St. Louis Divorce Process
It is safe to say that the divorce process in St. Louis is not fast. Getting started involves gathering records and information, having an attorney prepare to file the paperwork, and participating in mandatory document exchange with the opposing party.
Pre-Trial or Settlement Conferences
There will likely be pre-trial or settlement conferences, where the attorneys meet with the judge to discuss what discovery needs to be done, where they are in the case, what the facts are, what is going on, and what needs to be done so the judge can give some guidance on the case.
Most cases are going to have multiple settlement conferences, so every couple of months, the parties will go to court. Sometimes, people may become frustrated with this process because often times, not a lot may happen. If you cannot settle the case either between or during these conferences, the judge will set the case for trial. Depending on the judge, the trial date may take place about a year after the original filing date in St. Louis.
How Long Does the Divorce Process Take in St. Louis?
In the St. Louis area, it can take six months to a year or more to dissolve a marriage. The biggest contributor to the amount of time the St. Louis marriage dissolution process takes is the spouses’ cooperation. This means getting the lawyer what they need, responding to deadlines, and cooperating with court procedures.
Additional factors that can influence the length of the divorce process in St. Louis include how fast the responding spouse cooperates, how their attorney responds, and whether they have children. Sometimes things are totally out of the lawyer’s control. If the lawyer is requesting records from a company, and a company is slow to respond, there is nothing an attorney can do about that – short of calling them repeatedly or dragging them into court. If the other attorney if not responding, your lawyer can file motions, but that only adds to the time and cost of your case.
Distributing Marital Debt
Any and all debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, which is subject to 50/50 distribution. The Court will look at whether a spouse’s misconduct contributed to the incurring of that debt. For example, did someone have a gambling problem? Is the debt a result of spending on a girlfriend or boyfriend? The tribunal is certainly going to consider those factors. Most debt, however, is marital.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Divorced in St. Louis?
The cost of a divorce varies and totally depends on how complicated and contentious the case is. It can range anywhere from $3,000.00 to $100,000.00, and it depends on how much the parties listen and follow directions form their legal counsel.
The initial presumption is that each party is responsible for covering their own fees and court costs. However, the Court is going to look at income, separate property, and conduct to determine if one person should pay the other’s legal fees. If one person is the primary breadwinner, they are more likely going to be covering the bulk of the fees.
The cost and who may be ordered to pay can also drastically vary depending on what county the spouses are in. Some counties are more likely to make someone pay the other party’s attorney’s fees, while other are less likely. Having an attorney who is familiar with the surrounding counties to advise you on where to file your case and whether you have the option to file in different counties can make a big difference in your case.
Ask an Attorney about the St. Louis Divorce Process
If you are considering marriage dissolution, you should contact a divorce attorney from our team as soon as possible. Even if you are not necessarily looking to file or do not know for sure whether you are ready to get divorced, it is still very wise to gather information as soon as possible and know your rights and options. Information is incredibly important.
Working with a legal advocate from our firm can help you make the decision on exactly when you should file for divorce and how you should do it. If you can get prepared for it, the process of dissolving a marriage can go a lot smoother – both legally and emotionally. Having an understanding of the St. Louis divorce process in advance can be very important, so give us a call today for more information.