St. Louis County Divorce Court: Everything You Need to Know
If you and your spouse are ending your marriage in the St. Louis area, your case will be handled by the St. Louis County Divorce Court. Learn more here.
About the County Divorce St. Louis and Family Court
Established in 1993, the family court in St. Louis County has been serving families and hearing cases involving families and children for nearly three decades.
Operating under the principle of one judge – one family, the family court usually has one commissioner or judge who handles all matters of a particular family. This is intended to bring increased consistency and continuity to the judicial process.
In addition to hearing family cases, the family court is also responsible for providing support services to situations brought to the court’s attention.
Some of the support services the family court and the 22nd judicial circuit court in St. Louis provide to residents include restitution programs, group, and individual counseling sessions, parent education classes, and probationary services.
The circuit court has several programs intended to support children and parents that include:
Divorce proceedings (including DIY divorce, online divorce, and legally assisted divorce)
The Child Support Docket in the State Prosecuting Attorney’s office
Protection orders under the St. Louis County Courts
Unrepresented litigants seeking particular legal rights or divorce
Child custody proceedings
Suppose you intend to file a divorce case or undergo child support custody proceedings, orders of protection, or equitable distribution proceedings. In that case, it is crucial to contact a St. Louis divorce lawyer and establish an attorney-client relationship.
Contact the Carson Law Firm today as we have skilled and experienced attorneys who have been working in Missouri for years. We have a solid understanding of the court process, the judicial process, and all matters regarding family law. As such, we may help you attain favorable outcomes with your case.
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St. Louis County Divorce Filings
The St. Louis Circuit Court follows a particular filing process for all divorce proceedings.
If you have been served with papers or intend to file for divorce, it is critical to understand the different options available. Knowing your rights and understanding the legal process can help you anticipate what will happen as the case proceeds through the legal system.
For a divorce to be granted court approval, the following requirements need to be met:
- Residency – To file for divorce in the St. Louis County Circuit Court, at least one of the spouses needs to have been a resident in Missouri for at least 90 days before the divorce proceedings are initiated. The Circuit Clerk will not accept the filing if this requirement is not met.
- Jurisdiction – Divorce proceedings have to be conducted in the county where one or both spouses are residents. The Circuit Clerk’s office recommends that the person filing for divorce reside in the county where the divorce is being filed.
If you intend to bring divorce proceedings to a St. Louis family court, it is critical to engage the services of a reputable law firm. We have skilled and experienced attorneys at the Carson Law Firm who may provide legal advice and general information on family law to clients seeking specific advice on family law and judicial proceedings.
St. Louis County Court Divorce Records
The St. Louis family court in Missouri provides access to divorce records to the public, who may access these records as a courtesy from the Recorder of Deeds office.
Certified copies of divorce records are provided to residents of Missouri from the Civil Courts Building of St. Louis County. Uncertified online divorce records may be obtained from the State of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services government website.
To get these records, one would need to have:
- The full names of the divorced parties
- The date of the finalization of the divorce
The Civil courts building’s address is 105 South Central Avenue, Clayton, Missouri. The business hours are from Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and the telephone number is 314-615-8029. The courthouse remains closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Note that the building does not provide parking even though there is sufficient metered parking within walking distance of the circuit courts building.
As for legal fees, you will have to pay a flat fee of $27.99 for online divorce records and $.30 per page if you request access to divorce records in person at the St. Louis County courts building.
In most cases, you should get your copies immediately when you petition for them in person. If you request the documents online, you should expect 3-5 days for processing and between 7-10 business days before the documents are mailed.
You can also pay for express delivery, which will take between one and two days for processing, and with overnight delivery, you should have the documents the following day.
Contact the Carson Law Firm today if you need to obtain divorce court proceedings records. We may be able to procure all types of records from the county court offices or, if you would like, from the government website online. We have petitioned the St. Louis County court for records on behalf of our clients, and, if needed, we intend to do the same for you.
St. Louis County Court Divorce Forms and Divorce Process
Since Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, uncontested divorce is widespread. A St. Louis family court will grant divorce as long as it is determined that there is no likelihood of preserving an irretrievably broken marriage.
As such, this is the easiest and quickest way for the dissolution of marriage. Still, most cases involve heated disputes as one of the spouses may deny that their marriage is irreparably broken.
In such an instance, it becomes critical to engage the services of an attorney to argue for the dissolution of marriage. With their experience, the attorney will petition the court and prove that divorce should be granted on grounds such as:
- One spouse is guilty of adultery
- The spouses lived apart and separately for at least two years
- The respondent behaved in such a manner that made a living together intolerable for one party
- The parties agreed to live apart and separately for at least a year by mutual agreement
- The respondent abandoned the other spouse for at least six months
Filing for Divorce Using St. Louis County Divorce Papers
This is a request to the St. Louis Circuit Court to dissolve a marriage. This is the first document filed that usually sets out the facts that inform the court that the dissolution of marriage needs to be granted.
Some of the information you will need to provide include:
- Proof of residence in Missouri
- Whether either spouse serves in the military
- The date of the marriage
- The names and dates of birth of children
- The date of legal separation
Statements of Property
This is usually filed alongside the petition and sets out things such as property owned by the family, the property’s value, and whether the properties are owned separately or jointly. It is always advisable that an attorney prepare this document as it could be used against one in a trial.
The next step in the court process is the service of process, which includes all the documents filed with the circuit court. These are usually delivered to the respondent by a special process server or the sheriff.
Discovery involves each party taking steps to obtain documentation and information on the issues in a divorce proceeding. Some of the legal forms include:
- Written instructions, questions, or interrogatories prepared by the lawyer
- Subpoenas allow the attorney to request documentation and testimony from third parties relevant to the divorce proceedings
- Requests for production – these include demands by a lawyer to produce documents such as retirement plan statements, tax returns, and pay stubs
- Depositions allow each party to sit down with the other party and permit lawyers from each side to ask pertinent questions
Once you file for divorce, the parties may meet with the judge to narrow the trial issues or reach a settlement. The judge will usually use this to interpret the law allowing each party to understand or get an idea of how the court may rule.
Divorce can be a complicated process to understand, so you will need to secure the services of an experienced attorney. The lawyers at the Carson Law Firm will help you with information and advice on how to work within the law and obtain favorable outcomes.
Child Custody In St Louis County
Before filing for a divorce in St. Louis County court where children are involved, the court says they should decide with mutual understanding. The child custody attorneys in Clayton will consider the decision taken by parents for their children. However, the court may award the custody of children to both of them.
The judicial circuit at Missouri courts also considers the interest of children. It is possible that both parents can take part in raising children until or unless it causes any harm to children’s safety and security. Whereas in most cases, the court takes a decision for joint custody in favor of children. In order to make a decision for the betterment of children, the court may ask the following questions for a better decision:
The physical and mental health of children and parents
The willing’s of spouses regarding children’s custody
The willing’s of children regarding custody
The relationship that has developed among parents, children, and siblings
Before filing papers of divorce at St. Louis County, the parents are suggested to have a parenting plan for their children. This parenting plan aims to let the parents decide how they will deal with all controversial issues between them raising their children, who will bear the expenses of children, and so on.
Going through child custody is painful itself. During these times, you need to make decisions to be a rational person instead of an emotionally driven parent. Though it is difficult, having an experienced attorney is the best option.
Your attorney will help you make the best decisions for your and your children’s future. At Carson Law firm, we have experienced attorneys who can give you the best legal advice on your divorce case. We have handled several cases and helped people get the best outcome for their futures.
Property Division in St Louis County
When you and your spouse file a divorce case in court in St. Louis county, the court will divide your marital property. Marital property includes all the assets you have acquired after your marriage.
However, assets you owned before your marriage will not be regarded as marital assets. Hence, they won’t be divided among you. There are still some exceptions to deciding your marital property, which include:
- Gifts and inheritance
- Property acquired by the legal separation notice
- Assets are acquired in exchange for gifts.
Determining your marital property and how it will be divided between you and your spouse is a hectic process and depends on the court’s decision. It is best to consult with an experienced attorney who has prior experience in managing property division cases to keep yourself and your assets safe from any effects.
Only an experienced attorney can help you secure your assets and future during these challenging times. Your attorney will help you determine whether the property is individual or marital. Moreover, he will help you get through the entire process.
We have a team of experienced divorce attorneys at Carson Law Firm who will help you with your case and ensure you get the best outcome. We understand how important your assets are to you, and we will help you keep them safe. If you need additional information or want to schedule a consultation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.
FAQs on Divorce Court of St. Louis County
If you are considering divorce in St. Louis County, you likely have numerous questions. To help you know what to expect, we answer a few common questions below.
Is Divorce the Only Option?
Even if you face a lot of turbulence, divorce may not be the only option. In many instances, the courts allow one to file for legal separation to enable the couple to reevaluate their partnership while remaining married. In some rare cases, an annulment may be the only appropriate solution.
Do You Have to Go to Court?
Filing for divorce in Missouri can be a long and complex affair, depending on the circumstances in the case. However, the law in Missouri recognizes that not every proceeding needs to be resolved via an adversarial and protracted courtroom battle. As such, collaborative and mediation processes have become more common.
How Long Is the Divorce Process?
The length of the proceedings in St. Louis may vary depending on various factors, even though the most critical is how much you are raring for a fight. Uncontested divorces where parties are willing to compromise are resolved faster. Nonetheless, once the papers are filed with the family court, it can take anything from six weeks to a year for the process to be finalized.
How Expensive Will the Divorce Be?
The answer will depend on a range of factors, including whether there are children involved and whether it is a collaborative divorce, among other factors.
Divorce proceedings can be stressful, and hence it is critical to engage the services of a skilled St. Louis divorce lawyer to represent you in family court proceedings. We have helped many people in St. Louis county with their divorce proceedings at the Carson Law Firm.
If you are on the lookout for experienced attorneys, you should contact us today as we may be able to come up with cost-effective and swift approaches to help you through the divorce process and preserve your best interests.
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