Once word gets out that you or your spouse is seeking a divorce, you may find yourself inundated with well-meaning (but often inaccurate) divorce advice from friends and family members. While it is important to get your divorce advice from a licensed attorney who specializes in family law, there are certain factors to consider when divorcing in Missouri in order to ensure your rights and best interests are protected. In St. Louis and the surrounding areas, contact one of our divorce lawyers at the Kallen Law Firm today to learn more.
The Divorce Process
The traditional divorce process in Missouri involves filing the appropriate paperwork, serving the paperwork, gathering information, and eventually, going before a judge to receive a court order outlining the terms of the divorce. While this litigation process is always an option for Missouri divorce, the best divorce advice we can give our clients is often to attempt to seek a peaceful resolution through mediation or collaborative divorce before moving to litigation. In many cases, couples find that they are able to resolve most, if not all issues, through divorce mediation or collaborative divorce.
When it comes getting divorced in Missouri, if both spouses can agree on matters like child custody and visitation, property division, and spousal support, it may be possible to draft an agreement without ever stepping into a courtroom. Even when the spouses feel that they can work it out on their own, it is still important to have a divorce lawyer providing divorce advice and guiding you through the process.
Considering Children in Divorce
As a general rule, areas of disagreement in a divorce typically center on children. If there are children, divorcing couples must consider the best interests of the child when making decisions about divorce.
Absent some form of abuse, neglect, or mutual consent, most Missouri courts will try to make child custody and visitation agreements that allow both parents to continue their relationship with their children. These agreements may or may not be suitable for the specific family situation, it is important to seek divorce advice from a family law attorney to work out an agreement that works for all the parties involved.
Child support is almost always a factor in Missouri divorces involving children. While the standard child support payment is covered by Form 14, differences and variations in individual circumstances can change the way in which child support is awarded, so it is important to have reliable divorce advice to ensure that your children are provided for.
Dividing Property and Money in Divorce
In addition to children, disputes involving property and money are often contentious. Any marital (joint) property must be equitably divided, but it is not always about the dollars and cents. Property acquired during a marriage may have sentimental value to one spouse or the other. For example, one spouse may be adamant about retaining the marital home. You need divorce advice tailored to your specific situation in order to deal effectively with issues of property division.
If you have a lot of assets or if you have some very specific assets to consider, you need divorce advice that takes those assets into account. For example, in a high-asset divorce, property distribution can be hotly contested and extremely complex. Therefore, divorce advice is different for a high-asset divorce than it is for lower-income and lower-asset couples.
In addition to property distribution, spousal support is sometimes a factor in Missouri. In many cases, if you have been married for more than ten years, spousal support will be awarded, but it is not always awarded for long-married couples, and it can sometimes be awarded for couples married for a shorter period of time. As it is impossible to give an answer that is always accurate for every couple, it is important to seek divorce advice from a qualified attorney.
Get the Best Divorce Advice for your Situation from St. Louis Divorce Attorneys
When your family and friends give you divorce advice, they often mean well. However, it is important to realize that you cannot take their advice as fact. Just because a friend of a friend got the house and a large alimony check in her divorce last year does not mean that you will get the same thing. On the other hand, simply because your uncle got “screwed over” in his divorce does not mean that the same will happen to you.
The best way to protect your interests and assets in your divorce is to get your divorce advice from your attorney. Only your attorney is privy to all of the details of your case. Every couple is different, and every marriage is different. Therefore, the only divorce advice that you can reliably count on is divorce advice from the attorney representing you. Contact our St. Louis divorce lawyers today to learn more about your options and how to best handle your pending divorce.