St. Louis Family Law Attorneys Experienced in Divorce & Legal Separation
The attorneys at Raza & Jones, LLC provide experienced and detail-oriented legal representation for divorces and legal separations in St. Louis, MO.
In Missouri, spouses have a few different options when it comes to bringing an end to their marriage. If your marriage is irretrievably broken, you can file for a divorce. If your marriage is over but you are unable to file for divorce (e.g., for religious reasons), a legal separation allows you to remain legally married while living separate lives. Under certain circumstances, seeking an annulment is an option as well.
How do you choose the path that is best for you?
At Raza & Jones, LLC, we guide spouses in the St. Louis area through the process of filing for divorce, legal separation, or annulment. During the process, you will face many important decisions. We are here to help you every step of the way. What happens during your divorce, legal separation, or annulment will affect you and your family for years to come. Our attorneys will help you make informed decisions and stand up for your rights so that you can feel comfortable and confident in the outcome of the process.
An Overview of Your Process Options for Divorce and Legal Separation in Missouri
A divorce brings a formal end to a couple’s marriage. Once your divorce is final, you and your spouse will no longer be married. However, there are a number of divorce process options available, depending on the needs of you and your spouse. For example, if you and your spouse have the ability to communicate effectively with one another, and there is no contention over finances or other matters related to the divorce, you may not need to go to court at all. Read more here about the different process options available to couples seeking a divorce.
A legal separation is similar to a divorce in most respects; however, at the end of the process, the spouses remain legally married. Couples in Missouri frequently choose to pursue a legal separation instead of getting divorced for religious and other reasons. In a legal separation, it is important to work through all of the same issues you would address in a divorce and formalize the terms of your separation in a comprehensive agreement (just like you would in a divorce).
An annulment is different from a legal separation or divorce in that once an annulment is finalized, it is as though the parties were never legally married. There are only limited grounds to seek an annulment in Missouri, and individuals who are interested in an annulment are well-advised to hire an experienced attorney.
Protecting Your Rights in Your Legal Separation or Divorce
In both divorces and legal separations, there are many issues that need to be thoroughly addressed. At Raza & Jones, LLC we will work closely with you throughout the process, explaining your options, giving you advice, and making sure that you have all of the information you need to make informed decisions.
The primary issues involved in Missouri divorces and legal separations are:
Division of Marital Property
In a divorce, marital property is subject to what the law calls, “equitable distribution.” This means that your shared property – such as your home, bank accounts, furniture, and other assets – will need to be divided in such a way as to promote a fair (though not necessarily equal) allocation. For couples with significant assets, this can be a complex process; in any case, it is important to shield your non-marital assets from the equitable distribution.
If you or your spouse will be seeking spousal support (known as “maintenance” in Missouri), this is an issue that you will need to thoroughly address as well. There are different types of spousal support and different ways it can be paid, and you need to make sure that you are fully aware of your spouse’s finances in order to avoid paying too much or receiving too little.
Child Custody and Support
For couples with children, custody and child support issues are often some of the most emotionally-charged issues involved in their legal separation or divorce. Missouri has set guidelines for calculating child support, and there are certain factors that go into establishing custody and visitation rights based upon the best interests of the children.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order
If you or your spouse has retirement assets that will be split during your separation or divorce, you will need what is known as a “qualified domestic relations order.” The qualified domestic relations order allows for distribution of retirement funds to a former spouse where such distributions would otherwise be prohibited by federal law.
Speak with an Attorney at Raza & Jones, LLC Today
For more information about seeking a divorce, legal separation, or annulment in Missouri, contact the St. Louis law offices of Raza & Jones, LLC. Call (314) 449-8830 or contact us online for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.