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Family Law

When it's time to go your separate ways, even if you agree on everything, you should have an attorney represent your interests to ensure that your rights are not being violated. Family law matters are not as simple as they may seem because you are essentially breaking a contract. This is the contract that you entered into with your spouse when you said your vows. While it may seem unfeeling to look at your marriage as a contract, it makes it easier for you and your spouse to understand why the process is so involved, even when you agree on everything.

Equitable Distribution

First, Missouri is an equitable distribution state. This means that property is not necessarily divided equally. The court takes several things into consideration when allocating assets and liabilities to each spouse. If you both have about the same income, the chances are that the division of assets and liabilities are going to be closer to equal if no other factors such as alimony, children and special circumstances need to be taken into consideration.

“No Fault” Divorce - Family Lawyer Raymore MO

Missouri is a limited “no fault” state, which means that you don't have to prove any allegations in order to get divorced. In most cases, a plea of irreconcilable differences is all that is needed in the petition for dissolution of marriage.

Child Custody and Visitation/Shared Parenting

If you have children and you cannot decide on a custody and visitation schedule, the court will do it for you. It is always better if you can work out your own schedule so that both parents can see the children as often as possible. It's always in the best interest of the children to have as much contact with each parent as possible. 
Furthermore, if you have work schedules that don't conform with the 9 to 5 or even 8 to 4 schedule that the court assumes, it's better to work out time sharing yourself. This way, you'll be able to make the best of time sharing. Some families even opt to share custody equally. The children might spend a week with one parent and then a week with the other. Holidays must also be figured into the schedule, too. Most spouses choose to alternate the major holidays.

Child Support

Child support is based on the parties' combined incomes. The statutes provide for a formula to determine the amount each spouse has to pay toward the care and upbringing of their children. Even if you share custody equally, one spouse may still have to pay the other if he or she makes significantly more than the other spouse. 
Child care, insurance premiums and medical costs are also included in the child support worksheet so that as much of the care as possible is covered. Co-pays are usually split between the parties as they are incurred.

Property Division

All property is divided between you and your spouse. The court uses its judgment to determine how to equitably divide the property, including real estate. Equitable distribution is based on your incomes and other assets you may own outside of the marriage. 
Since some things, such as a house that is not going to be sold and some retirement accounts, cannot be easily liquidated, one party may get more of another type of asset so that the other can get the house or the retirement account. It's almost always better for you to decide who is getting which properties, especially when you have assets that cannot be liquidated.

Alimony/Spousal Support

Spousal support may or may not be awarded by the court, which has quite a bit of discretion. The requesting party must show he or she needs the alimony. The court will look at several factors including how long you have been married, how assets and liabilities have been divided, whether children are involved, your conduct during the marriage and several other factors.


When you file a contested divorce – a divorce where you and your spouse can't agree, you may have to attend a mediation. Mediation is beneficial, even if you come to a partial agreement. This means that the process is less stressful for you since the trial court won't have to rule on those factors that you can come to an agreement on.

Post Degree Modification

Sometimes, once you are divorced, your spouse may not abide by the final judgment or the settlement agreement. In that case, you could bring your case back to court for an order that directs your spouse to abide by the document. You may also want to change the terms of the final judgment or the settlement agreement because life's circumstances have changed. You can petition the court for a new agreement pertaining to that factor.

Contact The Higher Level Legal Law Firm

Whether you are filing for divorce, have been served with divorce or need to file or respond to a post degree modification, contact The Higher Level Legal Law Firm in Raymore, MO for a consult. Source

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