Every Divorce in St Louis is unique, and spouses can have very different experiences with the legal process. Some people are able to get along and resolve divorce-related matters in a relatively straightforward manner. On the other hand, some spouses refuse to agree or cooperate with one another, and emotions may drive them to be highly adversarial.
Adversarial divorces can be substantially more costly and lengthy than amicable divorce cases. When two spouses cannot agree on property division, child custody, spousal support, and other issues, the family court will need to intervene. The spouses will go to trial and present their case, putting their future in the hands of the court. Divorce trials are time-consuming and often, expensive. In addition, trials can involve each spouse airing the other’s dirty laundry and personal details in open court. Needless to say, this can be an emotionally-charged and highly stressful situation.
The good news is that there are practical solutions that can help divorcing spouses work together to prevent an adversarial situation. You should seek help from an attorney who focuses on finding healthy solutions to avoid arguing in court whenever possible.
Preparation for a Divorce
It is important to take time to prepare for the divorce process. You should gather important documents and information, which helps you stay organized as you head into your divorce. This allows you to take inventory of your:
- Financial accounts
- Personal property
- Retirement accounts
- Business interests and stock
Knowing what you and your spouse have can help you start the process without having to continually request more and more information from your spouse.
Know Your Rights
Knowledge of the law and your rights can help spouses start the divorce process on the right foot. If you both understand your rights, there may be less of a chance that someone makes demands that are well outside the scope of the law. For example:
- If you understand that the law favors shared custody whenever possible, you can approach the matter assuming that you and your spouse will share parenting time and decision-making powers. Some parents who do not understand custody laws may come into the divorce demanding sole custody, which can lead to a drawn-out battle in court.
- People who do not understand how property division works under Missouri law may start off fighting for everything. If you or your spouse demands the house, cars, business, and large percentages of other types of marital property, you are likely set for a serious fight. However, if you understand how equitable division works, you may have a more practical idea of the property you want to fight for.
- Spousal support laws are specific in Missouri, and a spouse may have the right to financial support if they cannot support themselves right away post-divorce. If someone is not entitled to alimony under the circumstances and they demand payments, it can draw out the process. If you know you or your spouse should receive spousal support from the start, then it can make things easier in many situations.
Education about your rights under divorce laws is key to a simpler divorce. Your attorney can evaluate your situation and advise you of your rights and what to expect.
Have Realistic Expectations
Losing the financial contributions of your spouse can be a difficult adjustment, and most people want to do everything they can to keep as much property and have as much time with their children as possible. However, keeping everything and getting sole custody is not always a realistic prospect. When spouses have unrealistic expectations of what they want out of the divorce process, it can polarize the situation from the start and lead to an adversarial case. Set your emotions aside and try to be practical about how the issues should be resolved.
When spouses cannot agree out of the gate, it does not mean they are headed straight to court. Instead, mediation is an option for divorcing spouses that can be successful in reaching practical resolutions without court intervention. Divorce mediation helps spouses address their disagreements directly, discuss their arguments and options, and reach an agreement that works for everyone when possible. Mediation is often a valuable tool, and you should discuss this option with a lawyer who has extensive experience with the mediation process.
Contact a St. Louis Divorce and Mediation Attorney for More Information
At the J. Rench Law Firm, we believe that there are many ways to resolve divorce cases without spouses getting highly adversarial and wasting resources. Attorney and mediator Jennifer Rench has seen firsthand how spouses can settle their divorce cases without tearing each other down in court. If you would like to learn more about our process and how we can assist you, call 314-207-0641 or contact us online today.