Divorce Rights in Missouri
Divorce often entails much more than the dissolution of a marriage. People who have been married have rights in their marital property, parental rights with regard to their children, and may have the right to spousal support (maintenance) and child support. In addition, children who are affected by divorce may also have certain rights with regard to child custody arrangements.
Property Rights in Divorce
Missouri law provides for the equitable division of marital property. This means that any property jointly owned by a married couple will be divided between them in a way that the court deems is fair. Generally speaking, marital property is any property the couple obtained during the marriage, with the notable exceptions of gifts, inheritances, or appreciation of separate property.
Parental Rights in Divorce
Parents have a right to continue to participate in the lives of their children after a divorce, and it is the stated public policy of Missouri that frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage is in the best interest of the child. Missouri courts can make five different types of custody arrangements:
- Joint physical and joint legal custody to both parents
- Joint physical custody and sole legal custody
- Joint legal custody and sole physical custody
- Sole custody to either party
- Third-party custody or visitation
The Right to Alimony or Spousal Support in a Divorce
Many divorcing couples have a substantially differing ability to earn a living, which is often the result of an arrangement between the parties during the marriage. As a result, courts may award one party alimony (legally referred to as maintenance) after the marriage has ended. Missouri courts will only award maintenance if the spouse seeking it does not have sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs and he or she is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that he or she not be required to seek employment outside the home.
Child Support Rights
Parents have a duty to provide for the reasonable needs of their children, and unmarried or divorcing parents may require a child support order in certain cases. Child support involves court-ordered payments made from the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent and is based on a calculation that takes into account the noncustodial parent’s income, the number of children who need support, and other factors.
Children’s Rights in a Missouri Divorce
Under Missouri law, a court will consider a child’s wishes as to his or her custodian. In addition, in cases involving abuse or neglect, courts will appoint a guardian to represent their best interests. Finally, all decisions regarding child custody must be made with in consideration of the child’s best interests.
Contact a Divorce Attorney in O’Fallon, MO
Marriage and familial relationships give you certain rights, and it is imperative to make sure that those rights are protected when a divorce affects your family. The lawyers of the Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. work with clients in the communities of O’Fallon, Wentzville, Lake St. Louis, Weldon Springs, St. Peters, St. Paul, Golden Eagle, and throughout St. Charles County. To schedule a consultation with a Missouri family law attorney, contact us today at 636-695-4125.