Legal Separation vs. Dissolution of Marriage: Which Should I Choose?

When a marriage relationship ends in Missouri, spouses have two different options they can pursue: legal separation and dissolution of marriage (divorce). Many people think legal separation is an easier temporary process than going through a full dissolution of marriage, but that is not exactly accurate. In fact, the two processes are virtually identical because all the same issues must be decided in either proceeding-- division of property and debts, maintenance, custody, and child support. However, there are a few important distinctions between legal separation and divorce. The main legal distinction is that after a legal separation, the parties [...]

2024-05-13T15:53:58+00:00May 13th, 2024|Categories: Divorce|

Do I Have to Get a Divorce to End a Common Law Marriage?

The short answer is yes. However, it is important to first understand if you actually have a valid common-law marriage. Contrary to popular belief, only some states still allow common law marriages, and they have various requirements for what constitutes a common-law marriage. In states that still allow it, common-law marriage is a legally binding marital relationship between two people without the requirements of obtaining a marriage license and having a marriage ceremony. In general, the requirements of common law marriage are capacity to marry, an agreement to be married, and that the parties hold themselves out as husband [...]

2024-02-21T16:14:29+00:00February 21st, 2024|Categories: Divorce|

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

To use a lawyer’s typical answer to any legal question: it depends. There are a lot of factors that contribute to the amount one will spend on a divorce, such as whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, whether other professionals are required, such as a Guardian ad Litem, custody evaluator, business appraiser, etc., and how long the divorce process itself takes. If a divorce is uncontested, the process should be relatively quick without substantial legal costs. However, if the divorce is contested, the process will likely take more than a few months and involve substantial costs. Lawyers typically [...]

2024-01-11T16:22:14+00:00January 11th, 2024|Categories: Divorce|

How Long Will My Divorce Take?

A common question clients ask when beginning a divorce is, “How long is this going to take?” While there is a range of possibilities and no definitive timeline for all divorces, there are some factors that will have a definite impact on the timeline. Contested or Uncontested Divorce When spouses have reached an agreement on the substantive aspects of their divorce, they will likely not need much intervention from their attorneys, the court, or outside parties to aid in negotiation. It is much quicker to memorialize an agreement and process it through the Court than to have to negotiate [...]

2023-08-01T16:08:31+00:00August 1st, 2023|Categories: Divorce|

Talking to Your Child about Divorce

Going through a divorce or separation can be a difficult time for the entire family. Regardless of the age of your children, they will face changes, so here are some things you can do to help them move forward: Have a plan. Speak with your spouse about when and how you will discuss your divorce or separation with your children. Consider doing so on a day that allows for some family time and for your children to process the news. If it is extremely difficult for you and your spouse to agree on how to talk to your children, [...]

2023-02-08T16:36:16+00:00February 8th, 2023|Categories: Child Custody, Divorce|

Annulment vs. Divorce

While most people understand the nature of divorce, confusion abounds over the concept of an annulment. Whereas divorce declares a marriage terminated as of the date of a divorce decree, an annulment declares that the marriage was invalid from its very beginning. Essentially, when a judge grants an annulment, it is a finding that a valid marriage never existed. (There is also a difference between an annulment granted by a religious institution and a civil annulment, but this article only concerns the latter). In Missouri, there is a strong presumption all marriages are valid, which makes it tougher to [...]

2023-01-16T17:35:48+00:00January 16th, 2023|Categories: Divorce|

Can My Spouse and I Be Represented by the Same Attorney for Our Divorce?

If you and your spouse have reached a mutual agreement regarding divorce, you may wonder whether you can retain the same attorney to finalize your divorce. The short answer is no, as it is unethical for an attorney to represent both spouses in a pending divorce action. Joint representation in a divorce creates a conflict of interest for the attorney. No matter how agreeable the terms are to each side, an attorney cannot ethically represent both parties in divorce due to the parties’ competing interests. However, if the parties are amicable and have come to an agreement, it may [...]

2022-12-06T15:59:34+00:00December 6th, 2022|Categories: Divorce|

Cryptocurrency and Divorce

Divorce in and of itself is a challenging and often tumultuous process. If your spouse owns cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, tracking and valuing the digital currency can further complicate the process. Cryptocurrencies are unlike traditional currencies because they operate on a decentralized system. There is no central bank, government, or regulatory authority backing the asset. Given its decentralized nature, it can be used to hide marital assets.  You may not know if your spouse owns cryptocurrency. Despite its complex nature, cryptocurrency obtained during the marriage is subject to equitable distribution in divorce just like any other asset. Therefore, if [...]

2022-10-13T14:48:20+00:00October 13th, 2022|Categories: Divorce, Property Division|

Annulment in Missouri

It is rare in Missouri for the Courts to grant an annulment of a marriage, but there is a procedure for declaring a marriage to be invalid that is authorized by the Missouri statutes. An annulment, rather than a dissolution of marriage (divorce), may be proper only in very specific situations, such as: The married parties have a close relationship, typically by blood. One of the parties at the time of the marriage did not satisfy the age requirement and did not receive the court’s consent – in Missouri, the age requirement is 16 with parental consent, or 18 [...]

2022-02-21T15:51:07+00:00February 21st, 2022|Categories: Divorce|

Discovery in Divorce Cases

After a Petition for Divorce (or Dissolution of Marriage as it is called in Missouri) has been filed, the parties can begin the discovery process. “Discovery” is the process by which the parties exchange information and documents to enable the attorneys and parties to prepare for negotiations and/or trial. Discovery can be conducted formally or informally, and it is a useful procedure for ensuring both parties have a complete picture of the marital estate and the finances of both parties. In a dissolution of marriage proceeding, it is important for a party to disclose his or her income and [...]

2021-11-29T16:04:11+00:00November 29th, 2021|Categories: Divorce|
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