Even though the powers that be in Missouri have undertaken steps to expedite the divorce process in Missouri, it is still a taxing ordeal. When there are minor, unemancipated children born of the parties/parents, a Court may be inclined to appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child(ren)’s interests in the litigation. The appointment of a guardian ad litem is largely discretionary by the Court, but, based on experience, the appointment is usually made when there is a large dispute over physical or legal custody of the child(ren). However, it should be noted that in cases where physical abuse or neglect is alleged by a party/parent, a judge is obligated to appoint a guardian ad litem.
The effect of such an appointment is that the costs of the litigation goes up because customarily both parties/parents are jointly and severally liable for guardian ad litem fees. In fact, it’s usually a 50/50 split.
The fees, costs and expenses of divorce largely depend on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. For contested matters, because the professional rules of conduct expressly state that an attorney fee cannot be contingent in a domestic case, legal fees usually must be accrued on an hourly basis. If, however, the matter is uncontested, we often handle the matter on a flat, fixed fee basis.
Contact us with questions.