Divorce Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
Although divorce continues to be an incredibly common occurrence in the United States as it is in much of the world, not many people are fully prepared for what the process will look like and what they’ll need to do. Because of this, you’ll likely find it necessary to work with a family law attorney who can educate you about the process so you can make informed decisions about your future.
At Maria Dugan Law, I’m able to represent clients in and around the Kansas City, Missouri, area including Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Independence, Jackson County, Cass County, Lafayette County, Clay County, and Platte County. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce or have recently been served divorce papers, call my office today to schedule a consultation.
Divorce in Missouri
There are two main options for divorce in Missouri (technically called a “dissolution of marriage”): contested and uncontested divorce.
If you’re pursuing a contested divorce, it means that one spouse disagrees with the other about some key issue (such as child custody, alimony, or asset division) and they need to take their case before a judge to make a determination.
Contested divorces almost always take longer to complete and are more expensive since both spouses typically hire legal counsel to represent them throughout the entire process. Additionally, whatever the judge decides becomes legally binding and the divorcing couple must adhere to it.
In an uncontested divorce, the two spouses are able to come to an agreement on all issues. However, this doesn’t mean that you do this all on your own.
You may wish to hire a lawyer to consult with and help you negotiate, or you and your spouse may choose to work with a mediator who can help facilitate more productive conversations. If you choose the latter route, know that the mediator cannot make any decisions for you. Whatever agreement you come to can then be written up in a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and submitted to the county judge for approval.
If you are facing a divorce, you deserve the support of a compassionate yet diligent family law attorney who has years of experience on their side. Get in touch with me today, and don’t face this alone.
Eligibility and Grounds to File for Divorce in Missouri
Before getting started, you should always double-check your eligibility for divorce in Missouri. Each state has its own criteria for divorcing couples. In Missouri, you must meet the following requirements:
You have to live in the state for at least 90 days before filing.
You have to live in the county that you’re filing in.
You must agree to the mandatory waiting period of 30 days after filing.
Grounds for divorce refers to the reason or cause of the divorce. Missouri is known as a no-fault divorce state. This means that in order to get a divorce, one partner only needs to say that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and cannot be repaired.
On the other hand, if one spouse does not agree that the marriage is broken, a judge will have to issue a fault-based divorce which means one spouse acted in such a way to destroy the marriage. This could include adultery, abuse, neglect, abandonment, or that the couple has been living apart for one to two years.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
One common question my clients ask is, “How long does a divorce take in Missouri?” This is an understandable question, since divorces can often be overwhelming. While there is no set answer to this, the total amount of time it will take is dependent on several factors.
The quickest divorces can be completed within a few months, while others can take over a year to complete. Ex-partners are more likely to have a shorter divorce process if they have open communication, if they have no children together, and if they have relatively few joint assets. Couples who have been married a long time, cannot have productive conversations, have joint children, or who have complicated assets and finances are more likely to have a longer divorce.
If you’re concerned about the length of time your divorce may take, share your concerns with your family law attorney. They’ll be able to advise you on certain steps you can take to speed up the process as well as ways to keep costs down.
Divorce Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri
If you’re in the Kansas City, Missouri, area and are looking for a divorce lawyer who not only brings years of experience but also a compassionate and personable approach, call me at Maria Dugan Law today. I am prepared to fight for your rights, guide you through the divorce process, and advocate for your best interests.