Family Law FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers from a Kansas City Divorce Attorney

As divorce lawyers in Kansas City, Missouri, our firm receives many questions regarding family law issues. If you are facing a family law dispute, then you may greatly benefit from the assistance of a Kansas City divorce lawyer from our firm, as well as the information that we provide. The divorce process can be complicated and there are certain legal requirements and deadlines that must be met. In order to ensure that your divorce case runs smoothly you will want to prepare yourself for the journey to come. The following are some answers to commonly asked questions designed to provide you with general information regarding the situation that you may be facing:

How long does a divorce take?
Your divorce time frame will be prolonged or shortened depending on a number of factors, such as the relationship that you have with your spouse, whether you are willing the compromise, the duration of your marriage and the amount of assets and debts. Generally, you can expect your divorce to take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete. A contested divorce must be litigated in trial, so it may take a year or so to finally resolve. An uncontested divorce however could be over in as short as six months.

How is child custody decided?
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on child custody, then the courts will determine this issue based on the best interests of the child. Issues such as financial stability, time that will be able to be devoted to the child, the child’s preference, the health of both parents, and several other factors will be used as criteria for determining custody rights. The court will also look to see if there is any history of domestic violence, abuse, neglect or drug/alcohol problems. If so, that could definitely affect your chances of obtaining legal and physical custody of your child.

What are some grounds for divorce in Missouri?
The state of Missouri is referred to as a limited “no-fault” state, which means that it can be necessary to prove fault or other grounds in order to be granted a divorce. If one of the spouses disagrees that the marriage is irrevocably broken, then the other must prove one of a number of circumstances. These may include that one spouse committed adultery, abandoned the family, or behaved in an intolerable manner.

What is the difference between uncontested and contested divorce?
With an uncontested divorce, the parties are in agreement that they would like to settle their disputes outside of court possibly through divorce mediation or arbitration. This type of divorce is quick, simple, less expensive and more convenient for both parties because there is no court involvement, no litigation fees and they get to decide the final outcome. On the other hand, a contested divorce is when the two parties are not able to reach a mutually desirable agreement so they court has to rule on the matter in court. Contested divorce cases have a tendency to take longer due to the back and forth litigation, it can also be more expensive.

What are the costs associated with divorce in Missouri?
The costs will vary drastically depending on whether you file for a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. Your total cost will also depend on the retainer fee for the attorney of your choice. One thing is for certain and that is that the court will charge you a divorce petition filing fee in Missouri is around $163 depending on which county you live in. If you have a process server or Sheriff serve the divorce papers there could be another $25 fee.

How is property distributed and divided in a Missouri divorce case?
The state of Missouri is considered to be an "equitable distribution" state, which means that the court will go through an extensive discovery process to determine which property is separate and which is marital. Once the court determines what the marital property is, they will divide that fairly between the two parties. When dividing up marital assets, the court will look at the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the custodial arrangement, the contribution of each spouse in acquiring the property and the value of each spouse's separate property. Separate, or non-marital, property would include anything that was gifted, inherited or acquired prior to the marriage will remain with the original owner.

Are there any additional requirements in order to get a divorce in Missouri?
Actually, if there are minor children involved in the divorce, then under Missouri divorce law both parents must attend a parenting class. This class will help parents in dealing with the trauma that divorce can cause to the children and how to make the transition as smooth as possible. Missouri state law also requires that all divorcing couples go through at least two hours of divorce mediation in hopes that their case can be resolved outside of court litigation.

Seeking divorce?

Need a lawyer for divorce case in Kansas City? If you are facing a family law issue, then you may greatly benefit from the assistance of our firm in your case. We have nearly two decades of experience in family law matters and we can put this experience to work for you in your case. Let our firm work for you in your case. Contact a Kansas City divorce attorney from our firm today to find all the answers and information that you need.

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