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Domestic and Family Law

Divorce, child custody, and property division in Kansas

Wise & Reber, L.C., represent clients who require guidance in family law matters, including divorce, child custody, property division, business transfers, or premarital agreements. 

How we approach divorce in Kansas

Divorce should always be the last and final option to address problems in marriage. We often counsel and advise those considering separation but who haven't made the decision to file for divorce.

It is neither practical nor ethical for a lawyer to represent parties whose interests conflict. In those unusual divorces where both spouses agree on everything, it may be possible for one lawyer to draft all the necessary paperwork to obtain a divorce. Even if it looks like both spouses agree, we follow the policy of representing only one spouse, and we encourage the other spouse to get approrpriate advice and counsel and have all paperwork reviewed before signing. In that way, we may continue to represent you even if you and your spouse initially agree but later disagree on all or part of the issues in your case.

If there are issues regarding temporary possession of a residence or property, temporary custody or residence of children, or temporary child or spousal support, there may be an advantage to being the party who first files for divorce. The first to file usually obtains temporary orders governing these issues. The other party is normally not present when these orders are issued.

Because there is often some delay and expense involved in changing these orders, the party who first files for divorce is often thought to have an advantage. Any perceived advantage is temporary, though - Kansas family courts look at factors that determine what is fair, not who is fastest to dissolve the marriage.

Property division

Kansas courts attempt to divide property in a fair and reasonable manner, called equitable distribution. The property to be divided by the court includes all property owned by the parties when the divorce proceeding is filed, regardless of whether the property is held jointly or individually. The fact that the title to certain property shows the name of only one spouse is, generally, irrelevant.

Property division often involves complicated tax, business, and estate planning issues. Unlike most local lawyers and firms, Wise & Reber has lawyers with experience in all of these areas.

Child custody and child support

Kansas courts attempt to develop custody and parenting arrangements that are in the best interests of the parties' children. Joint legal custody is ordered in the overwhelming majority of cases. This means that both parents have an equal right to join in major decisions about the child.

Kansas courts apply child support guidelines when calculating the amount of child support to be ordered in each case involving minor children. The amount of support is generally based upon the gross monthly income of the parents, the cost of medical insurance and work-related child care expenses, and the age of each child.

Modifications to support are available based upon income tax considerations, any special needs of the children, long distance visitation costs, the overall financial circumstances of the parties, and other factors. Child support may be adjusted later based upon a material change of cirucmstances, too.

Premarital Agreements

Contracts entered between prospective spouses in contemplation of the marriage are known by various names, including antenuptial, prenuptial, or premarital agreements. Years ago, such contracts were entered only by wealthy people to protect assets from marital claims in the event of premature death or divorce, usually with the focus of protecting the family business. As the frequency of divorce and blended families has increased over the years, such agreements are now more common. The focus of these agreements has expanded to include protection of children from prior marriages, estate planning and division of assets, spousal support, and attorney fees in the event of a divorce.

Premarital agreements often involve complicated tax, business and estate planning issues. Wise & Reber has the experience you need to make sure your assets and best interests are protected.