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How to File for Divorce in St Charles County MO
Understanding the divorce process better prepares you for understanding how the legal system will treat your case.
Grounds for divorce in St Charles County MO
Missouri is a no-fault divorce state. There is little to state or prove to begin proceedings. One party simply declares that the relationship is irrecoverably broken and there is no hope in saving it. The court then moves forward with the legal process to formally dissolve the marriage.
Steps to filing for divorce in Missouri
While no two divorces are the same, these are common steps taken to completely dissolve your marriage.
1. Find out whether you’ll need a Missouri divorce lawyer or not
Many individuals attempt to be their own legal counsel to avoid the cost of a divorce lawyer. Representing yourself can save on divorce fees but may cost more down the line. Without legal representation, you run the risk of paying more in alimony, child support, inequitable property distribution decisions, and unjust child custody rulings.
If you chose to hire the services of a divorce attorney, you should first determine if they are authorized to practice law in the county where you’ll file for divorce. If children below the age of 18 are involved, make sure that your attorney has the experience to handle family law matters like child custody and child support.
2. Initiate the divorce process
Determine where to file for divorce. You must meet the following requirements to get a divorce in Missouri:
- You must file for divorce in the county where you or your spouse resides. Issues on jurisdiction can be explained by your divorce lawyer.
- At least one of you must have lived in Missouri for at least 90 days before the divorce is filed.
3. File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage document
Begin the divorce process by filing a joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage after you and your spouse reach an agreement on all issues. The Dissolution of Marriage package is a 66-page document furnished by the Missouri Supreme Court. Your petition must be submitted with various other supporting documents that come with the package. Pay particular attention to the document entitled Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement. This outlines asset and debt distribution.
The required documents are filed with the court and copies are provided to your spouse. You will attend a court hearing where a judge will ensure that all of your documents are in order. The judge may ask a few questions and then enter your Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
4. Fill out the suitable family and parenting documentation if needed
This step only applies when the divorce involves children under the age of 18.
You may need to fill out forms which include:
- Mother’s Petition for Declaration of Paternity Forms Packet for mothers who wish to declare custody or file for child support.
- Father’s Petition for Declaration of Paternity Forms Packet filed by the father of the children.
You should seek the advice of a family law attorney before filing paternity forms involving children.
The Parenting Plan form is only required for couples who have minor children. This separate document outlines the children’s schedule with each parent as well as other custody issues about how the children will be provided for after the divorce. It will ask questions regarding child custody and child support and decide how the Family Courts will deal with your case.
5. Submit your completed forms to the court
Hand your completed forms to your local circuit court for filing and reviewing. Missouri requires a filing fee that you must pay upon submission of your documents. Filing fees vary from county to county.
Consult an experienced St Charles County divorce attorney
Shea Kohl Law, LC is at your service if you are considering a divorce. Talk to us about your situation and let us help you make the right choices in your case.
Contact us today at (636) 946-9999 for your free consultation or email us through our online contact form.
Call Shea Kohl Law, LC at (636) 946-9999
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.