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Kansas City Legal Blog

Child support enforcement system sees improvements

During a divorce in Kansas, child support and other financial issues can be some of the most contentious and difficult to resolve. Nevertheless, after the divorce is final, and a child support order is issued, it is mandatory that parents pay the support required. When a someone fails to pay court-ordered child support, the consequences for his or her children's well-being can be serious. Due to the importance of mandatory child support, the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) is working to improve the mechanisms used to enforce and implement child support orders.

During fiscal year 2016, the federal agency was involved in collecting around $33 billion in child support payments, and of those, the most popular means for collection was payroll withholding. In fact, 75 percent of those funds were collected through an automatic payroll deduction. While the system is highly successful, the agency is working with private payroll agencies, employers and state child support systems in order to improve its effectiveness.

Your actions could have significant impact on child custody

As a parent, you want to do right by your children. When you first got married, you may have thought that you and your spouse would be the perfect team for raising children. However, as the years went on, you may have come to realize that the two of you do not make a strong team when it comes to many areas of marriage. Now that you are heading for divorce, you may wonder what will happen when it comes time to make child custody decisions.

Child custody issues can be one of the most difficult parts of divorce. If you and the other parent can get along amicably in terms of coming to decisions, you may have the ability to reach agreeable child custody terms easily. If your relationship degraded to a point that you cannot work well together, you may face more challenges when it comes to custody. If you believe the latter case to fit yours, you may want to make efforts to boost your chances of getting the outcomes best for your family.

Splitting 401(k) plans correctly

One of the many issues that Kansas couples may face during divorce involves dividing retirement assets. During this process, they should be very careful as different retirement accounts have their own sets of regulations. Dividing the funds in the wrong way may result in very high penalties and taxes as well as unintended allocations to an ex-spouse.

A qualified domestic relations order is required to divide workplace retirement plans, including traditional pensions and 401(k) plans. Using the legal order is the only way a spouse may legally obtain their share of their ex's workplace retirement plan.

I want to see my grandkids; what rights do I have?

It happens all too often. People have kids, and those kids grow up to have children of their own and turn to their parents for help. Then, for personal reasons, they stop letting their parents see their grandkids. This not usually an expectation, but it happens. Now, parents do have the right to say who their children can see and when, but in the state of Kansas, grandparents have rights, too.

So, what can grandparents who want to see their grandchildren do? What rights do the state say that they have? Is going to court necessary to resolve this type of situation?

Fired PBS host sues former employer for breach of contract

Viewers of Public Broadcasting Service stations in Kansas will have more to hear from the former PBS host Tavis Smiley. PBS leadership dismissed him from employment late in 2017 after his staff members accused him of sexual misconduct. Smiley has announced his intention to file a lawsuit against his former employer because he said that PBS violated the terms of his contract by firing him.

Smiley expressed reluctance about suing PBS because he had built a career in public media. He said that the lawsuit was the only way to bring the truth out. He acknowledged that he had multiple relationships with staff members over the years but denied sexually harassing anyone. In an interview, he said that his long work hours accounted for his tendency to date people from the workplace.

Financial issues can linger after divorce

For many Kansas divorcees, financial obstacles can be some of the most stressful challenges at the end of a marriage. Beyond the emotional and practical issues that accompany a marital split, the ongoing effects of financial decisions made during divorce can have long-term consequences. Even after a settlement has been reached, there are a number of financial tasks and concerns that must be addressed in order to successfully move forward.

In general, the divorce settlement will lay out a plan for the most critical financial actions that must be taken after divorce. However, effectuating the agreement will still require further work. For example, retirement funds can be a major asset handled in the divorce. It may be necessary to secure a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to properly divide the funds. In other cases, former spouses might need to work together with a real estate agent to sell the marital home and split the proceeds.

How joint custody may benefit children

When parents in Kansas get a divorce, they will need to make child custody arrangements. It is important that they understand the research behind child custody instead of relying on ideas that are unsupported by studies. For example, research shows that as long as there are not serious issues such as neglect or abuse, children benefit from joint custody situations.

Parents might worry that these situations will feel disruptive for their children and that the children would rather have one stable home than move between their households. However, in interviews, children reveal that they prefer moving back and forth to having their time with one parent reduced. Another misconception is that infants form strong bonds with mothers in particular and cannot be separated from them. While infants bond differently with each parent, research shows that it is not harmful for infants and toddlers to spend nights with each parent in a shared custody situation.

Getting custody without harming the children

Divorce is often hard on children. Parents who are going through a divorce in Kansas likely want to do whatever they can to make the divorcing process easier on their children. This can be a challenge, especially when parents are battling over who will get the custody of their kids. The goal is to prove that one deserves custody without dragging their spouse through the mud and without getting the children stuck in the middle.

If the issue of custody is not handled well, children could be left with emotional damage that may be with them for the rest of their lives. This means that although parents may have built-up frustration against their ex-spouse, they should not use their children as a way to try to hurt their ex-partner.

Officer mistakes could play significant role in your DUI defense

You may take pride in yourself for doing your best to make the best decisions possible for certain situations. Of course, everyone makes mistakes at some point, and you may have found yourself in a serious predicament due to a choice you made. If that scenario involved consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, you may face criminal charges.

You may have chosen to drive because, even though you had a couple of drinks, you did not feel impaired. However, an officer may have pulled you over nonetheless and had you conduct field sobriety tests and breath tests. The officer may have considered you intoxicated at the time of the arrest, especially if your blood alcohol concentration level reached or exceeded .08 percent. Now you may need information on criminal defense options.

The different types of child custody arrangements

Kansas parents who are getting a divorce should understand what is involved in custody. Both legal and physical custody can be sole or joint. Parents who have legal custody have the right to decide about a child's education, religion, health care, and other important issues. Physical custody deals with the child's living situation.

Many parents may opt for an alternating joint physical custody that involves the child staying with one of them for a few days or a week and then staying with the other. Bird's nest custody allows the children to stay in their home while the parents alternate living there, but it can be expensive and requires a lot of cooperation.

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