Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

Missouri Divorce & Family Law Blog

for Missourians struggling with divorce and family law matters

Category Archives: Legal Proceedings

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60 day Notice required for relocation, not Motion to Modify

Posted in Child Custody and Visitation, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Case Law Update:  Motion to Modify is not required to relocate, but 60 day notice must be given to the non-moving parent, who then may file an objection. Under Missouri law the address designated as the minor child’s primary residence for educational and mailing purposes is considered a sub-issue of custody. A change to the … Continue Reading

Enforcement of Missouri Divorce Decrees: Contempt of Court Proceedings.

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Property Division
When a Missouri divorce is concluded, and the Judgment Decree is signed by the judge, regardless of whether the case was settled or tried by the court, the parties are expected to follow the order.  While most people do, there are always those who choose to test their luck by not following terms of the … Continue Reading

Trial court must identify all property as marital or non-marital in Missouri divorce proceeding; specific values not required

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings
Recent Ruling: MP v. DLP Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD75647 Husband appeals from the trial court’s judgment and decree of dissolution of marriage with respect to its division of property. Husband claims that the trial court erred in (1) awarding Wife an account as nonmarital property, though not expressly designated by the … Continue Reading

Missouri Divorce FAQ: What is an Uncontested Divorce in Missouri?

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings
An uncontested divorce in Missouri is a divorce where both the Husband and the Wife are in complete agreement with all terms of the divorce before the case is filed.  In almost all cases, if the case can be resolved as an uncontested matter, there will be substantial savings of both time and money, and … Continue Reading

Missouri Divorce FAQ Series: How long will does a divorce case take from beginning to end

Posted in Divorce, Legal Proceedings
The duration of a divorce in Missouri varies from case to case.  Factors that determine length include how contested the case is, the cooperation of the parties, whether or not there are two attorneys involved, the complexity of the issues, whether or not there are issues of abuse or neglect of children and the appointment … Continue Reading

Court must consider division of marital property before ordering spousal maintenance (alimony); Factors that determine amount of spousal support.

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Property Division
In a recent ruling from the Court of Appeals, Husband appealed the trial Court’s decision granting maintenance to the Wife, claiming, among other things, that the Court did not consider the Wife’s award of marital property, and the ability to earn income from it, in its maintenance determination.  The Court of Appeals agreed, remanding the … Continue Reading

Debts ordered to be paid in Divorce Decree are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Property Division
Since 2005, the Bankruptcy law has been relatively clear that nearly any obligation resulting from a dissolution of marriage proceeding is not dischargeable in bankruptcy, whether that is in the nature of a domestic support obligation (11 USC 523(a)(5)) or a property/debt settlement (11 USC 523 (a)(15).  The Missouri Court of Appeals has reiterated this … Continue Reading

Electronic Domestic Case Filing Begins in March in Jackson County

Posted in Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Modifications, Paternity
News Release from the Jackson County Circuit Court: Starting in March, there will be no more mad dashes to the courthouse by attorneys to file papers at the last minute. The Circuit Court in Jackson County will begin paperless electronic filing which is expected to save shoe leather for attorneys and public dollars for the … Continue Reading

Relocation of a child subject to a Missouri custody order

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Missouri law governs the relocation of children after a custody order has been entered. "Relocation" is defined as "a change in the principal residence of a child for a period of ninety days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence." A parent who intends to relocate must give written … Continue Reading

No Jurisdiction to Modify Custody Decree under UCCJEA

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Recent Case: SHA, Respondent, vs. COA, Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97993        Mother appeals from the judgment of the trial court dismissing her motion to modify a child custody order entered in the State of Illinois. Mother first asserts that her motion to modify sufficiently pleaded facts that, when … Continue Reading

Courts Bulletin: Modifiable maintenance granted at divorce is terminated when all of the reasons it was awarded have changed.

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
An action to terminate modifiable maintenance was granted. The case is fact-specific, but deserves reporting simply because of the dearth of appellate cases in which modifiable maintenance is terminated. At the time of the parties’ divorce (dates not noted in opinion, but approximately 2003-2004), the Husband ran a business which earned him approximately $190,000 annually. … Continue Reading

No Presumption that Child Should Bear the Last Name of One Parent Over the Other

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Legal Proceedings, Paternity
Recent Case: M.R.H., Respondent, vs. J.N.P., Appellant. Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District – ED97338 J.N.P. ("Mother"), biological mother of M.R.H. ("Child"), appeals from the judgment of the trial court following a paternity suit brought by M.R.H. ("Father") in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Mother argues the trial court erred in failing to … Continue Reading

Factors Considered by the Court when Making a Custody Determination

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Domestic Abuse, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity, Spousal Abuse
In Missouri, there are guidelines that the Court must follow in making a child custody determination.  While all child custody determinations must be made in accordance with the best welfare and interests of the child, there is also a statutory and case law framework that guides the court in making the determination.  Note that when … Continue Reading

Child support judgment not subject to collateral attack in later proceeding; Court of Appeals can amend child support judgment based on judicial admission.

Posted in Child Support, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Modifications
Recent Case: TLD v. JRD Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District – WD73385 Mother appeals from the trial court’s amended judgment order of modification retroactively modifying Father’s child support obligation and ordering Mother to pay Father $19,305.00 in overpaid child support accumulated during the retroactive period. Mother claims the trial court erred in calculating the overpayment. … Continue Reading

Family lawyers and Divorce Attorneys function hand in hand with Forensic Accountants

Posted in Assets and Debts, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Property Division
The following post was contributed by guest author Grant Webb, an accounting and accounting law writer for Bisk Education and Villanova University.   Forensic Accountants Fill a Unique Niche Family law and divorce cases are often quite complex. Depending on the number of family members involved, the amount of assets at stake, and the specific … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: Rude, Irritating, or Inconvenient Conduct not Sufficient to Support Order of Protection

Posted in Domestic Abuse, Legal Proceedings
Recent Case: SD v. MW Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District – SD31296 Under section 455.010(13), "stalking" occurs when any person purposely and repeatedly engages in an unwanted course of conduct that causes alarm to another person when it is reasonable in that person’s situation to have been alarmed by the conduct. As used in … Continue Reading

Courts Bulletin: Recent developments in Missouri Family Law

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Marriage and Family, Modifications, Paternity, Property Division
  Administrative child support orders are available for the support of all eligible children, including children of citizens of other countries. Lajeunesse v. State of Missouri Department of Social Services, No. 73477 (Mo. App. W.D., October 4, 2011), Martin, J. A child was born to a Russian citizen in West Virginia. Father was a Missouri … Continue Reading

Recent case: Forum under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act and in personam jurisdiction

Posted in Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Legal Separation, Property Division
www.courts.mo.gov/file.jspMissouri Constitution provides subject matter jurisdiction of circuit courts. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act provides comity among states and determines which state is the most appropriate forum for seeking remedy. The Circuit court should make findings under those provisions. Rule and statute describe minimum contacts necessary to make a person subject to circuit court … Continue Reading

Property Not Owned by Spouses Cannot Be Divided in Divorce

Posted in Assets and Debts, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Property Division, Retirement Plans and Division
The Circuit Court does not have authority to divide assets that are not owned by either spouse in a dissolution of marriage.  In a recent Missouri case, the trial court entered a judgment that divided certain trusts where the children were the sole beneficiaries.  Since the parties to the case did not have any interest … Continue Reading

When Attorney Fees Can Be Awarded in Divorce/Family Litigation

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Custody and Visitation, Discovery, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, military divorce, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity, Trials
While Missouri courts normally follow the “American Rule” regarding legal fees – that each party is responsible for his or her own costs – Missouri dissolution of Marriage statutes give the court the discretion to order one party to contribute to the other party’s fees. Specifically, Section 452.355.1 provides:   Unless otherwise indicated, the court from … Continue Reading

Case Law Update: No contempt found when action was not intentional and contumacious – standards for custody modification

Posted in Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Modifications, Property Division
The Circuit court ordered re-financing of the house after divorce.  At the hearing on a subsequent contempt action, the circuit court found that failure to comply was not contemptuous because party did not have the financial ability to comply with the order. Record supports such finding.  The court stated that  "A party alleging contempt establishes … Continue Reading

Missouri no fault divorce – what it does and does not mean

Posted in Alimony / Maintenance, Assets and Debts, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, military divorce, Military Family Law, Property Division, Trials
Similar to other states, Missouri is a modified no-fault divorce state. However, there is some misconception out there about what this actually means for divorcing parties in Missouri. Modified no-fault divorce means that a party does not have to prove that their spouse committed some kind of misconduct, such as adultery, abandonment, financial, etc., in order for … Continue Reading

Recent ruling: Termination of parental rights unsupported

Posted in Child Abuse, Custody and Visitation, Domestic Abuse, Guardian Ad Litem, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, Paternity
The statute provides that, when considering whether to terminate parental rights, the circuit court must consider certain factors, as to which evidence was either absent; less than clear, cogent and convincing; or favored the parent.  Factors including whether mental condition will improve does not mean intelligence.  Whatever else may be appropriate, judgment terminating parental rights … Continue Reading

Court clarifies confusing child support statute pertaining to college course requirements:

Posted in Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce, Financial Issues, Legal Proceedings, Marriage and Family, Military Family Law, Modifications, Paternity
The Missouri statute that mandates the continuation of child support after age 18 if the child attends college was amended in 2007, and provisions were added that are somewhat contradictory. In a recent ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals, the Court clarified the statute, as well what will cause a child to fail to meet … Continue Reading