation rights every other weekend. This type of arrangement is not always the best for the kids, as children benefit when they have regular access to both parents. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid an unbalanced child custody agreement and seek a parenting plan that is suited to your unique needs and those of your kids.

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