Divorce is difficult. You do not want an attorney that will make it worse, but one that will look out for all your needs at this terrible time. At Pratt, Fossard & Jensen, we are dedicated to guiding you through your divorce in a way that will achieve the best results for you , with as little turmoil as possible.
We handle every type of Family Law case, including initial divorces, paternity, modifications of custody and support, adoptions and appeals. Our clients range from those of modest incomes to multi-million dollar business owners.
This firm is well-respected by members of the judiciary, other members of the bar, and the community at large for its dedication to our clients, legal knowledge, and high level of preparedness.
Our goal is to provide you with the best overall legal services while going through your divorce. We offer straightforward, honest answers to your questions and give you the best possible legal advice based on your specific set of circumstances. If you would be better served by entering into settlement negotiations, we will guide you through that process to get you the best resolution possible. If your case is one that requires litigation, we have the courtroom experience and reputation you are looking for.
At what age can my children decide who they want to live with?
A common misconception is that there is a magic age when children can simply tell a judge they want to live with one parent over the other, and that is the end of the case. This is not true. A child’s wishes as to who her custodian would be is one of eight factors a court must consider in making a custody decision. A custody order must be in the child’s best interest. What a child wishes may be contrary to that child’s best interest. A Parenting Plan is not required for children 18 and over, so it could be said that the answer to this question is 18.
It is usually best to avoid discussing with the child where he or she wants to live. Children most often love both parents, no matter how bad one or both may be. Asking them to say where they want to live puts too much pressure on most children, and actually could end up damaging your relationship with them.
How much will a divorce cost?
There is no way to predict how much a divorce will cost because no two divorces are alike.
How long will it take to get my divorce?
It depends. If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on the division of property and debts, as well as the custodial arrangements for the children, then a divorce can be completed within 45 to 60 days.
Do I have to put a reason for the divorce in the Petition?
No. Missouri does not require the reason for the divorce to be stated in your petition. The only thing you have to say is that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no likelihood that it can be preserved. So long as the other party agrees, you do not have to tell the judge the reason you want a divorce.
I have just been served with divorce papers. What do I do?
You have only 30 days from the date you received the Petition to file a response. This response is called an Answer. If you do not file the Answer within the 30 day time frame, your spouse can go to court and get a default judgment.
Can my spouse and I use the same divorce attorney?
No. It is unethical for one attorney to represent both spouses in a divorce. If one attorney is used, that attorney represents only one of the spouses. It is not necessary for both parties to hire an attorney, however, and some attorneys will represent one party and proceed with the divorce without another attorney becoming involved.
Do I have to file the petition in the county in which I live?
Yes, usually. Under some circumstances you and your spouse might agree to file the petition in a different county. This is something you would need to discuss with your attorney.
What is a divorce petition?
The divorce petition is the document filed with the court clerk that starts the divorce process with the court. Missouri law requires that certain things be contained in the petition. The petition will tell the court who you are, who your spouse is, whether you have children, where you are each employed, where you live, and other identifying information.
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