No two family law cases are identical, but there are some common requirements or steps that all cases must complete. Here’s what to expect in a typical Missouri Divorce or Custody case.
If you’re considering a divorce, even if you haven’t made a final decision yet, it is a good idea to begin planning for your life after a potential split. It may become more difficult to find and gather important records like financial documents, insurance or health policies, and account numbers if you move out of the family home or your spouse becomes secretive once they suspect divorce is possible. For more divorce preparation tips, please visit our blog.
The divorce and child custody process in Missouri can be extremely complicated, and it is important to have an experienced Missouri family lawyer on your side. Our firm handles a wide variety of legal matters concerning divorce and child custody, and we can begin working with you today on your case.
The process of filing for divorce in Missouri is known as filing a petition for the dissolution of marriage. Missouri is a no-fault state, which means that neither party should plan to allege grounds for the divorce. Rather, instead of stating grounds for a divorce, spouses in Missouri get divorced on the basis of irreconcilable differences. In order to be eligible to have a divorce granted in Missouri, you must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days prior to filing. After you file for divorce, Missouri law also requires that you wait 30 days until the court can grant the divorce.
The spouse who receives the divorce petition is known as the respondent, and they will have 30 days to file an answer to the petition. In some cases, if the respondent denies that the marriage is broken, counseling and/or legal separation can be ordered before a divorce will be granted, although not common.
While the terms of a divorce settlement are being negotiated, some issues will need to be resolved temporarily. For example, as you and your ex work out a parenting plan, your children will need a stable home in the meantime. Temporary motions are often used to address issues like custody, use of marital assets, and financial support while a divorce is pending. These orders remain in effect until a final settlement is reached.
The process of gathering and verifying the information provided by each spouse is known as discovery. This commonly involves collecting documents like tax statements, insurance policies, and retirement account information. Your attorney may also be able to require your former spouse to turn over certain documents related to the divorce. In more complex cases, like when couples have high value or unusual assets or one spouse is concealing assets, discovery may be more complex and take more time.
Most divorce cases end in a settlement, but if the parties cannot reach a compromise, then a trial is required to have the court decide on a settlement and/or parenting plan. For a divorce, the issues covered in the settlement may include:
Missouri is an equitable distribution state. Accordingly, all property will be classified either as separate property or marital property, and then all marital property will be divided between the spouses in a manner that is fair to both parties. While equitable distribution can result in a 50/50 split, property does not need to be split equally since “equitable” means fair. Courts consider a variety of factors to determine a fair distribution of marital assets and debts.
Courts make child custody decisions by focusing on the best interests of the child. Parents can share legal and physical custody, or these forms of custody can be awarded to just one parent who will have sole custody. Legal custody gives parents the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, while physical custody gives the parents the right to spend time with the child and participate in day-to-day care.
Missouri uses the “income shares” model to calculate child support, which means the net incomes of both parents will be used to calculate a total child support obligation.
Spousal maintenance—also known as support maintenance, spousal support, or alimony—is a payment that the court orders one spouse to pay to another as part of the divorce case. Missouri courts may order maintenance that is temporary, periodic, or permanent given the facts of the case. Maintenance will only be awarded in cases where the court finds that the spouse seeking it needs the support.
Divorce and custody orders may be modified in certain circumstances. To have an order modified, the party seeking the modification must be able to show that there was a substantial change in circumstances that renders the existing order unreasonable. For child custody modifications, the modification also must be in the best interest of the child.
If you have questions about divorce or custody and need assistance, the best place to seek advice is from an experienced Missouri divorce and child custody attorney. Contact Scott A. Hamblin for more information about the family law services we provide.
A Jefferson City man faced DUI charges following a field sobriety test. Charges against the defendant were dropped after Scott successfully maintained the client’s claims that the test results were inaccurate. While the client initially appeared to be in a difficult situation, Scott was able to push investigators to determine the sobriety test results as invalid, so the charges were dismissed.
A mother was seeking sole custody of her children following a divorce. The father refused to cooperate, leaving the client in a difficult situation as she felt as though her children didn’t have a voice. Scott recognized her need for an advocate and carefully listened to the children’s wishes, which conclusively helped the client achieve sole custody of her children and protected their best interests.
A client from Fulton was accused of drug possession as a result of a home search. While drug charges may potentially be filed as a Class C felony involving severe consequences, Scott was able to help the client receive a reduced sentence. Ultimately, the client faced significantly smaller penalties compared to the initial charges.
Scott assisted a defendant in a particularly challenging divorce case in which the other spouse was not cooperating. Scott was able to help the client avoid court through an aggressive legal approach to resolve all outstanding disagreements while maintaining the client’s long-term needs.
One client sought legal assistance after an altercation with another individual in Jefferson City. The client was arrested on assault charges despite allegedly not starting the fight. Since an arrest can lead to life-altering penalties such as being terminated from employment and serving jail time, Scott was able to build a solid legal defense in the client’s favor and argued in favor of the client’s innocence.
A grandparent sought visitation rights to his grandchild after the parent tried to block him. Scott takes grandparents’ rights very seriously, and so he devised a strategy to help the grandparent set a visitation schedule. Scott developed a strategy to show that the child’s best interests were fulfilled through the grandparent’s ability to visit the child, helping push the case towards a resolution in the client’s favor.
Scott assisted a client who was injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence. The defendant claimed that the opposing party using their phone at the time of the crash, and Scott emphasized this claim to show that the other driver was at fault for the client’s injuries. The case concluded with the client receiving the necessary compensation for medical bills following a long hospital stay due to injuries.
I have been working with Mr. Hamblin for almost one and a half years and consider him to be one of the finest Lawyers I have ever done business with. Mr. Hamblin’s understanding of Missouri law is to say the least encyclopedic. His areas of expertise are broad and far-reaching. While working with Mr. Hamblin…
Scott was efficient and knew his stuff. Very thorough and committed to our family. He had worked on two different cases for us and did an excellent job. No regrets!
I called Mr. Hamblin to represent my family member. When we went in to have a meeting, Mr. Hamblin was very honest said he felt that he could represent him and help with the matter that he had been charged with. I was so glad that I had contacted Mr. Hamblin on this matter, because…
Very upfront and honest about the potential outcomes of my case.
Scott Hamblin represented my son in a high-profile case. Scott was highly professional throughout the course of the proceedings, prompt and thorough in answering all of our questions and, most importantly, was very prepared when he represented my son in the courtroom, which resulted in a very favorable outcome. Our family cannot thank Scott enough…
Mr. Hamblin succeeded in winning a child custody modification case for me that most lawyers I spoke with wouldn't even take on. Many told me that modifying a child custody agreement was nearly impossible. Due to the changes at my children's Father's house and the toll it was taking on their mental health, my children…
I am so grateful that I hired him, he gave me hope to overcome my fear and anxiety. Now my case was dismissed because of his hard work. Thank you so much Attorney Scott. May God bless you, and keep continuing to save people's lives!!!
There are no words to express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be represented by Mr. Hamblin. I have enjoyed working with him and his assistant, especially through some of the most challenging moments of my life. Selecting someone to handle your case can be a very difficult decision to make, but even…
I got stuck between a rock and a hard place in my situation as was in need of help. Scott was appointed to be via public defender for a federal case and I could not have wished for a better lawyer and overall individual. He would show up for me while I was incarcerated on…
Scott is a very compassionate but honest man. I have known Scott for 10+ years. I met him while fostering children with Cole County Children's Division. When he became the adoption lawyer for Cole County Children's Division in 2007 my husband and I were one of the first to use him to become adoptive parents…
Scott is a great lawyer, will do what he says! He will work his tail off for you. It was a long 2 year divorce, but I am so glad he was representing me. Very fair and doesn't overcharge for his services. I can now say he is my friend, not only my attorney.
Scott did an excellent job. He was available as needed and always listened. He responded quickly to e-mails or phone calls. He didn't just "tell me what to do." Instead, he listened to my input and helped me make informed decisions. I always felt as though he had time for me as a client.
Scott did a great job handling our custody case. He fought for us every step of the way and got things done quickly. He even refunded over half of our retainer because he got the case handled quicker than expected. I would recommend him to anyone.
Scott and his team go above and beyond to make your most challenging times easier on you. Calls and emails are always answered promptly and they truly go out of their way to help their clients. If you are searching for the BEST of the BEST, you've found it with Scott and his team!
I had received some felony charges and Scott fought it every single step of the way (and then some) to a jury trial and did so well, I was found not guilty on all counts! It wouldn’t have been possible without him. I’ve had several lawyers in the past and he is no comparison to…
Scott Hamblin is a great lawyer. He has assisted me in my divorce and custody issues over the past three years. He is easy to work with and has always kept me informed/involved in my cases, as they progress.
Mr. Hamblin is an excellent attorney. He is very friendly and works hard to do what is in the best interest of his clients. I have had only positive experiences when hiring Mr. Hamblin for my legal needs. He responses quickly any time I need assistance and he keeps you very well informed on the…
He did a great job on my federal case
Very intelligent and helpful
Exceptional to work with, easy to talk to and extremely efficient. We have used Scott on two major issues now and have walked away both times more than satisfied. If someone has a significant legal issue pressing, Scott Hamblin, without question is who they need representing them.
If I ever again need any legal advice, I will ask Scott Hamblin every time. Scott was my divorce/child custody attorney. I was extremely happy with him. He cares about his clients and always called in person. He made the almost impossible come true for me! That's how great of an attorney he is. Thank…
Scott has won a case for me that seemed hopeless.
He went above and beyond to get me all the help legally available in each situation, and he did so with a kind and calming demeanor. His efforts also included being logical about the use of my funds in these matters. I have never before met a lawyer who gives refunds if he does not…
Scott Hamblin was originally suggested to me for adoption, but I was so impressed I also used his services for future adoptions, name changes and all family law matters since meeting him.
Scott handled two cases for me and was great in both of them. Scott has excellent bedside manner and answered all my questions to where I understood them. Scott is a class A attorney and I would recommend him to anyone. Scott Hamblin is a no-nonsense, very knowledgeable attorney who is dedicated to helping his…
For accessible and experienced representation, contact attorney Scott Hamblin today.