Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a paternity matter? Do I have to take a DNA test? A paternity matter is the legal avenue available to non-married parents to establish custody, visitation, and/or child support. If all parties agree that the paternity of the Father is not at issue, a DNA test is not necessary. However, a party may request a DNA test if the paternity of the Father is at question.
- My spouse cheated on me. Will this help me in my divorce? Missouri does not require a party to prove fault to request a divorce. The party filing for divorce must simply allege that irreconcilable differences have led to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. However, you may still introduce evidence of cheating, or marital misconduct in certain circumstances, including the request for an unequal division of marital assets.
- What is an uncontested divorce? An uncontested divorce is where both parties have reached an agreement on all issues including the division of assets and debts, child support, child custody, and maintenance. Uncontested divorces are often substantially less expensive, completed in less time than a contested divorce, and involve less conflict between spouses. However, if there are complex property issues, child custody concerns, or one or both spouses are being unreasonable, an uncontested divorce may not be possible or in the parties’ best interest.
- Can my spouse and I share an attorney if our divorce is uncontested? No, an attorney cannot ethically represent both parties as even if the divorce is uncontested, as the parties have competing interests.
- How much does a divorce cost? No two cases are exactly the same. The cost of a divorce varies greatly depending on several factors, including, but not limited to: whether the case is contested or uncontested, whether there are complex property issues, whether there are children or custody issues involved, and the actions of the parties.
- How is child support calculated? In Missouri, the Courts utilizes a Form 14 calculator to determine child support. Information regarding the parties, including, their income, certain expenses, number of children, and amount of overnight time the children spend with each parent is utilized in this calculation.
- How long will it take to get a divorce? From the time of filing to the date of Judgment generally takes a couple of months (if uncontested) to a year to complete depending on the complexity of the matter, Court scheduling, and other factors. However, it is possible for a divorce to take more than one (1) year to be completed.
- Will I have to go to Court? If your matter is contested, you will have to go to Court at least once. If your matter is uncontested and both parties are represented by counsel, you may be able to submit your matter to the Court by Affidavit without the necessity of appearing before the Court.
- Will I have to pay alimony? In Missouri, alimony is called maintenance. The Court may grant maintenance to a party if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable to support him or herself through appropriate employment.