Missouri Divorce Attorney Works to Safeguard Spouses’ Interests
Jackson County firm delivers effective counsel when a marriage ends
Ending a marriage often places a severe emotional strain on spouses, but clear-eyed guidance from a knowledgeable attorney gives you the chance to move forward successfully to the next chapter in your life. Located in Kansas City, Howard L. Lotven, P.C. has provided comprehensive legal support to Missouri residents since 1984. Whether you’re relatively friendly with your spouse or believe that litigation is a certainty, I’ll assist you in securing fair terms on issues such as custody, child support, property division and alimony.
What is the divorce process in Missouri?
In both contested and uncontested divorces, I make sure that spouses are well aware of their options along with the state laws pertaining to:
- Filing — To start the divorce process, you must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage along with financial disclosures and a proposed parenting plan if you and your spouse have minor children. My firm prepares the necessary documents and files them in the county court where one or both of you live.
- Grounds — Spouses who agree to part can do so in Missouri on a no-fault basis by declaring that their marriage is irretrievably broken. You can allege fault on your spouse’s part, such as adultery or abandonment, if you seek a divorce but your partner refuses to consent.
- Annulment — Some people who choose to end their marriage quickly inquire about the possibility of an annulment. This is only available in situations where the union was legally improper at its outset for reasons such as age, duress, fraud or the fact that one of the parties was already married.
There are many different ways to handle a divorce and I am dedicated to helping you manage this important transition in a manner that suits your values and eases your emotional burden.
Kansas City attorney assists parents with divorce issues related to children
Whenever parents of minors divorce, my firm makes every effort to establish child custody and child support terms that help the parties move ahead positively. If conflicts related to legal authority or residence exist, I work to find areas of agreement but am willing to resolve the case in court if that is in your child’s best interests. My firm also advises on the state’s rules relating to child support while handling issues that might not be covered within the formula, such as funding for higher education and extracurricular activities. By working closely with each client, I can find creative solutions to tricky issues pertaining to parenting time and financial support.
Effective litigator takes on issues pertaining to spousal maintenance
What many people refer to as alimony is called spousal maintenance under Missouri law. Once a divorce action is filed, temporary payments might be awarded to meet the needs of a spouse who does not earn outside income or makes significantly less than their partner. Upon dissolution of the marriage, the parties might agree to periodic maintenance so that the recipient can gain or regain the skills they need to support themselves. This obligation usually expires at some point, but permanent alimony might be authorized if one party is unable to work outside the home due to age, disability or a child care responsibility. Whether you are seeking support payments or might be required to provide them, I will explain the factors used by court to make these determinations, including the length of the marriage, the couple’s lifestyle and the earning ability of a requesting party. From there, my firm works to achieve the best possible result.
Protecting your property rights in your Missouri divorce
Dividing marital assets and debts can be quite complicated and add more stress to an already difficult situation. Under the state’s equitable distribution law, courts are bound to allocate property accumulated through the course of marriage based on what the judge thinks is fair. This does not have to result in a 50-50 split, so it’s important to have an experienced family law advocate standing up for you during settlement discussions and litigation. How substantial assets such as pension funds, military benefits, investments and the family home are valued have a heavy effect on the ultimate outcome. My background in this area helps clients understand how specific items might be treated and whether certain assets could be excluded from the allocation because they are considered separate property rather than marital.
Contact a dedicated Kansas City divorce lawyer to set up a free consultation
Howard L. Lotven, P.C. represents spouses in Missouri divorce proceedings and related matters, such as child support disputes and actions seeking to modify previously entered orders. For a free initial consultation at my downtown Kansas City office, please call 816-295-6822 or contact me online.