Divorce can be an emotional and difficult process. Families are faced with disputes over very important topics including custody, support, relocation, maintenance, and property division. While these disputes are often unavoidable, the way in which the disputes are handled can play a significant role in your future and financial health, as well as the health, happiness and safety of your children.
In some situations, the parties are able to sit down, discuss the situation, and come to an agreement as to child support and custody, as well as the distribution of marital property and debts. These divorces are called Uncontested Divorces or Kitchen Table Divorces. In these cases the parties often need a lawyer to draft the proper paperwork and get the court to order the divorce. This is by far the fastest and most affordable way to get divorced!
At the St. Charles-based law office of Flesner Wentzel, we understand the importance of handling these issues efficiently and effectively, and our experienced divorce attorneys will work with you to achieve your legal goals.
Understanding Uncontested Divorce
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Uncontested Divorce in Missouri.
Do both parties need a lawyer?
The answer to this is that it depends on what both parties are comfortable with. There are state provided forms that the parties can fill out and file with the Court to get divorced without involving any lawyers, but that process often takes much longer and often ends up in people mistakenly agreeing to putting things they didn’t mean to in their divorce decree or forgetting to include something that was agreed to. We recommend that everyone be represented in connection with a divorce.
Can one lawyer represent both sides in a divorce?
No! Many people contact our office and ask for us to represent both sides or say their spouse has suggested that they use one lawyer. It is not ethical and against the Rules of Professional Conduct for a single lawyer to represent both sides of a divorce, even if both parties agree to the terms. Even when the paperwork contains the terms agreed to, it is possible to make the documents favor one side or the other.
At Flesner Wentzel, our divorce lawyers will represent the side of a divorce that hires our firm and will draft the paperwork as they direct us. Any other lawyer is likely doing the same. If the other side has hired the lawyer to draft the paperwork in an uncontested divorce, you may want to hire their own lawyer to review the final paperwork before signing.
How long will it take if the divorce is uncontested?
Missouri has a mandatory 30 day waiting period between the time the divorce papers are served on or accepted by the party who is not filing and the time the final judgment can be entered by the Court. If you both agree to everything and have everything we need to know to draft the papers and both sign the same day, you could be done in 31 days.
What is the difference between an Uncontested Divorce and a Case that is Settled or a Default Judgment?
Many people are confused about whether a divorce is uncontested. A divorce is uncontested if you and your spouse have agreed about how to resolve all of the issues in your dissolution prior to getting attorneys involved. In an uncontested dissolution, all the attorneys are doing is drafting paperwork setting forth the terms of your agreement and making sure that paperwork is properly filed and signed by the Court. The paperwork you sign will be a consent judgment.
A divorce is contested if the parties are still negotiating when the attorney becomes involved or if no agreement has been reached by the parties at all when the attorney gets involved. Those cases are “Contested”. Cases that are contested when attorneys get involved often do and should resolve later without going to trial and then settlement paperwork is prepared the same way it would have been if the case was initially uncontested.
A case is not considered “Uncontested” if the other side cannot be located. In most cases, when you cannot find your spouse, the Court will allow you to publish a notice in the newspaper to serve them and then will allow you to take a default judgment when they don’t show up to court. It is not uncontested, because your spouse hasn’t agreed to the terms, but you are likely to get what you request because the spouse is not there to request anything differently.
Uncontested Divorce Attorneys in Missouri Lawyers
Are you ready for an uncontested divorce, but worried about filing the right papers? Contact Flesner Wentzel for a free consultation with a family law attorney. Call our office at 636-442-4529. Se habla Español.