Family Law Attorney Serving Kansas City, Missouri
Family law encompasses a wide variety of legal matters, including child care, property division, agreements, modification of agreements, and all other issues that can arise within a domestic partnership. These cases address some of the most sensitive issues people may ever face and thus require experienced and empathetic assistance to achieve fair resolutions.
As the family law attorney at Maria Dugan Law, I’ve devoted over 25 years to providing comprehensive and compassionate legal services to families across Kansas City. Taking care of minor children is another aspect of family law that I’m extremely passionate about, and I always aim to secure legal agreements and resolutions that reflect the true best interests of children involved in divorce and separation.
Due to my experience and my firm’s focus on family law, my team understands how emotionally challenging these matters can be for clients. Serving the communities of Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Independence, Jackson County, Cass County, Lafayette County, Clay County, and Platte County, I'm here to provide you with the support and guidance you need during this difficult time.
Divorce in Missouri
Missouri exercises a no-fault approach to divorce, meaning that couples don’t need a reason—beyond the breakdown of their marriage—to seek a divorce. But, the state does require the spouse filing for divorce to prove that the marriage is irreparably broken. If you’re considering divorce in or near Kansas City, I'm here to assist you every step of the way, no matter the complexity of your case.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested depends on the spouses’ capability to reach an amicable agreement on key issues like spousal maintenance (alimony), asset division, child custody, and child support.
An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses can reach an agreement on every issue related to their divorce without the need for legal intervention. The couple collaborates with each other and their respective attorneys to create a settlement agreement that depicts their mutually-decided terms and then submit it for court approval.
Contested divorces are more common. These occur when spouses struggle to see eye-to-eye on one or more divorce matters and need to rely on attorneys to negotiate your terms or have a judge settle them in court.
Whether your divorce is uncontested or contested, it’s important to get legal representation to see that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process. I understand the toll that breaking up a family unit takes on all members. That's why I work diligently with clients to help them make life-changing and difficult decisions that offer fair results to all involved. As an experienced divorce and family law attorney, I can provide you with the skilled advocacy and focused attention you deserve.
Children and Divorce
When children are involved in divorce cases, they should be treated as the top priority in all relevant settlements and agreements. As your attorney, I will suggest strategies and shape solutions that prioritize the well-being of your children and help you navigate any related issues with utmost sensitivity and care.
Determining child custody arrangements requires careful consideration of your child’s best interests. In Missouri, custody is broken down into the concepts of legal custody and physical custody, then further into joint and sole custody.
Legal custody represents who holds the responsibility of making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing; physical custody refers to where the child will live. Separated parents can share legal or physical custody in a joint custody arrangement. Having a joint legal custody agreement means that both parents will share decision-making power; joint physical custody means the child will live with both parents for predetermined periods of time.
With sole legal custody, only one parent has the authority to make decisions about your child’s life and upbringing. Same with sole physical custody—the child will only live with one parent.
Child support is a payment made from one parent to the other that’s meant to help cover the costs of raising the children they have together. The custodial parent—the parent who cares for the child the majority of the time—is the party who typically receives support. While there are exceptions in place, Missouri parents typically have to pay child support until the child turns 18.
Both child custody and support agreements can be modified throughout a child’s life depending on changes in circumstances to your family’s life. Whether you’re crafting an agreement or pursuing a modification, it’s always in your (and your child’s) best interest to work with a trusted family law attorney.
Family Law Attorney Serving Kansas City, Missouri
If you’re navigating family law issues, you need compassionate and knowledgeable representation. Contact Maria Dugan Law in Blue Springs, Missouri, for comprehensive guidance in divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, and more. I'm ready to advocate for your rights and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your legal matter through hands-on, personalized support.