There will be an initial meeting (your spouse may attend, if you like) to discuss your case and obtain inforamtion for all necessary paperwork. This usually takes about an hour. My fee is paid to commence service at this time.
Being thorough is in your best interest. Leaving something out now can leave you open for further litigation later and the goal here is to avoid all of that. We will, of course, cover how you would like to divide marital property and resolve various issues specific to your case. Being an attorney with divorce litigation experience, I am happy to discuss the feasibility of your proposed settlement agreement as well as general property and custody rights to make sure that your deal on paper relfects your intentions.
I usually need about 3 to 5 business days to draft everything you need to take your case from start to finish. There are several documents involved.
Once everything is drafted I contact you and send you the documents for your review and approval. We make minor revisions and corrections to get things the way that you want them.
You and your spouse stop by my office (together or separately) to sign all necessary proposed settlement documents in the presence of a Notary Public. My paralegal can provide the Notary service for free. I collect the Court's filing fee (usually $125-$150) at this time.
If need be, we can formulate a special game plan to present the documents to your spouse for their review and signature. Hopefully you guys have discussed things before hiring me, but each situation is different so we can approach this step several different ways - basically the way that everyone is most likely to be comfortable with. The other spouse is welcome to stop by my office to sign everything. I am also happy to send them drafts to look at (themselves or with an attorney of their choice).
Be aware that I cannot represent both spouses/parties and I cannot provide legal advice to your spouse. They do have the right to have their own attorney review the proposed pleadings before signing if they want. If they do not want to sign, then I cannot talk them into doing so.
If you have not yet paid your court filing fee (usually $125 - $150 depending upon the court) then it is now due. I cannot file your case until this fee is paid to my office. Your case is then conveniently electronically filed - a nice new service of the Missouri courts system. We usually receive confirmation that your filing has been accepted by the court clerk and your assigned case number within 24 hours of filing - which I like to do the same day your documents are signed.
Then we wait... Missouri law requires a 30 day waiting period from the date of filing your case until the Judge assigned to your case can sign off on your divorce. The judge is usually happy to sign off on a properly presented divorce agreement that seems reasonable. This usually happens within the week of that 30th day.
If you have kids, then you may be required to complete a Co-Parenting Education Program through a court-approved provider. Your waiting period is the time to do this program. The judge may not sign off on your divorce until both parties have completed the program.
The Judge signs your Judgment and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage if everything looks proper and reasonable - usually some time after 30 days have passed. Thanks to e-filing, we usually know right about when this happens. My office will notify you so that you may breathe a sigh of relief that your case is officially done.
The court clerk will prepare your certified copies. These may be sent to your address or to my office depending on what we request in the pleadings. In either event these are ready in a few weeks after the judge signs your divorce judgment.
My job will be done and your file with my office will be closed at this point. It will be up to you guys to carry out the terms of your settlement agreement (executing and recording deeds and titles, paying debts, etc.).
1360 S. 5th Street
Saint Charles , 63301
St. Louis: (314) 616-0708
St. Charles: 636 946-4343 636 946-4343
Fax: 636 946-3737