Going through a divorce is often a confusing and uncertain time. You may have many questions about the proper filing procedure and the different complex issues that arise after a couple decides to go their separate ways. The family law team at Blackwell & Associates, PC in O’Fallon, MO, answers some common questions about the process below.
What to Ask Your Attorney About Divorce
What Are the Grounds for Dissolution in Missouri?
Missouri is a no-fault state, which means it isn’t required to prove that either party was at fault for the breakdown of a marriage. Couples commonly cite irreconcilable differences as the reason for ending their relationship. Typically, the family law court will want to make sure a marriage cannot be preserved before approving the petition.
How Is Property Divided?
Missouri does not automatically split marital property equally between a divorcing couple. Instead, several factors are considered before deciding on the most equitable distribution. This may include both spouse’s financial situation, the contribution each party has made to the acquisition of property, where the children will live, and the value of non-marital property.
Do I Have to Go to Court?
Couples are given the opportunity to resolve their issues without going through formal court proceedings whenever possible. This may be done through informal negotiations, settlement conferences, or mediation. Both parties must agree on the division of assets, child custody and support, and alimony. If there is little to no conflict between a couple, these alternatives provide a speedy and less expensive dissolution.
How Is Child Custody Determined?
In most cases, Missouri family law courts favor joint custody of the children. Unless there are special circumstances, judges prefer to see both parents involved in the children’s lives and sharing major decisions. Generally, couples must file a Parenting Plan with their petition for dissolution to outline the terms of custody and visitation. If an agreement is reached, the plan will be approved in court. Otherwise, it will be negotiated during the divorce.
The process of divorce is challenging for many couples, but it’s vital to learn as much as possible about what it entails to reduce any unpleasant surprises. An attorney who is experienced in family law will help you navigate the proceedings and ensure your rights are protected. Contact Blackwell & Associates, PC, at (636) 240-3632 or visit the law office online for more information.