Divorce 2018-06-29T03:25:07+00:00


We help you make decisions confidently so you begin the next phase of your life with peace of mind.

The decision to end a relationship may be the most emotionally challenging crossroads in your life. Family Advocates Law Firm works closely with other professionals in the St. Louis area to provide you with the compassion, concern, and expertise you need during this difficult time. Family Advocates Law Firm works closely with mental health professionals to help offer you the emotional support and care you need during the separation process. In some cases, you may also need an order of protection because you have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse and require additional security. We will offer you guidance to help you make decisions confidently and begin the next phase of your life with peace of mind.  

Dividing your Assets

During a contested divorce, you will also need professional support to make rational decisions concerning child custody, visitation, support, and division of marital property and debts. Whether you have filed for a divorce or been served with papers, you will have many questions and decisions ahead of you. In terms of financial decisions, your assets and debts must be divided and allocated between the parties, and any separate property must be set aside to the rightful owner. With a few exceptions, the assets and debts acquired during the marriage will be subject to division.

In Missouri, the Court is required to provide an “equitable distribution” of marital debts and assets. Although “equitable” does not necessarily mean a 50/50 allocation, the Court will assist the parties in reaching a fair distribution, given the circumstances specific to your marriage.  Family Advocates Law Firm is here to analyze the assets and debts unique to your portfolio, and will advocate to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

Equitable Distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 allocation

We will further work to promote negotiations during your divorce, to increase the chances of a better outcome. During negotiations, the parties are essentially in control of their own fate and can arrive at terms that are mutually agreeable. During negotiations, we will work to help you distinguish between what you want and what you need to be content going forward. Although negotiations are not always pleasant, we will keep you focused to help diffuse potentially explosive discussions.

Assets and debts may include:

  • equity in your home

  • savings accounts

  • closely held businesses

  • pension funds

  • stock portfolios

  • professional licenses

  • vehicles

  • retirement accounts

  • real estate investments

  • notes

  • mortgages

  • credit cards

  • student loan debts

Stages to Divorce


The initial pleading that is filed with the Court in the spouse’s county of residence, which requests the Court to grant a divorce or legal separation. The person filing the petition is referred to as the “petitioner.”


The person answering the petition is referred to as the “respondent.” The respondent must file an answer to the initial pleading, usually within thirty (30) days of being served. Within the answer, the respondent may admit or deny the allegations contained within the petition.

Temporary Hearing

The temporary hearing is a hearing before the Court during the litigation to determine the rules that will govern the conduct of the parties until the divorce is final. The Court may make orders concerning child support, custody, spousal support, and the use of marital property at a temporary hearing. The orders entered by the Court are temporary orders and are valid until revised by agreement of the parties or further order of the Court.


The exchange of information between the parties during the litigation. The exchange may be informal, by agreement, or in written form by sending requests and questions to the opposing party. The discovery process may also involve oral depositions or subpoenas to third parties.

Settlement or Trial

The parties may conduct a settlement meeting to resolve all issues prior to trial. If a settlement is reached, the parties will sign a divorce decree and submit it to the Court for approval. If the parties are unable to agree, they will go to trial and have their case heard by the judge. At trial, both parties will have an opportunity to present evidence to prove to the Court their side of the case.

Not sure if divorce is the right path for you? Looking for an alternative to divorce? Check out our info on Legal Separation in Missouri. We look forward to discussing both options with you to find out what works best for your situation.

No matter which avenue of divorce or legal separation is right for your family, you will need an attorney who will take the time to understand you and be responsive to your needs and desires. Family Advocates Law Firm offers a proven record of successful results in divorce and legal separation matters.

Please schedule a Coffee and Consultation so we can best address your family’s needs.

Still have questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for further assistance.

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