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Union Missouri Legal Blog

Family law: Attorneys can fight for who gets the dog

Pets are an important part of a family unit. Many families and couples view their pets as another member of their family. When a couple decides to divorce, custody and the care of a pet may be a contentious argument. In Missouri, a pet is viewed as the property of the couple, but it is not property that can be divided or sold to split the proceeds like a house or a car.

Some states have begun to recognize pets as more than property and are adjusting their laws accordingly. Missouri is not yet one of those states, making negotiations of who gets the pet a complicated argument. Some couples have reported that pets are often used as leverage by one spouse to inflict pain or as a negotiating tactic in divorce proceedings. An attorney reports that sometimes pet ownership is determined by who originally obtained the pet and placed their name on the paperwork.

Personal injury: Lawsuit settled with duck boat company

Duck boats are known for being used in World War II and have the ability to travel on land and water. Duck boats are currently being used around the country as a form of entertainment for tourists, including tours on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. Recently, a personal injury lawsuit was settled between the family of two victims and the touring company on the lake, following a boat sinking during a tour on Table Rock Lake.

On the day of the victims' death, the National Weather service issued a severe storm warning 20 minutes prior to the boat's entry into the lake. Despite the warning, the boat entered the lake, and the water became turbulent, resulting in the boat sinking. As a result, seven individuals were injured, and 17 people died.

Victims suffer serious personal injury in semi crash

According to a report, family members of four different victims of a recent fatal multi-vehicle crash Missouri were notified of their loved one's deaths. It is certainly upsetting to lose a loved one, and especially difficult just before the holidays. When complicated crashes such as this one occur, victims and family members of deceased victims often find the assistance of a personal injury attorney helpful.

Reportedly, a large car hauler caught fire on the interstate. The fire and the attempt to put it out stopped traffic. The four vehicles occupied by the victims were among the vehicles stalled behind the fire. At some point, a semi approached the stopped traffic, but it failed to stop and crashed into the stalled vehicles. 

Family law: Court ruling sets new precedent

Everything between a couple during a marriage is eligible for spouses to negotiate during the division of assets. One of the biggest assets that most couples share is retirement funds, which may be a contentious part of negotiations. Until a recent court ruling was made, financial advisors may have advised clients that retirement funds divided after a divorce were protected in the event of filing for bankruptcy. Missouri family law attorneys may have new advice for clients, following a new court ruling.

The court ruling is the result of one man attempting to protect his retirement funds from creditors. The man obtained half of his wife's 401(k) and all of her IRA in the property division. Following the divorce, the man apparently filed for bankruptcy and expected his retirement funds to be protected from creditors, as has been the case for many in the past.

5 common criminal defense strategies

Nothing in life is as simple as it first may seem. We see that play out in the courtroom on a regular basis as criminal defense attorneys. Our forefathers, who created the criminal justice system that we have today, were insightful enough to build a judicial system based on the foundation that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

To protect those charged with a crime, both sides of a criminal case have a right to fair legal representation. That is where criminal defense lawyers come in. While the prosecution works to prove guilt, the defense works to prove innocence, or at least a defense that reduces culpability.

2 men facing serious charges, criminal defense plan uncertain

Being charged with a violent crime is a very serious matter, as a conviction can change the course of one's life. Two men are currently facing such charges after police say they committed several crimes in recent days, including but not limited to kidnapping. As Missouri authorities continue to build their case against these men, both have a need for a skilled criminal defense in the matter. 

According to police, the 31-year-old and 29-year-old men approached several women with whom they had a dispute over missing money. It appears at least two of the women visited the men in a motel room over the weekend. There is no report of trouble during that visit, but the following morning one of the men called one of the women and accused her of stealing cash from him. 

Family law: Is the divorce rate in Missouri decreasing?

There has been a surprising decrease in the divorce rate over the last 10 years. Family law attorneys in Missouri and across the country are reporting a decline in divorce, but many also report an increase in prenuptial agreements. Different studies have led experts to conclude that the decline may be related to millennials' approach to marriage, higher rates of women with college degrees and marriages at later ages.

A recent study reports that the divorce rate has lowered as much as 18 percent over the last 10 years. Many attribute the decline to the way that millennials approach marriage and when they decide to become married. Statistics indicate that millennials are waiting until they are older to get married, are maybe more selective about who they marry and often wait until they are financially stable.

Personal injury: Head-on crash results in injuries for driver

All motor-vehicle accidents are unfortunate, but head-on collisions are particularly dangerous for its occupants. When two vehicles collide head-on, there is typically significant damage to both vehicles. In addition, most head-on collisions result in serious personal injury and/or death for some or all of the occupants in the vehicles. Sadly, a fatal collision occurred recently in Missouri, resulting in the death of one man and injuries to another driver. 

The accident occurred in the early evening hours. For unknown reasons, one driver crossed the median into the opposite lane of traffic. The driver was a 52-year-old man, and he suffered serious injuries. After transport to a hospital, the man died. There are no details reported at this time as to why authorities suspect the man drove into the other lane of traffic. 

How can family law attorneys help parents prepare for college?

Anyone who has processed a divorce can attest to the pain and loneliness often suffered. It can be difficult to consider all necessary logistics when in the midst of hurt and pain. Family law attorneys in Missouri understand the sensitive nature of a divorce, especially when children are involved. Because the end of a marriage can affect all areas of life, including a child's future college education, it is important to seek legal and professional advice.

Reportedly, many college students of divorced parents pay for the majority of their higher education on their own whether through cash, scholarships or school loans. Many students do not have the help of their parents due to the financial constraints that some divorced parents will feel following separation. Financial advisors explain that, with careful planning and research, financial aid is often available to students of divorced parents.

Did changes in Missouri law make you eligible for expungement?

You made a mistake years ago. You committed a crime that makes it extremely difficult to purchase a home, apply for a well-paying job and therefore, move past the life-changing negative actions you took when you were young.

As you show remorse and rebuild your life after your conviction, you hold the right to receive all possible opportunities for the United States to view you as a law-abiding citizen. In Missouri, after new regulations took effect in March of 2018, various new criminal offenses joined the list of crimes eligible for expungement.

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