Nobody enters a marriage and expects it to fail. However, sometimes a divorce is in the best interests of you and your spouse. Even if the decision to separate is mutual, disentangling your partnership can be extremely difficult and emotionally demanding—but it does not have to be bitter or hostile. A dedicated Ballwin divorce lawyer from our firm is here to help you unravel your legal and financial connection with your spouse as smoothly as possible.
At Jones Family Law Group, LLC, we understand how complicated this process can be, both personally and logistically. Whether the two of you communicate well and want what is best for each other, or you are in a period of high conflict, our experienced family law professionals can handle these communications and confidently guide you through the entire divorce process. Let us help you start your new life on the right foot and be well-prepared for the future. Contact our team today to discover your legal options.
Basic Requirements for Divorce
One of the legal requirements for divorce in Missouri is that one of you must have lived in the state for the 90 days preceding the divorce filing. The spouse who files for divorce does not need to be the spouse who lives in the state—either of you can file as long as one of you has met the 90-day requirement.
As an attorney can further explain, there is only one legal basis for divorce in Ballwin: the marriage is irretrievably broken. Having only one, no-fault ground for divorce means that neither of you must prove the other’s wrongdoings have caused the marriage to end. However, sometimes a spouse may disagree that your marriage cannot be saved. In this case, Missouri Revised Statute § 452.320 says that the spouse who wants the divorce must prove that the other spouse:
- Committed adultery
- Engages in intolerable behavior
- Abandoned you for at least six months
If you and your spouse have been living separately for at least one year, this separation could serve as grounds for a divorce. However, if one spouse does not want a divorce, a separation must last at least two years for the court to grant a marriage dissolution.
Uncontested Divorce Process
An uncontested divorce is often the quickest and least expensive way to dissolve a marriage, but it does not work for everyone. Couples without children and limited marital property often benefit from an uncontested divorce. However, couples with children and more complicated finances can still pursue an uncontested divorce if they are on the same page and communicate well.
Divorcing requires you and your spouse to divide your marital property, decide on alimony, and arrange for your children’s custody and support. If you and your spouse agree on all of these issues and put your agreements in a document you both willingly sign, you could pursue an uncontested divorce. An experienced attorney serving Ballwin can help you put your agreements into an acceptable legal form.
From there, you and your spouse would submit the divorce petition and your agreements to the court for approval. A judge will review your documents to ensure they comply with the law. If you have children, the judge also will consider whether the agreements support their best interests. If so, after a 30-day waiting period, the judge could issue a divorce decree.
Contested Divorce Process
Although the phrase “contested divorce” implies anger, many contested divorces proceed smoothly. Contested divorce simply means that the couple decided to start divorce proceedings before they reached an agreement on all the issues they need to resolve before ending their marriage.
Divorcing couples must separate their financial lives. This means that you and your spouse must divide your marital property, which is anything either of you acquired during the marriage, with a few narrow exceptions. You must decide whether one spouse will get alimony and, if so, how much and for how long. If you share children, you must make a detailed parenting plan that describes issues such as where the children will live, how much time the other parent will have with them, who will pay for their health insurance, and how much child support the non-custodial parent will pay.
An attorney serving Ballwin could work with your spouse’s lawyer to help negotiate these issues. In many cases, spouses find that working with a mediator can help them agree on the issues that divide them. Once you and your spouse agree on these issues, your attorneys can submit their documents to the court, and the divorce “converts” to an uncontested divorce. In rare cases, a couple might never agree, in which case a judge holds a trial and decides for them.
Trust a Ballwin Divorce Attorney to Handle Your Case
Our team understands how challenging it can be to dissolve a marriage and how important it is for you to meet your goals in your divorce. Working with a capable Ballwin divorce lawyer from Jones Family Law Group, LLC, could help this process move forward smoothly and efficiently. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation if you are seriously considering pursuing a divorce.