The Law Office of Kurt H King

November 10, 2011

Divorce and Orders regarding Life Insurance for the benefit of the Children of the Marriage in Missouri

Filed under: Divorce,Family Law,Support — kurthking @ 4:47 pm
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The question comes up about whether the court the non-custodial parent who is ordered to pay child support in a divorce case in Missouri can legally be ordered to maintain life insurance coverage on his/her life to pay out to or for the minor children of the marriage should the non-custodial parent die. 

Right now, and the law may change on this in the future, the answer is that the court can make that order in a judgment dissolving the marriage IF the parties so agree in a settlement agreement which is part of the judgment and the parties ordered to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement.  See Wheeler v. McDonnell Douglas Corporation, 999 S.W.2d 279, 287-88, hns. 9-11 (Mo. Ct. App. E.D. 1999); and, Weiss v. Weiss, 954 S.W.2d 456, 459, hn. 6 (Mo. Ct. App. S.D. 1997).

However, if there is no settlement agreement, then the court generally CANNOT validly order the non-custodial parent to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the children of the marriage.  The rationale is that such an order makes the non-custodial parent pay child support past the date of his/her death which is contrary to Missouri law.

But, note that a court may order a spouse to maintain life insurance with the other spouse as beneficiary to secure that spouse’s obligation to pay a particular sum of maintenance over time or perhaps to satisfy some other marital obligation as ordered by the court.  This type of life insurance order may be used because it is not one which has do with child support.

In sum, the rule now in Missouri (other states may handle this differently) is that the court cannot validly order the non-custodial parent to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the children unless the parties so agree in a written settlement included or perhaps incorporated in the court’s divorce judgment.

It would also be a good idea to provide (and get a receipt in person or by Certified Mail Return Receipt Requested) a copy of the judgment and settlement agreement to the insurance company to put them on notice in case the non-custodial parent tries to change the beneficiary or cancel/non-renew the policy.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 816.781.6000, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

www.kurthking.com

Bankruptcy, Child Support & Custody, Divorce & Modification, Family Law

Personal Injury, Missouri Workers’ Compensation

January 5, 2011

Child Support and College

Filed under: Family Law,Support — kurthking @ 5:31 pm
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Many divorced folks wonder what their child support obligation is for children in college or other post-high school education/training. There are many facets to this question but let me point out some of the main points:

1. Missouri law changed from 22 to 21 as the age up to which support is required (exceptions for non-self supporting children with special needs);
2. Parent paying child support can ask court for permission to pay support directly to the child so attending;
3. Child generally has to provide enrollment and grade information and take sufficient number of hours (be full-time, basically) or else child support obligation may be terminated;
4. Some judges expect child to pay for some of college/post H.S. education expense by student loan, work, other;
5. Some judges look at parent incomes and other factors and may not require student to pay for part of such costs;
6. In Missouri, such college/post-high school education costs are generally capped at what tuition, books, meals, and housing would cost on a plan for a regular year at the University of Missouri–not what a more expensive private or Ivy League school costs;
7. I believe most judges consider if the child commutes from home to the school, spends the summers and school breaks at home, etc., to determine how much support should continue to be paid to the home parent of the child. For example, if the child is home 4 months a year and in school dorm the other 8, then judge may consider having the total of 4 months of support, divided by 12 so that the paying parent pays a part each month of the year, continue on being paid to the home parent, so to speak.

These are some basic factors and there are usually more to be considered. What is fair for one situation may not be for another, so check it out–especially given the amount of money involved.

Kurt H. King
Law Office of Kurt H. King
816.781.6000
20 E. Franklin
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068
http://www.kurthking.com

Bankruptcy, Child Custody and Support, Divorce and Modification, Family Law
Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation

February 1, 2010

Setting Aside Paternity In Missouri

Filed under: Custody,Family Law,Paternity,Support — kurthking @ 4:26 pm
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Couple things fathers may need to know about paternity cases in Missouri. A 2009 Missouri law, 210.854, lets fathers get a court order of DNA paternity testing even after a court says that a particular guy is the father of the child involved. Deadline to file is December 31, 2011, but after that date you have to file the petition to set aside the paternity judgment within 2 years of the date that established paternity. If you wait too long, you may be out of luck. Second thing to know is that the local Clay County, Missouri, court clerk requires that you know the child’s SSN to file the case. Some mother’s don’t want to tell a guy that he is the father and do not trust him with the child’s SSN.

This law is a good thing for a father who failed to request a paternity test.  That happens sometimes when a father does not understand the Missouri court rules, did not see the notice of his right to request a paternity test, or maybe simply was sure he was the father but now is not.

Kurt H. King
Law Office of Kurt H. King
816.781.6000
20 E. Franklin
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068
http://www.kurthking.com

Bankruptcy, Child Custody and Support, Divorce and Modification, Family Law
Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation

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