MISSOURI, LLLINOIS, KANSAS & OKLAHOMA DIVORCE LAWYERS
Divorce Lawyers Serving the Midwest in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
At Stange Law Firm, PC, we focus exclusively on divorce and family law in the Midwest. We understand that individuals going through a divorce or separation may feel lost, overwhelmed and betrayed. We are here to help clients rebuild their lives through these difficult times.
All too often, people accuse each other of bad things when the time, emotional energy and money spent really does not make it worthwhile. We believe that there is often a better way. We encourage our clients to make smart decisions and to resolve matters using common sense when possible. This includes considering collaborative divorce and mediation.
However, where this is not an option or does not work, we believe that the best possible way for a client to reach a settlement is to prepare a case for trial. Being prepared for trial can cause a favorable settlement offer to ultimately come because the other party knows that we are ready for court. Even if an acceptable settlement offer does not ever come, being prepared for trial is critical to achieving a favorable result in the family court.
Divorce Lawyers and Separation Attorney — Serving Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and OklahomaFrom separation or annulment to uncontested or contested divorce, we have the resources to handle all aspects of a divorce — no matter how complex. We know the law on divorce and can guide our clients through the process effectively and efficiently.As set forth in their biographies, many of our attorneys have received awards and accolades for divorce and family law. For example, several of of our attorneys have been listed in Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers Magazine and Illinois Super Lawyers Magazine.
Divorce Lawyers Representing Individuals in the MidwestWe represent clients in all aspects of Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma divorces, from initial separations to resolution of all issues related to child custody and child support, as well as all of the financial issues in divorce, including high asset divorce, property division and spousal maintenance (alimony).We understand that each divorce is unique. So, we listen closely to every client and customize our representation accordingly by offering you lawyers at various levels (from junior associate, associate, senior associate, team leader or partner) based on your specific needs. For your convenience, we also have lawyers in various locations in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Helpful Information for Individuals Going Through a Divorce
You can also find out the following topics on our webpage by clicking below or looking at the menus:
High Asset Divorce
What to expect at trial
Legal issues in divorce
Petitioner vs. Respondent in divorce
Questions for divorce attorney
Change of judges in divorce proceedings
Private investigators in divorce
Plan for divorce
Children and divorce
Marital misconduct and divorce
Social media in divorce FAQ
Woman's name change after divorce
Divorce and insurance FAQ
Dating during divorce
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Helpful Divorce Information
Grounds for Divorce in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
Parties can generally get divorced when a there are irreconcilable differences and there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. It is not necessary to show fault in to get divorced, but fault can impact property and debt division and spousal maintenance in Missouri and Kansas.
Residency Requirements in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
If you are going to get divorced, either you or your wife (or both of you) must be a resident in the state, and must have lived in the state for the requisite time period prior to the filing of the Petition. This action should generally be filed in the county where the petitioner resides. Whoever is filing for divorce should generally do so in the county in which they live. In some cases, a motion for a change of venue is a possibility.
Name of the Court and Title of the Action/Parties in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
Here are a few key names for you to make note of. First is the Circuit Court, where the petition for the divorce is filed. The first action is generally called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The final action is generally called the Decree or Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage. Depending on which party is filing the divorce, you are either called the Petitioner (the party filing for divorce) or the Respondent (the one who gets served).
Legal Separation in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
Making the decision to file for a divorce is difficult for many parties. For those individuals who may not yet be ready to take that big next step, there is another option for you. Missouri divorce laws state that parties may file for a legal separation when there is a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. Many of the guidelines remain the same, in regards to things like spousal maintenance, division of property, child support, etc. One or both of the parties must have resided within the state for the required period prior to filing this petition. It is important that you consider all options and factors at hand prior to making any legally binding decisions when it comes to legal separation and dissolution because a legal separation can be converted into a divorce.
Spousal Maintenance Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
According to Missouri and Kansas divorce laws, the court may grant spousal maintenance to either party. This depends on a finding that the party that is seeking spousal maintenance is not able to support themselves and lacks sufficient property to provide for their own needs; or that the party that is seeking spousal maintenance is the guardian of a child whose condition is such that it would be inappropriate for that party to seek outside employment.
The court will take in and consider the following factors in ruling the amount of spousal maintenance to be compensated:
- The time necessary for the spouse seeking support to acquire sufficient education or training
- The comparative earning capacity of each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The obligations and assets of the marriage, both separate and marital
- The duration of the marriage
- The age, physical and mental condition of the spouse seeking support
- The ability of the supporting spouse to meet both his needs and the needs of the spouse seeking support
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- And any other relevant factors
The order establishing spousal maintenance must also state whether the award is modifiable or non-modifiable. If the award is modifiable, the court may modify the award only upon a showing that the circumstances have changed so considerably as to make the terms unreasonable. In Illinois, however, there is a formula used to calculate maintenance in certain cases where income is below a certain level.
Distribution of Property in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
Missouri divorce laws call for an equitable distribution of assets. This means that the court will divide the marital property between the parties as it deems equitable and fair, after setting aside each party’s separate property. This essentially means that you get to keep what belongs to you (property you owned prior to the marriage) and all shared property (property you owned during the marriage) will be divided equally between you and your ex-spouse. The court will consider the following factors in dividing the property between the parties:
- The economic circumstances of the parties at the time of the division of property
- The contribution of each spouse to the marital estate
- The value of the non-marital property set apart to each spouse
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- Custodial arrangements for minor children
Child Custody Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma and Kansas
Missouri and Kansas courts will determine the issue of child custody based upon the best interests of the child. A partial list of aspects that the court will consider in determining the best interests of the child include:
- The wishes of the parents, the need of the child for a frequent and meaningful relationship with both parents
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with both the parents and any siblings
- The wishes of the child
Prior to awarding custody, the court shall first consider awarding joint physical and legal custody to both parents. If the • court decides that joint physical and legal custody awarded to both parents is not in the best interests of the child, the court shall next consider joint physical custody, with one party being awarded sole legal custody. If that arrangement is also found to not be in the best interests of the child, the court shall next consider joint legal custody with one party granted sole physical custody. If that arrangement is not in the best interests of the child, the court would next consider sole custody to either parent, or a third-party custody arrangement.
Note that in Illinois, physical custody is referred to as parenting time, while legal custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibilities.
In Missouri, there will be no preference given to either party based upon the parent’s age, sex or financial status, nor because of the age or sex of the child, in determining custody.
When custody of a child is at issue in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage the court shall order the parents to attend educational classes regarding the effects of custody and dissolution of marriage upon the children. The court may also order the parents to attend an alternative dispute resolution program to resolve any disputes regarding issues of custody or visitation.
Child Support in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
As with every other family law issue, the court will determine the matter of child support. The court may order either or both parties to pay an equitable amount necessary to support their child or children. Pursuant to state guidelines, some of the factors the court will take into consideration while determining the amount of child support include:
- The financial needs and resources of the child
- The financial resources and needs of the parents
- The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not terminated
- The child’s physical and legal custody arrangements
Legally, your liability to pay child support shall end upon emancipation or often the death of the child, the marriage of the child, the child entering active duty in the military, the child becoming self-sufficient, the child reaching the age of emancipation years of age, or, if the child is enrolled in a secondary school program of education, when the child reaches reaches a certain age or completes school. Note that the laws vary in each state and it’s important to discuss the particulars with an attorney.
You may also be required to provide health insurance for your child. In addition, if you were already paying for health insurance for your children and spouse prior to the divorce, you are obligated to continue paying for it from the time of filing until the divorce is final (meaning you cannot cancel health insurance for your children and spouse during the divorce proceedings).
Name Change in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma
A spouse may request a name change back to their former or maiden name. This request may be granted by the court upon the divorce.
Do I Need an Aggressive Divorce Lawyer in Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma?
Sometimes, individuals indicate that they want an aggressive divorce lawyer to represent them in their case. The reality is that aggression is rarely persuasive to a divorce court judge. What most clients should seek in a family law attorney is somebody who zealously represents their interests and who provides competent, communicative and diligent representation.
What About the Cost?
Some clients have questions about the cost of their divorce. For individuals with questions about this, please read our FAQ page.
Contact Divorce Attorneys in MO, IL, KS and OK in Saint Louis (Clayton, Belleville,
Maryville, St. Charles, Arnold & Elsewhere), Kansas City (Lee’s Summit and Overland Park),
Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Topeka, Tulsa and beyond.
If you are looking to find and hire a divorce lawyer, contact us online or by phone to schedule a confidential consultation at
any of our convenient locations by calling 855-805-0595.
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Stange Law Firm, PC
120 S. Central Avenue, Suite 450
St. Louis (Clayton), Missouri 63105