During a Missouri divorce, there are many different forms and other documents that must be prepared. These forms can be complicated, even when the forms are "standard." Very specific and important information must be entered into these forms and without proper legal representation, these forms can be completed incorrectly.
With the help of experienced Missouri divorce attorney Joshua Wilson at your side, you can complete every form and prepare your documentation correctly, with confidence, and all while following the law.
Why is document preparation so important? The simple fact is, the legal process requires a lot of forms and documents to be filled out and filled out correctly. It can be a complicated process, especially without trained and experienced help.
With the help of an experienced attorney, you can know that your forms are completed correctly, and on time. There are a significant number of very specific rules which govern the filing of forms in the legal system, and self-represented people are expected to know them the same as any attorney. With an attorney, you will not have to concern yourself with knowing these complex rules and procedures, saving you time, frustration, and cost.
Common Forms Used in Missouri Divorce Process
While there are a great many different forms and other documents that must be prepared during the divorce process, the following are some of the more common forms you and your attorney will complete.
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (CAFC001)
The petition for dissolution of marriage form is how a petitioner (the person requesting dissolution) begins the dissolution process. It requires including information such as
- the parties' names,
- the last 4 digits of your social security number,
- your age,
- employment status,
- income of you and your spouse,
- information regarding any children of the marriage, and
- much more.
Filing this form properly is critical, otherwise you may waste time and money filing a form that does not meet legal guidelines, and will not be accepted by the court.
Respondent's Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (CAFC010-R)
A respondent is required to answer a petition for dissolution within 30 days of service of the petition for dissolution. The form requires specific answers be given to the original petition. These "answers" have very serious legal impacts and answering incorrectly could cause you to lose certain rights moving forward in the divorce process.
It is crucial that this form is prepared with the help of an experienced attorney so as to avoid these types of lost rights.
Statement of Income and Expenses (CAFC050)
A statement of income and expenses form is an important part of the divorce process, and can have a major impact moving forward. It requires the petitioner to outline all sources of income including, but not limited to
- monthly gross income from salaries, wages, and commissions,
- social security income,
- retirement benefits,
- pension income,
- trust and annuity income,
- worker's compensation pay,
- disability income,
- veteran's benefits,
- child support obligations,
- childcare costs, and
- other monthly expense information.
This form especially can be very complicated to complete accurately. Without an attorney to assist you, you are required to do a great deal of research with no help, and fill in information you may not fully understand. It is important to get this information right, or you could face complications down the road.
Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement (CAFC040)
This form is a two-part document which outlines the division of property and debt between the spouses of the marriage. On part one, you are required to list all of the marital and nonmarital assets owned by the spouses on one of four tables included in the form. Part one asks a great many "yes" and "no" questions which range from simple to answer to very difficult to even understand. It also requires you to list and value assets in the included tables.
Part two deals with spousal support or "alimony." As part of the proposed separation agreement, the parties are required to figure out how much, if any, spousal support is owed to the other spouse. All agreements must be accepted by the court, and the court will look to see if the agreement is fair.
Judgment and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (CAFC070)
A proposed judgment and decree of dissolution of marriage may be filed with the court as part of the divorce process. It requires the inclusion of very specific and accurate information, such as
- the parties' information,
- information regarding any children of the marriage,
- employment status information,
- history of the marriage,
- custody information,
- request for relief,
- service of process information, and
There is a lot of information required by this form. If the form is incomplete, or inaccurate, it will be rejected by the court. This will cost you time, frustration, and money. You may fail to get your divorce or fail to adequately protect your rights if you are not represented by an attorney with years of experience handling Missouri divorces.
Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet
The Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet requests full information on many subjects, especially information about the parties involved in the case. In this sheet, the full social security number is required, and it is why this particular sheet is kept confidential. Certain confidential information contained on this form is not available on the public record and is maintained only for the court's own records.
It requires you to include
- a party type code for each individual,
- full social security numbers,
- information about the parties,
- information about all children of the marriage, and any involved in the divorce proceedings (i.e. children from others not of the marriage but who are involved),
- full addresses,
- attorney names, and
This incredibly important form must be adequately protected. It should be filed correctly to protect your confidential information, especially your social security numbers and those of your children.
Parenting Plan (CAFC501)
A parenting plan is a crucial document that can be very complicated. It outlines decisions agreed to by the parties regarding how the children will be cared for, including the following.
- Choice of schools, including college and any special tutoring.
- Health care choices.
- Church or religious instruction choices.
- Childcare decisions (i.e. daycare, babysitter, etc.).
- Major surgery or other medical procedure choices.
- Orthodonture choices.
- Psychiatric treatment or counseling decisions.
- Child employment decisions.
- Child expenses.
- Birth control or sex education choices.
- Insurance coverage information.
- Daily or everyday routine decisions.
- How emergencies will be handled on behalf of the children.
Most importantly, the parenting plan outlines for the court the decision that have been made regarding custody of the children. Child custody may be one of the following.
- Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share legal rights to the children, including decision making power for all major decisions.
- Sole Legal Custody: One parent has the sole right to make major legal decisions for a child.
- Third Party Custody: A person who is not the parent of the child is named to have custody of the child for some reason.
It will also determine physical custody of the children, concerning where they will be, and when. These decisions are incredibly important and must be properly listed on the form to inform the court of what has been agreed to.
Child Support (Form 14)
As part of the parenting plan, the parties are required to fill out Form 14 to determine the amount of child support a parent is required to provide in support of children of the marriage. Form 14 requires consideration of each parent's income to determine who should pay child support. This will depend on a variety of factors, including the custody arrangements for the children.
Form 14 requires information such as
- monthly gross income,
- monthly support obligations for other children,
- health insurance costs,
- extraordinary child-rearing costs,
- any received child support amounts for other children, and
- reasonable work-related costs of raising children.
Making sure this information is correct the first time is essential. If it is incorrect, you will almost certainly face a long battle to change the child support amounts, or your plan may be rejected by the court. To avoid this frustration and high cost, an attorney can help ensure that the process is done correctly the first time.
Notice of Hearings (CAFC721)
A notice of hearing is required every time a party is required to be in court to attend a hearing. It outlines the type of matter to be heard, the date, and the time of the hearing. It also includes information regarding how service will be given. This information is very important to get right or hearings may be missed, causing great annoyance to the court and higher costs to you.
Consult a Missouri Divorce Attorney
Understanding the process for divorce and properly completing all of the necessary forms can feel overwhelming if you try to face it alone. With the help of experienced Cass County attorney Joshua Wilson, you will go into the divorce process with power, knowledge, and confidence.
Contact the Higher Level Legal Law Firm today at (816) 331-9968 for a consultation.