Divorce FAQ

Here are the answers to some questions people often have about divorce in Missouri. Each case is different. For answers to questions about your situation, please call 573-303-3015 for a free consultation.

What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?

Unlike a divorce (or dissolution), parties in a legal separation are still legally married. Otherwise, the process is very similar — you will need to work out custody, child support and division of property. Only a small percentage of couples choose a legal separation instead of a divorce, but it may be a good option if you need to stay legally married for religious reasons or so one spouse can stay on the other's insurance plan.

Are mothers more likely to get custody than fathers?

No. In Missouri, gender should never be a factor in custody decisions. Courts consider the best interests of the child and the ability of each parent to care for the children, not the parent's gender, in making custody decisions.

Will I get alimony?

Alimony, or spousal support, is not automatically awarded during a divorce. In Missouri, courts may award alimony if they determine one party needs additional assistance between the property settlement to meet a reasonable standard of living. In some cases, alimony may be a temporary fix that allows the spouse with a lower income to establish a new home or re-enter the workforce after caring for children. These decisions are generally made on a case-by-case basis; there is no set formula.

Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

Some people choose to file for divorce by themselves. However, many of these people realize later that they need a lawyer to help them through the process — often after making costly mistakes. If your case becomes at all contentious, it can be essential to have a strong advocate on your side. If your ex has hired an attorney, you should waste no time in doing the same.

Ask Me About Your Situation

Almost everyone wants to know what divorce laws mean for their case. You can count on me for straightforward answers. Call me, attorney Jackie Gonz, at 573-303-3015 or email me your questions. I represent clients in St. Francois County, Perry County and throughout southeast Missouri.