8 steps to filing for a divorce
Outline to file for divorce in Kansas City
There will be some variation between counties and states
1) Hire an attorney that specializes in divorce in Kansas City – View Anthony Moreno’s Bio to see if he is the right attorney for you. Anthony has been honored as Top 40 under 40 Family Lawyers in USA
Grounds for Divorce (Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.025, et seq.)
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage ("no-fault divorce")
- The respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent
- The respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent
- The respondent has abandoned the petitioner for a continuous period of at least six months preceding the presentation of the petition
- The parties have lived separate and apart by mutual consent for a continuous period of 12 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition
- The parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least twenty-four months preceding the filing of the petition
2) Since you are filing first, you are the “Petitioner” and therefore your family lawyer must draft and file the “Petition for Dissolution/Divorce”.
In the Petition, you are making sworn statements to the Court about where you both live, whether or not you have children in common, when and where you were married, if the Court needs to divide property, etc.
3) Along with the Petition the Court requires a handful of other documents that need to be filed to get the case started.
These documents vary by jurisdiction, but typically include a Confidential Information Sheet, an Income and Expense Statement, a Statement of Marital and Non-Marital Assets and Debts, and a Motion to have the other party served by a private process server or by a county deputy.
4) Once you have all of the appropriate documents and filing fees submitted to the Court, the Court clerk will issue a Summons requiring the other party to “Answer” your Petition and appear in court on a specific date.
It is your family lawyer’s job to “serve” the Summons and Petition on the other party and provide proof to the Court that you have served the appropriate Notice in a timely fashion, typically within 30 days of filing the Petition.
5) After the other party, known as the “Respondent,” has been served, they have between 21 and 30 days (varies by State) to file an “Answer” to your Petition.
They must either “Admit” or “Deny” the allegations contained in your Petition. They may also at this point, file a “Counter-Petition” where they can ask for a divorce from you on their terms.
Your family lawyer will have to draft and file an “Answer” to their Counter-Petition with your help and on your behalf.
6) Once all of the above is completed…you’re off and running. As you can see, there is a lot of front-loaded work involved in filing for divorce.
After all of the above work is completed though, the process slows down a bit. Lawyers begin requesting “Discovery” from each other, which can include providing pay stubs, tax returns, retirement statements, home appraisals, mortgage statements, personal property appraisals, and answers to “Interrogatories,” (which are questions asked of the parties under oath, to unearth where all of the marriage’s assets and debts are located, along with trying to determine if any marital misconduct has taken place).
During this time, Kansas City divorce attorney will be in contact with you to obtain the requested information and to discuss the case’s progression with you.
7) After the “Discovery” process is completed, both sides then typically have enough information to decide if the parties can make an offer to settle the case without a trial.
Court’s almost always require that the parties attend at least 2 hours of mediation to attempt to resolve their issues without a trial.
8) If the parties reach an agreement, whether through mediation, a settlement conference with the other party and his/her lawyer, or through settlement negotiations between the family lawyers, the final step is to draft the final Divorce Decree and Marital Settlement Agreement.
If custody of children is involved, the Parenting Plan spelling out custody and parenting time will be included in the Decree or as a referenced document.
As long as both parties are represented by attorneys, a final court date is usually not necessary and the parties can get Court approval by signing an “Affidavit” where they give their testimony as to their agreement so the Court can sign off on the final Decree, confident that everyone has made an informed decision.
If you have questions about getting a divorce in Kansas City, and need help immediately contact divorce attorney Anthony Moreno here.
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