Friday, January 14, 2022

5 Myths and Misunderstandings Regarding Divorce in Missouri

When two people get married they are thinking about living “happily ever after.” They are certainly not focusing on the fact that half of all marriages end in divorce. So, if a couple finds themselves at the point where divorce is the only option, it can be very confusing and depressing. At Gibbons Law Firm, we have noticed a few myths or misconceptions people have about divorce. Because our family law attorneys in Lake Ozark are more familiar with the process than most people, we have answers to some common questions or myths.  If you are considering divorcing your spouse, and need more information about what it entails, we have some interesting information in today’s blog for you.

Myth #1
You can only divorce your spouse if they commit adultery.

Most states, including Missouri, are no-fault divorce states. That means that no marital misconduct has to be proven before you can file for divorce. In Missouri, the only requirement is that there is “no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved, and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.“ If you have irreconcilable differences and see no possibility for repairing the relationship, you are able to file for divorce in Missouri.

Myth #2
Getting divorced will involve an expensive court battle.

If the spouses are in agreement on division of property, custody, etc., the process doesn’t have to be adversarial. Having an experienced family law attorney working with you can help you determine how their assets and responsibilities should be divided, as well as child custody, and any other unique matters in a way that you believe can be mutually agreed upon by both spouses.  If your spouse is agreement on what the final outcome should be, it can be relatively straightforward to get that finalized legally with the help of a good attorney. 

Myth #3
You cannot get divorced unless both spouses agree.

This isn’t true. In Missouri, if a person no longer wants to be married, they do not have to be bound to their marriage. If the other spouse does not want to divorce, they may try to hinder the proceedings, and may very well make things more difficult. But they don’t actually have to agree in order for the divorce to take place.

Myth #4
The mother will automatically be given custody of the child.

When the court decides who to award custody to it will base the decision on eight statutory factors. It will not necessarily go to the children’s primary caregiver in the past or the parent with the highest income. You and your attorney will have the opportunity to prove to the court that you are the best choice based on those eight factors.  You will want to have an experienced divorce attorney in central Missouri who can guide you in proving that to the court.

Myth #5
If a spouse refuses to pay child support, he or she loses visitation rights.

You may not withhold visitation with your child from your ex because he or she is refusing to pay child support. Even if it seems like that’s the only way you are going to get your spouse to help pay for the expenses of raising your child, it is very unadvised to do so. If the court finds out you are withholding visitation rights from your spouse until you receive child support, there could be legal consequences. It can also cause unnecessary resentment between you and your child. If your spouse has been ordered to pay child support and bear their fair share of the financial responsibility of raising your child, and he or she refuses to honor that order, you should contact an attorney to decide the appropriate and most effective action to take.

Gibbons Law Firm is here for you!

We know this is tough, and not something you wanted. But if your marriage cannot be repaired, and your only option is divorce, we can help you get through it and look out for your best interests. At Gibbons Law Firm, we offer free initial consultations with our divorce lawyers in mid-Missouri. We are here to answer your questions and provide guidance through this difficult time. Our contact information is below for your convenience. If you are interested in more legal tips and information from our law firm, we invite you to follow us on our social media platforms using the links below.


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Why a Landlord May Need a Trusted Attorney

Becoming a landlord at the Lake of the Ozarks can be a great opportunity for someone to create an income for themselves, and provide some much-needed housing.  Whether long-term or short-term, buying property at the Lake of the Ozarks for rent is a very popular investment. Being a landlord can involve a few legal issues though, and the better you protect yourself, the more likely you are to prevent lawsuits or losses in court. If you are thinking about becoming a landlord, or are already a landlord, and would like to hear a few common reasons why you may want to have an experienced attorney on your team, we invite you to keep reading this blog.

Creating a lease agreement

The more clearly a landlord and tenant understand the agreement, the easier it is for the tenant to comply, and for you to enforce. Having an excellent landlord-tenant attorney in mid-Missouri help you with your lease agreement can save you lots of headaches down the road and ensure that you are positioned the best way possible to protect you from any adverse legal action. The agreement should clearly outline all the specifics, like exactly who the tenants are, the terms of the lease, payment amounts and when they are due, deposits, fees or fines, etc. Gibbons Law Firm in Lake Ozark knows exactly what needs to be in your lease agreement to protect you as a landlord, and we are happy to help.  

Injury or illness

If you have a tenant claim an injury or illness due to negligence on your part, you don’t want to take it lightly. Of course, you know it is your responsibility to make sure that the home you’re renting is safe and hazard-free. That being said, if you are accused of something that is not due to your negligence, hiring an experienced attorney at Lake of the Ozarks is critical. Your lawyer can guide you on what to do, and if the tenants have a case.

Eviction

Having to evict a tenant is a terrible situation to be in. It is something you do not want to do without seeking legal advice first. You will want a lawyer who can guide you through the process and educate you on what your rights are as a landlord. If you’re going to take the steps to evict someone, you need to do it the right way, and an experienced attorney can show you the best way to go about it.

Property damage

This can go both ways. A landlord could have an issue where their tenants damaged the home they were renting, or the opposite, where tenants are claiming that their property has been damaged due to negligence on the landlord's part. Either way, having an attorney that you know and trust will make the situation much less stressful if it happens.  Again, your lawyer should be able to let you know if you (or they) have a case and how to proceed. 


These are just a few examples of why having a landlord-tenant attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks is a smart move!  If you were thinking about becoming a landlord, or are one now, and do not have an attorney, we hope you found this information helpful. If you would like to sit down with us and see what other ways we might be able to help you, give us a call! Your initial consultation is free. If you enjoyed this blog and would like to stay in touch and hear all our tips and information, be sure to follow us on our social media channels below. 


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Last Will or Revocable Living Trust - Which One is Best for You?

Regardless of your income or the size of your family, estate planning is something you do not want to neglect. For the most part, estate planning means determining and documenting your wishes for your children, and for managing your assets and liabilities when you pass. Your assets and liabilities will change throughout life, so may the size of your family. So, your estate plan should be updated periodically. At Gibbons’s Law Firm, we are very familiar with the process and have helped countless people put their affairs in order. Over the years, our estate planning attorneys at Lake of the Ozarks, have noticed that people have some misconceptions about some common estate planning tools. So, this week we wanted to talk about living wills and revocable trusts. If you would like to know what they are, what the differences are between them, when you should use each one, or if you need both, we invite you to read this blog.

Last Will and Testament

It sometimes surprises people to learn that having a will in place does not keep your estate from going through probate.  It does, however, determine who should inherit your property if you pass away.  But the most important aspect of a will is to appoint a guardian for your children. If something happens to you while your children are under the age of 18 a will can ensure who will be appointed to take care of your children. Because it is generally more straightforward and simpler, getting a will put in place is less expensive and takes less time than a revocable living trust.  It also becomes public record upon your death.

Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is similar to a will, except it allows much more detail and control. You can use a revocable trust not only to determine that your children get your assets, but you can choose at what age you want your children to receive those assets. Some parents prefer their children to be at least 25 before having the responsibility of managing large amounts of money or valuable property. Because it is more complex, a revocable living trust can be more expensive and take more time to prepare. But it does allow your estate to avoid probate, which can make up for the initial cost. Probate procedures can take months or even years. With a revocable living trust, your assets can be transferred directly to your heirs without going through the probate process. Another difference is that a revocable living trust does not become public record upon your death the way a will does.

Gibbons Law Firm Can Help

Knowing whether you need a will or revocable living trust, or both is something Gibbons Law Firm can help you with. Our mid-Missouri estate planning attorneys know how to keep your belongings out of probate and ensure your wishes are honored. We are here to make it easy for you to plan your estate and keep it up to date as your life changes. We encourage you to call our law firm in lake Ozark to schedule a free consultation. We would be happy to look at your situation and help create a plan to ensure that you decide what happens to your children and assets if something happens to you, not the courts.  If you found this blog helpful and would like to stay informed with all our latest announcements and information, use the links below to follow us on social media!


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

Will Planning for Parents – 3 Things to Think About

As parents, you think of all those milestones that you will witness as your children grow up. You make plans for their future, and do everything you can to look out for them and protect them. The last thing you want to think about is what would happen to them if you were to pass. But as much as you love them, you wouldn’t want anyone else to make that decision for you if you were to die unexpectedly.

As estate planning attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks, we know it is a difficult subject. But at Gibbons Law Firm, we help parents get through the tough questions and legally outline their decisions to ensure the wishes they have for their children will be upheld. If you do not have a recently updated will, and you have children, keep reading this blog for ideas on 3 things to consider when planning your will. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about planning a will in Missouri and help you through the process.  Your initial consultation is free.

1) Who Will Raise Your Children?

One of the first things you want to think about is who you want to be responsible for your children. If you have a relative or close friend that you want to raise your children, that should be legally documented. Otherwise, a court will make that important decision for you. You know better than the court who would raise your children with the same values and the closest to the way you would. Let your voice be heard with a legally binding will.

2) Where Will Your Child Live?

Another question, related to the first, is where do you want your children to live? Will you want the guardian of your children to move into your home? Or would you expect your children to move out of their home and possibly into a new city?  If it’s important to you that they keep up with their normal routine or have regular access to the friends and family they have been raised with, that should be indicated in your will.

3) What About Your Assets?

The third question is about your assets. What part of your assets do you want to go to help with the expenses of raising your children?  Do you want to stipulate that the money is only to be used to pay for expenses directly related to raising your children? What portion of your assets do you want to go to your children? What age do you want your children to be when they receive access to those assets? Sometimes parents want their kids to be of legal age or older before they have access to large amounts of money or other assets. Those are all things that you are able to decide and document in your estate plan.


LET GIBBONS LAW FIRM HELP YOU GET THIS DONE!

Don’t worry, you don’t have to do this by yourself. At Gibbons Law Firm, we are very familiar with the estate planning process in Missouri and know how to make it as pleasant as possible for an understandably awkward conversation. In the end, you get the peace of mind of knowing that you didn’t leave these important decisions up to someone else. So, give us a call today at 573-348-2211 to schedule your free initial consultation! We also encourage you to follow us on our social media channels below to stay up-to-date with our latest announcements. 


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, December 16, 2021

How Drinking Impairs Your Driving – Why to Have a Designated Driver

This is such a fun time of the year with all the holiday parties and get-togethers happening. But unfortunately, it can also be a risky time when it comes to drinking and driving. It is likely that at least some of those parties will involve alcohol. Unless people drink responsibly and have a designated driver, that means the risk of being on the road with an impaired driver is higher this time of the year. 

At Gibbons Law Firm, we know the devastation caused by drunk driving accidents at the Lake of the Ozarks. Our mid-Missouri personal injury attorneys have represented numerous victims, and we don’t want anything like that happening to someone else. So, today’s blog is dedicated to understanding the effects drinking has on your body and how it can impair your driving ability. It’s easy to have a drink and not think twice about getting in your car. But when you realize how much that drink can affect you, it’s better to be safe than sorry and find a designated driver, or wait until you get home to indulge. If you’d like to know a few reasons why it’s so worth it to be responsible, read on! This blog is for you. 

Vision.

Alcohol can affect your vision, and how you react to light. It is a natural reaction for your eye to be drawn towards light, but it can be worse when you’re drinking. This can be very dangerous at night with oncoming traffic. Seeing hazards such as deer or judging the distance between you and the cars ahead can be more difficult and at night this can be even more challenging. With the shorter days, we find ourselves driving more after dark, all these factors need to be taken into consideration.


Reaction Time.

Slow reaction time is another effect of being under the influence. When you’re traveling down the road just a fraction of a second can mean the difference between having a collision or not. Everything from reacting to other drivers, avoiding animals, and responding to traffic lights can be slower. 

Decision Making.

Being under the influence also affects your decision-making. It can make you slower to react, and you can make your judgment cloudy. You may overreact to some things, or under-react to others. Why not make a good decision before you start drinking, and arrange to have a ride so you don’t have to drive?


Tracking.

Staying between the lines and in the center of your lane is also much more difficult when you’ve been drinking. It takes only a small mistake to be deadly when it comes to crossing the centerline or driving off the road in the Ozarks.

 

Enjoy the holiday season SAFELY!

At Gibbons Law Firm we want everyone to have a fun and festive holiday season. But we also want you to be safe. No one should have to die or go to jail as a result of celebrating Christmas. That is why we wanted to share these simple reminders to encourage you to celebrate the right way and keep the holidays fun and worry-free! If you have been injured in a drunk driving accident in Central Missouri, we want you to know we are here for you. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks. We would be happy to sit down with you and see how we could help.  To hear more tips and information from our mid-Missouri law firm, follow us on our social media channels using the links below.


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Ways to Help Your Cause During a Child Custody Case

Child custody can be one of the most critical factors for a parent considering divorce.  The idea of a child not being able to see a parent as much as they would like and need due to custody arrangements is heartbreaking. If you are a parent going through a divorce, Gibbons Law Firm would like to share a few things you can be mindful of to improve your chances of being awarded custody.  Our Lake of the Ozarks divorce lawyers know the court is looking for whatever is in the best interest of the child. With that in mind, there are several factors that can be considered.  To learn how to help your cause during a child custody case, keep reading this blog!  We will discuss 5 things you can do to give yourself the best chance of being awarded custody of your child.

Fair Sharing of Time

In most cases, it is best for kids to be able to spend time with both parents.  The parent who shows more willingness to allow the child to have a fair share of time with the other parent and who does not try to hinder that process will most likely be seen more favorably when it comes to determining child custody.

Child’s Wishes

Your child may have a preference for which parent he/she wants to have custody.  It may be something as simple as the child not wanting to change schools, or leave friends, or the community in which they have grown up so far.  They may feel more secure or stable in one parent’s home versus the other.  The court will factor these things into the decision.

Parents’ Mental and Emotional Stability

If a parent shows a history of being aggressive or abusive, having addiction issues, or being a “hot head” that can be a serious detriment to their child custody case.  Even though this is an extremely emotional situation, it is key to your case that you maintain self-control at all times – including on social media, when you are meeting with your ex, when in court, around your kids and other family members, etc.

Ensure a Stable Home Environment

The court will want to see that the child has an environment that will allow consistent interaction not only with parents, but also with siblings, and other people who play a significant and positive role in the child’s life.  Having a steady income and a safe neighborhood is important, as well as regular participation in the child’s extracurricular activities like sports, school plays, doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher meetings, etc. If either parent has plans to relocate and change the primary residence that will also be considered in the decision for child custody.

Be Cooperative

This can be a major challenge when dealing with an ex, but it will reflect directly on your temperament and how you will conduct yourself as a parent sharing your child with the other parent.  You may be very justified in refusing to cooperate, but it will not help your cause when it comes to child custody. It is especially important to avoid being negative or adversarial with your ex and that you do not put your child in the middle of the drama by criticizing his/her other parent to or in front of them.  The more agreeable you can be the better.  Your Central Missouri divorce attorney should be able to help advise and redirect you to keep cool and focus on the end goal.


Gibbons Law Firm is Prepared to Help you with Your Child Custody!

Our caring child custody lawyers at the Lake of the Ozarks have your back and know how to help you through this difficult time.  You can count on our Lake Ozark law firm to advise you and guide you with the legal information that you need to make the best decisions for your children.  If you have any questions about your child custody case, please do not hesitate to give us a call for your free consultation. GibbonsLaw Firm can be reached at (573) 348-2211. Be sure to follow us on social media using the links below to stay up-to-date on all our latest legal tips and helpful information. 


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

How to Make Your Divorce as Quick and Peaceful as Possible

At Gibbons Law Firm we know that going through a divorce is a trying time full of emotions.  Not knowing how things are going to go – whether things will go relatively smoothly or turn into a long and expensive battle – certainly adds to the stress.  As divorce attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks, we have learned a few things that can go a long way towards helping you get through your divorce more quickly and with less conflict. If you are interested in knowing how to make the divorce process quicker and hopefully less painful, today’s blog is for you.  If you are looking to file for divorce and need an experienced divorce attorney in Mid-Missouri to guide you, call us at 573-348-2211.  We know how to help you through this tough time.

Try to Come to a Solution on Your Own 

The more a couple is able to work out a solution on their own the better the outcome usually is for everyone.  If you and your spouse are not able to come to an agreement, then it will be left up to the Court to decide.  That will involve the Court looking at a number of different factors such as each person’s earning potential, current income, how each spouse handled their finances during the marriage, etc. That can obviously become more labor-intensive and lead to decisions that perhaps neither spouse actually agrees with.  By far the best scenario is for you and your spouse to come to a fair and agreeable decision to you both without getting the Court involved.  

Be Business-Minded

The entire discussion of how to end the marriage and divide assets fairly can trigger a lot of feelings, especially if you feel you have been put at a disadvantage because of how you were treated in the marriage.  Make it your goal to be professional and fair.  This is no time to let your emotions take over.  Keep in mind your alternative is to let the Court determine the outcome and that can create a lot more variables and unknowns.  If you can approach the negotiations more like a business meeting than a battle for justice, your chances for a successful outcome increase significantly.

Communicate with Purpose

Clear and purposeful communication can totally set the tone for the entire process during your divorce. This is not about all the reasons you are done with the relationship or all the ways you have been wronged.  At this point, you and your spouse should be focused on HOW to move forward in the most positive way possible. Considering that you did not get married expecting for it not to work, remembering at one point this person is someone you loved, the more you can visualize and communicate a fair and reasonable path forward and avoid re-hashing grievances the more quickly and peacefully it will go.  

If the energy between you and your spouse makes that impossible, communicate with your attorney with the same mindset and let your attorney work through the negotiation.  Once you have stated your position, try to avoid going back and readdressing the same issue as that can drag out the entire process and potentially force negotiations back to square one.  So stay focused on the future and let your attorney help you structure and negotiate for that end.

We hope you find this information helpful.  We don’t wish divorce on any couple.  But if you find yourself facing a divorce, we want to make it as quick and painless as possible.  Unfortunately, some divorces may be more complicated if they involve children, businesses, or a lot of joint assets.  It may take more time to work out the agreements in such cases.  But at Gibbons Law Firm, we have learned that even in a high stakes divorce, being able to bring your own solutions and having a mindset to be fair, responsive and clear in your communication can be very helpful in making your divorce more timely even (or especially) in a high stakes divorce.  For more information on how to get the process started and how to achieve the most positive results, our law office in Lake Ozark offers free consultations.  Contact us at (573) 348-2211 to schedule your appointment.  Follow our social media channels for more helpful hints and information regarding the law and seeking legal advice at the Lake of the Ozarks.  


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

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