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Category: Family Law

Marital Property Division: Disclosure, Omission, Fraud, Mistake

Whether intentionally as part of a scheme to conceal and defraud, or an honest oversight, omissions occur in property disclosure statements and divorce decrees. In Missouri, the division of marital property — essentially all property and debt accrued/accumulated during the course of a marriage — is final and is not subject to division. Section 452.360.2, […]

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Ex Parte & Full Orders of Protection: “Household Members”

Orders of protection are essentially restraining orders entered by the Court in which one person (a respondent) is prohibited from contacting or disturbing the peace of another (a petitioner). Generally, they may only be granted when there has been “abuse” or “stalking.” Abuse may be committed in many ways, including by assault, battery, coercion or […]

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Retroactive Child Support Orders

During several divorce, paternity or child support cases, a long period of time can elapse between the filing of the petition and when the court enters its final judgment and order. It is quite common for cases to last 18+ months, particularly in contested cases. Knowing this, parties will often string a case out as […]

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Changes/Modifications/Adjustments to Spousal Support

In Missouri, spousal maintenance/alimony can only be awarded when, among other things, the requesting spouse cannot meet his or her reasonable needs through property or employment. Whitworth v. Whitworth, 878 S.W.2d 479, 485 (Mo. Ct. App. 1994). A maintenance order can be permanent or short term. Depending on the language in a divorce judgment, a spouse’s maintenance/alimony […]

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How is inheritance handled in a divorce?

The general rule of thumb in divorces is that all property accrued during the marriage is subject to division by the Court. The Court has very broad discretion in dividing this marital property. There are major exceptions to the marital property rule which take certain categories of property directly outside of the division analysis, including property acquired by gift […]

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Child Custody Modification/Changes

Judicial child custody orders can be modified if the Court finds that a changs has occurred in the circumstances of the child or his/her custodian and that modification is necessary to serve the child’s best interests. Section 452.410.1. Before a custody can be modified, there must be a significant or substantial change in circumstances. Kinner v. […]

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Criteria for Maintenance/Alimony Award

In divorce proceedings in Missouri, courts have discretion in awarding maintenance — which are payments made from one spouse to another spouse to enable the spouse receiving support to meet his/her reasonable needs. Numerous factors are considered in awarding maintenance and the court has some flexibility in deciding how to structure the maintenance (i.e., lump sum, […]

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Division of Marital Assets in Divorce

When dividing marital assets in a divorce, a trial court has broad discretion and is to consider several factors. The specific factors a trial court should consider when dividing marital property are as follows: (1) the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability […]

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Minor/Child Name Change — Contested, Consensual

An adult name change (i.e., an individual over age 18) is a relatively straightforward procedure. Things become procedurally more complex when a minor’s name is to be changed. Among other things, a Court approved “next friend” must represent the minor in Court because a minor generally lacks capacity to represent himself/herself. When the parents or […]

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