The goal of bankruptcy is normally to have as much disposable debt eliminated as legally permissible. Despite this overall objective, it is occasionally desirable to reaffirm a debt so that a debtor can keep an asset secured by the debt. A financed vehicle, which may be the only form of family transportation, is a common example of an asset that a family may wish to keep despite the attending financial obligation. Often the creditor will agree to allow the debtor to maintain possession and use of the asset if the debtor executes a reaffirmation agreement and makes the payments agreed to in the reaffirmation agreement. While may debtors are initially hesitant to surrender certain assets, the decision to execute a reaffirmation agreement can have significant long-term consequences so anyone considering bankruptcy should seek legal advice from an experienced Olathe bankruptcy attorney before deciding to reaffirm any particular debt.

Reaffirmation of a debt is most common when the asset is a vehicle that is for personal use by a family or a business vehicle which is financed with a personal guarantee. Few families can function without some mode of transportation and obtaining another car immediately following a bankruptcy can be difficult because of limited financial resources and potential credit issues. If a person reaffirms a debt and realizes later that he or she cannot keep up with the payments, the debtor may not only lose the vehicle but also be subject to a deficiency judgment. A person must wait eight years before filing for Chapter 7 relief after obtaining a prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. If a person reaffirms a secured debt but is unable to make the payments, the vehicle can be repossessed. Since the debtor cannot file another Chapter 7, the vehicle finance company may obtain a deficiency judgement for the difference between the value of the vehicle and what was owed. If the debtor cannot work out an accommodation with the finance company, he or she may face a wage assignment or bank levy.

Another consideration before signing a reaffirmation agreement is that most financed vehicles will be upside down (i.e. more will be owed than the vehicle is worth). If the vehicle is worth significantly less than is owed, it may not make economic sense to reaffirm the obligation. The bankruptcy trustee will also carefully scrutinize a reaffirmation agreement to ensure that it does not create an unreasonable financial burden on the debtor and the debtor’s family or constitute an unfair transaction. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can carefully scrutinize a potential reaffirmation agreement and advise you regarding the advantages and disadvantages of reaffirming the debt as well as the fairness of the specific terms of the reaffirmation agreement.

Contact Us

We are pleased to handle bankruptcy cases throughout Johnson County and surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Weekend and evening appointments are available. To reach our Olathe bankruptcy attorney Weston Moore, call 913-782-7075, or contact us online.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney at Law
13401 South Mur-Len Road
Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
Phone: 913-782-7075
Fax: 866-896-0287
Map and Directions

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Bankruptcy was intended as a way for people facing crushing debt to start over with a clean slate. Prior to bankruptcy reform, which created a means test, virtually anyone could file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Kansas and obtain a “fresh start” by having most of their unsecured debt extinguished. The credit and banking industry has an influential political lobby and was able to obtain bankruptcy reforms that added a means test as an eligibility requirement for a Chapter 7 as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Many debtors believe that this bankruptcy reform means that anyone who is not unemployed or without significant assets will no longer qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, many people who are both employed and have significant assets may still be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. Even if someone does not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, there are other options such as a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that allows you to repay your debts (or some portion) over a period of years. An experienced Bankruptcy attorney can provide you with guidance regarding your available options and potential financial planning strategies.

The majority of middle class Americans still qualifies for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge that will wipe out most unsecured debt. The Chapter 7 means test involves two levels of inquiry. The first inquiry in determining eligibility under the means test is whether one’s income exceeds the state’s median income level based on the size of a family. If a person makes more than the median income based on family size, eligibility is determined by deducting certain specified monthly expenses from your monthly income, which is based on your average income over the six month period preceding your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. Any income above your monthly expenses is considered your “disposable income.” The higher your disposable income, the more likely the determination you must file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because you have sufficient income to repay some of your unsecured debt.

An experienced Kansas bankruptcy attorney can help you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by helping you identify expenses you may not have considered and help you maximize the amount of those expenses. Counties and metropolitan regions have different allowed amounts for categories of expenses including basic necessities, housing, and transportation. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney in Kansas can maximize the expenses you claim so that you have the best chance of qualifying for Chapter 7 relief. Even if you do not qualify, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can still help you by filing a Chapter 13 or using other appropriate strategies.

Contact Us

We are pleased to handle bankruptcy cases in both Kansas and Missouri, Johnson County and the surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Weekend and evening appointments are available. To reach our Olathe law office, call 913-782-7075, or contact us online.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney at Law
13401 South Mur-Len Road
Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
Phone: 913-782-7075
Fax: 866-896-0287
Map and Directions

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Our objective in helping clients who are buried in debt and behind on their mortgage payment is helping them preserve their family home. We have helped many people file Chapter 13 bankruptcies in Kansas and Missouri to protect their family home. Depending on the specifics of your situation there may be a number of strategies for protecting your most important asset, but sometimes a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, loan modification or other strategy will either not work or does not make economic sense. Even if it is not feasible to keep your home or does not make economic sense to do so because you are too far upside down, foreclosure can still have a number of undesirable consequences. A foreclosure may result in significant long-term damage to your credit and can even expose you to a deficiency judgment (for the difference between the value of your house and what you owe). A short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure can be a way to avoid the negative consequences of a foreclosure.

When facing foreclosure of your home, the decisions you make can have consequences that will affect your financial future and lifestyle for many years. It is important to obtain legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer so that you can make a decision that will have the most long-term benefits for you and your family. A knowledgeable Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer will carefully analyze your financial picture to determine if a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure is a prudent strategy for you.

When the real estate market collapsed, many homeowners, who had faithfully made payments on their home for years, suddenly found that they owed far more than their house was worth. If you owe substantially more on your home than it is worth, you may be able to sell your home for less than the outstanding loan balance and have your lender accept the proceeds of the sale as full satisfaction of your loan. This type of transaction is referred to as a “short sale” and can prevent the negative impact associated with having a foreclosure on your credit report. A short sale involves a buyer paying less than the outstanding balance on a mortgage with the funds from the sale being paid to the lender who considers the loan completely satisfied. This can be an effective strategy if you are not eligible for a Chapter 13 (e.g. you obtained a prior bankruptcy discharge too recently) or loan modification. Because a short sale protects your credit, a seller is typically in a position to buy another home more quickly than if the person simply walks away and allows a foreclosure to proceed.

Although short sales have significant benefits in terms of protecting your credit and protecting you from a potential deficiency judgment, federal and state tax authorities may treat the amount of the loan that is forgiven as income. It is important that you obtain the advice and counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney regarding whether a short sale is a good option in your specific situation and the potential tax consequences.

A Deed in Lieu of foreclosure is another option, which may prevent the adverse impact of a foreclosure. This type of transaction basically involves giving your home to the bank. It is important to have a lawyer review the transaction and all aspects of your situation before you move forward. An experienced Kansas City bankruptcy attorney can make sure you are aware of all of the possible options as well as their potential consequences.

Contact Us

We are pleased to handle bankruptcy cases in Kansas and Missouri. We handle family law cases throughout Johnson County and surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Weekend and evening appointments are available. To reach our Olathe law office, call 913-782-7075, or contact us online.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney at Law
13401 South Mur-Len Road
Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
Phone: 913-782-7075
Fax: 866-896-0287
Map and Directions

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When a family faces staggering debt, it is often accompanied by collection agencies making threatening phone calls, process servers at the door trying to serve lawsuits, and wage garnishments which may make it impossible to meet basic household expenses.  A Kansas Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can sometimes provide a life raft to rescue you from a sea of debt.  A Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may preserve your family residence, protect your bank accounts and pay check and help you get back on the road to financial recovery.  A qualified Kansas bankruptcy attorney can assist you in complying with bankruptcy rules, procedures and disclosure requirements so that you avoid allegations of bankruptcy fraud and the risk of having your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy dismissed.  Many people who make the mistake of handling their own bankruptcy make critical miscalculations that may constitute bankruptcy fraud, which may have very serious and negative results.

A person who attempts to conceal assets in one’s bankruptcy filing may be guilty of bankruptcy fraud which is a felony under Federal law and is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or five years in prison.  Hiding one’s assets when filing a bankruptcy is one of the most prevalent types of bankruptcy fraud, and includes “giving” an asset to a relative or friend in an attempt to put it beyond the reach of one’s creditors or the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court.  Many people who attempt to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy without legal advice or representation unwittingly commit this type of bankruptcy fraud without realizing that it is a crime and can jeopardize both their freedom and their ability to obtain bankruptcy relief.  A criminal prosecution for bankruptcy fraud may result in incarceration, financial penalties and dismissal of your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The bankruptcy trustee can examine and reverse any transaction that is deemed fraudulent within a year of your bankruptcy filing.  The trustee will carefully scrutinize significant transfers of assets that occur during this time frame particularly if the transfers are made for grossly unequal value or to an individual or business entity closely connected to the person filing bankruptcy.  An experienced bankruptcy attorney will be aware of these issues and can advise you about the timing of your bankruptcy.  There are also a lot of exemptions that permit a person filing bankruptcy to keep assets.  A bankruptcy attorney can advise you on how to maximize your use of these exemptions and about legal ways to protect your assets by converting non-exempt assets into exempt assets.

Some people seek assistance from non-attorneys so that they can obtain modest short-term savings.  However, typing services and paralegals are not qualified to give legal advice and may end up costing a person more because they fail to prepare a bankruptcy correctly.  They also cannot give sound advice about protecting assets and maximizing the use of exemptions or ensuring that procedures are met so that a bankruptcy is not dismissed.  These individuals lack the experience and knowledge to properly advise you on legal methods to protect assets and reduce your exposure when filing a bankruptcy.  The cost of defending a criminal bankruptcy fraud case is very costly.  A free no obligation initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney today may save you grief and help you protect valuable assets.  A person who attempts to handle a bankruptcy without an experienced bankruptcy attorney may end up facing charges of bankruptcy fraud or surrendering assets that could have been preserved.

Contact Us

We are pleased to handle bankruptcy cases in Kansas and Missouri, Johnson County and the surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Weekend and evening appointments are available. To reach our Olathe law office, call 913-782-7075, or contact us online.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney at Law
13401 South Mur-Len Road
Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
Phone: 913-782-7075
Fax: 866-896-0287
Map and Directions

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Unfortunately there are many myths concerning filing bankruptcy that are often passed along by well meaning but misinformed individuals and loved ones. Here are a few of the more common misbeliefs or tricks clients have told our law firm.

1. You are only able to file bankruptcy one time. This is untrue.  U.S. Bankruptcy Code enables an individual to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy eight years after discharge, but there are some restrictions and you should consult an attorney. You may also file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy following a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge but you should consult an attorney to discuss any limitations or restrictions.

2. If property is in your name but someone else has possession or makes the payments, the asset is protected. Again, this is untrue.  As long as your name is on a title or deed, that property may be seized by the trustee if there is excess equity or require that you buyback/repayment of the excess equity.

3. By law, the lender or lien holder or trustee cannot take my car. No, there is no such law and you car may even be seized at the bankruptcy hearing if there is excessive equity in the vehicle(s).

4. My savings are protected from being seized. No and there is a good chance a debtor or trustee will.

5. My tax refund check is safe from garnishment. No, you may have your tax refund seized.

6. Mutual funds are safe from seizure or levy! Your mutual fund may indeed be seized unless the unless the mutual fund is a part of an IRA or under 401, 403, 408 or 457 of the IRS Code.

7. I will just have a friend or family member hold my valuables to prevent seizure. By law you are to disclose (under oath) if you have transferred any property to another individual within one year or filing for bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy Fraud is a very serious crime with serious punishment for all involved in the unscrupulous transfer. This includes cash money as well.

8. I am on a deed in case of death. The property is safe since I do not live there. As long as you are listed on the deed, the trustee can sell the property.

9. If I file bankruptcy, I will be able to keep my car and house for free. This is completely false.

10. Let’s not tell the trustee about expensive property, gifts or jewelry that we own. Do not hide any assets.  If you or your spouse are intending to hide assets you are breaking the law and do not contact us.

We hope that these common misbeliefs about filing bankruptcy have helped you.

A Christian Firm Committed to You and Your Family

Free bankruptcy consultation:

We are a Christian law practice, and we genuinely care about the clients we represent. We bring a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to legal service. Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer Weston R. Moore is dedicated to protecting your interests and helping you obtain a just outcome in your case. If you need to speak with an attorney, we are pleased to offer a free consultation. To contact our firm, call 913-782-7075, or contact us by e-mail.

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In today’s economic environment, one of the top reasons why people in Kansas City are filing bankruptcy is in order to stop a home foreclosure.  Weston R. Moore is dedicated to protecting your interests and helping you by offering a free initial consultation in order to fully explain how you may be able to stop home foreclosure by filing an emergency bankruptcy petition in Kansas City.

By filing either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Kansas City, you will stop all home foreclosure actions under the “automatic stay” provision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.  However, if you would like to keep your home, it will be necessary for you to “catch p” on past due house payments.  Your lender also has the right to ask the bankruptcy court to allow the home foreclosure to proceed if the lender is able to show that you will unable to bring your payments current. This is why you should not delay in discussing your case with attorney Weston Moore.

A Kansas City Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to offer relief from unsecured and other types of debts and this bankruptcy option could enable you to catch up on your mortgage payments in order to  keep your house.  Some people are too far behind on their house payments and so filing a Kansas City Chapter 13 bankruptcy ends up being the best option to keep the home. With a Chapter 13 debt repayment plan, the debtor has up to five years to bring their mortgage payments current and up to date.

It is recommend that house mortgage payments are made by bank check, cashier’s check or by a money order for at minimum six months after your bankruptcy case.  It is also recommend that all house payments are sent by certified or registered mail with a return-receipt requested service in order to prove the lender received payment and when they received payment.

A Christian Law Firm Committed to You and Your Family

We are a Christian law practice, and we genuinely care about the clients we represent. We bring a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to legal service. Kansas City bankruptcy lawyer Weston R. Moore is dedicated to protecting your interests and helping you obtain a just outcome in your case. If you need to speak with an attorney, we are pleased to offer a free consultation. To contact our firm, call 913-782-7075, or contact us by e-mail.

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Child support can be either increased or decreased within three years of the date of the original order or modification if there has been a material change in circumstances.  If a modification is sought more than three years after the date of the original order, then a material change in circumstances need not be proven. Modifications by the court may be made one month after the motion for modification has been filed with the court.

A court also may set apart any portion of property of either the husband or wife that may seem necessary and proper for the support of the children.  In other words, assets from the property division phase of your divorce may be used for the purposes of child support.  This is most common when there are issues with the paying parent not complying with a child support order.

Child support will continue until your child turns 18 years of age regardless of the type of custodial arrangement as ordered by the court with a few exceptions.  One exception involves an agreement reached by the parents for child support to continue for a certain period of time after the child has reached 18.  The agreement must be written, signed by both parties and approved the court.  If the agreement is missing any of these elements, the agreement will not be effective.  It is important to seek legal advice if you are contemplating any agreement that would continue child support past the age of 18.

Another exception involves a child who is still 18 years old prior to the completion of high school.  In this case, child support terminates on June 30 of the year of high school graduation.  If your child is still a bona fide high school student and enrolled in an accredited high school pursuing a high school diploma or enrolled in a program in pursuit of a graduation equivalency diploma, then child support will continue until your child turns 19 as long as your child remains a bona fide high school student.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney at Law, has been representing parents in child support disputes in Kansas and Missouri since 1995.  We offer a free no obligation initial consultation and can advise you regarding your rights and likely child support obligations.  We even let you know if your child support matter is one that you can handle on your own.  If you are involved in a child support dispute, our experienced Kansas City divorce attorney will help guide you through any complex issues in an effort to reach a cost effective resolution to your child support case.

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Whether you are involved in a divorce or paternity action, the court will make child support orders based on the Kansas Child Support Guidelines.  The child support guidelines in Kansas are rules that govern how judges determine child support.  The factors that typically affect a guideline child support calculation in Kansas include the following:

  • The income of both parents
  • Amount of any alimony (spousal support) payments
  • Custodial time either parent spends with the minor children
  • Costs associated with special needs of the children
  • Out of pocket costs for daycare or childcare
  • Other children for whom either parent is legally obligated to pay child support
  • The number of children of the relationship

While there are other limited expenses that may be relevant such as unusual expenses involved in visitation if the children live out of state, the court does not generally consider a parents ordinary expenses, such as rent, utilities, food, car payment, gas or the like.  This can make a child support order feel very oppressive and unfair.  Unfortunately, the court has little discretion to deviate from the guideline child support calculation and will rarely do so.

This means that the factors that a parent can control that have a substantial impact on child support play a significant role in any child support order.  While a person’s household expenses have minimal impact on child support, there are other issues that make a calculation of child support complicated.  These issues typically require an experienced Kansas family law attorney including the following:

Self-Employment: A parent who is self-employed may have income that is difficult to calculate.  Many self-employed people deduct items that are not appropriate for purposes of calculating income for child support, such as certain dining out and entertainment expenses.  Our experienced Kansas child custody lawyers carefully analyze financial documents including profit and loss statements, tax returns, bank statements and other documents to ensure that the self-employed income of the other parent is calculated properly.

Unemployed/Underemployed Parent: A parent may not elect to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed to increase, decrease or avoid child support.  An income will typically be “imputed” to a parent based on their earning capacity, which is determined by factors like past employment, education and occupational training.  If your children are extremely young (i.e. not yet school aged), the court may not impute income to a stay at home parent.

Hidden Income/Working under the Table: Some parents work off the books or hide income to affect child support.  If you believe that the other parent is hiding income or failing to report his or her actual income, it is important to obtain an experienced Kansas child support attorney who can investigate closely to determine if the other parent is accurately reporting his or her income.

Child Custody Disputes: One of the most important factors in determining a child support order is the time-share between the parents.  The more time a parent spends with their children the greater the benefit in terms of child support.  While this is not the main reason a parent should seek to spend significant periods of time with one’s children, we can advise you regarding how a proposed custody order would impact child support obligations.

Parents are required to complete a Child Support Worksheet whenever child support is at issue, which will ask for information including the number of children, age of each child, income of both parents, income tax information, cost of daycare or family health insurance expenses and the percentage of parenting time.

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This Kansas law blog is designed to provide useful information about Kansas laws that affect our clients. Our law firm represents people throughout Johnson County, Kansas in the legal fields of family law and bankruptcy. This blog will report on recent changes in Kansas law or federal bankruptcy law changes, interesting court decisions, and legal issues in the news.  We will provide these events and how those issues may affect our clients.

To contact our law firm for a free discussion about your legal issue, contact us today.

Weston R. Moore, Attorney at Law
13401 South Mur-Len Road
Suite 100
Olathe, KS 66062
Phone: 913-782-7075
Fax: 866-896-0287

http://www.KSLegalHelp.com

http://www.KSBankruptcyHelp.com

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When couples plan to marry they typically are optimistic, idealistic and romantic about the future.  They are firmly convinced that they will be together “until death do us part” and are loath to consider what should happen if things do not work out as planned.  While it is perfectly appropriate to enter marriage with such optimistic and hopeful aspirations, the reality is that estimates place the divorce rate for first marriages as high as 50%.  The rate has been estimated to be as high as 74% for third marriages.  The bottom line is that statistically one in every two marriages will end in divorce.  Anyone contemplating marriage need no more than review these statistics to realize that it makes virtually no sense to avoid planning how property and debt division and spousal support issues should be handled if a marriage breaks down.

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between parties in anticipation of marriage that directs how certain issues typically financial, property and spousal support issues will be handled in the event of divorce.  Contrary to the assumptions of some, a prenuptial agreement is not an unromantic fatalistic gesture but an effective financial planning device that protects both parties to a marriage in the even of divorce by removing uncertainty about how issues will be handled and providing a roadmap for resolving potential issues that will reduce stress, costs and uncertainty if a marriage fails.

This article outlines a number of fundamental advantages to an effective prenuptial agreement including the following:

Resolves Uncertainty Regarding Income Disparity: If there is a vast difference in net worth and earnings between parties entering into a marriage, a prenuptial agreement is appropriate to protect the assets and estate that may represent the legacy of a family business built prior to marriage.  A prenuptial agreement can also help protect appreciation of such assets that occur during marriage.  The prenuptial agreement can help distinguish those assets that the parties to a marriage view as marital assets from separate property when entering into a marital relationship.

Avoiding Unnecessary Expense in a Divorce: A contested divorce can be expensive and time consuming particularly if the parties to the marriage have an estate of substantial net worth.  Litigation over property division issues and spousal support can result in valuable financial resources being drained from the wealth that a couple has build during the marriage to pay for litigation costs.  An effective prenuptial agreement can prevent disputes and disagreements keeping acquired wealth with the parties to a divorce instead of transferring substantial sums to attorneys at the time of divorce.

Remove Uncertainty and Promote Fairness: A prenuptial agreement allows a couple to define a fair resolution to property and spousal support issues if a divorce occurs.  This allows parties to a marriage to define a fair resolution of issues when a couple is able to relate to each other on an amicable basis.  This allows a couple’s expectations to be met.

Define Parameters Regarding Spousal Support: When there is a substantial difference in the net worth and income between parties to marriage, the higher earning and/or higher net worth spouse will likely be required to pay alimony or spousal support in the event of a divorce.  A prenuptial agreement allows the parties to define the amount and appropriateness of spousal support within certain general parameters.

Protect Estate Planning Arrangements: A prenuptial agreement takes on added importance if either party has been married previously.  Inheritance laws and children from prior marriages can make a divorce complex and complicate estate plans.  A prenuptial agreement can help protect estate planning arrangements that provide for children from prior marriages.

In the final analysis, a prenuptial agreement is an effective way to protect both a husband and wife contemplating a Kansas marriage.  These agreements do not promote divorce but provide for ordered amicable resolutions in the event of an unexpected breakdown of a marriage.  However, the technical and legal rules that govern and limit prenuptial agreements are complicated.  If you are considering a prenuptial agreement in Kansas, it is essential to seek the advice and experience of an experienced Kansas divorce attorney. We handle family law cases throughout Johnson County and surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  Kansas divorce attorney Weston R. Moore represents clients in family law cases throughout Johnson County and the surrounding counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area.  We invite you to call us today at 913-782-7075 to discuss your family law matter.

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