O’Fallon Missouri Divorce Attorney
How do I file for divorce?
In order to file for divorce in Missouri, one spouse must testify that their marriage cannot be resolved, then file the appropriate paperwork. The first document is called the petition. This is where one spouse claims that the marriage is broken and requests a divorce. After this document is filed, the other spouse is given a chance to either agree or disagree with the claims. As always, things become more complicated when children are involved. If the couple has children, the spouse who filed the petition must also submit a parenting plan and a family court information sheet.
Missouri Divorce Laws
Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that only one spouse needs to claim that a marriage is over in order for it to be dissolved by the court. Being a no-fault state also means that in Missouri the spouse who initiates the divorce process does not need to provide evidence or any reason for divorce other than it is “irretrievably broken.”
The downside to the no-fault status is that one spouse can possibly end a marriage without consulting the other spouse. This is an extremely difficult situation if the second spouse does not want the divorce, which often results in a huge amount of unwanted emotional stress and financial cost. Still, the second spouse is given the right to deny the petitioner’s claims, in effect appealing the divorce.
Keep in mind that laws surrounding divorce can differ slightly from county to county in Missouri, so it’s important that you choose an attorney who practices regularly in the county where the divorce proceedings will take place.
“Average” divorce timeline
Divorce can be a long, drawn-out process taking more than a year, or it can be settled in just a few months. It all depends on each unique couple’s situation and the nature of their disagreements.
Any divorce begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petitioner must also file financial statements at the same time. If the parties have children, the Petitioner must also file a Proposed Parenting Plan, which sets out the legal and physical custodial arrangements desired.
Once a party has been served with a Petition, that party (known as the Respondent) must file an Answer and, if desired, a Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Respondent must also file financial statements and a proposed Parenting Plan as well.
The Petition, Answer and Counter-Petition serve to outline the opening position of the parties on the issues of the division of property, spousal support, and if they have children, legal custody, physical custody and child support.
We believe that since each divorce and each client is different, it is best to price a divorce based on your specific needs. We would be happy to give you a free consultation or estimate when you contact us.
Contact The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C.
For a free initial consultation with an experienced O’Fallon divorce attorney, contact us online or call our office at 636-486-4136. We will set up a telephone consultation, if necessary. Saturday meetings are available upon request. We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.