The Flynn Law Firm provides services as divorce lawyers to clients throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area, on both sides of the state line. Divorces in Kansas and Missouri share some characteristics, but there are identifiable differences. First, while divorce is actually called "divorce" in Kansas, it is called "dissolution of marriage" in Missouri. A married person may file for a Kansas divorce or a Missouri dissolution of marriage by filing a petition in his or her local state court. For Johnson County, Kansas spouses that means filing the divorce petition at the Johnson County District Court. For Jackson County, Missouri spouses that means filing the petition for dissolution of marriage in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, at either its Kansas City courthouse or its Independence courthouse.
There are other requirements for filing a divorce petition in Kansas or a dissolution-of-marriage petition in Missouri. For starters, a divorcing spouse must pay a filing fee, which is identified on most courts' web sites, including: Jackson County, Johnson County, Clay County, and Platte County. Also required is an information form, which includes basic information like names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and birth dates for both spouses and children, so that the family court clerks can process the paperwork and begin the court proceeding. In Missouri, that information sheet is known as a "Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet – Domestic Relations Cases," and may be downloaded from the Missouri courts' web site. The form requires the filer to identify a "case type," and also "party codes" for both spouses and attorneys. The Missouri courts' web site provides both a Case Types List and a Party Types List. In Kansas, this divorce information sheet is called a "civil cover sheet," which can be downloaded from the Kansas Judicial Council's web site.
A divorce or marriage dissolution's primary goal, obviously, is to end the marriage. Most filers list "irreconcilable differences" as their reason; and it is important to know that both states are "no fault," which means that the judge will not care which spouse may be more "at fault" for the breakdown of the marriage. Unless there are children whose well-being might be affected, the dirty details will be of no interest to the judge.
Most divorces and dissolutions are finalized through a settlement between the spouses, often with the assistance of attorneys, and sometimes through mediation. In either situation, that settlement must still be approved by the judge and filed in the court record. But if a settlement of all issues cannot be agreed, then those issues will be decided by a court trial (by a judge, not a jury).
Besides ending the marriage, a divorce or dissolution of marriage will be accompanied by a handful of other issues that must be addressed. First, and most importantly, if the spouses have children together (whether born before or during the marriage), there will be a parenting plan setting forth the custody and parenting-time (formerly known as "visitation") arrangements. And when there are children involved, that almost always means there will be child support paid by one parent to the other. In a Kansas divorce, child support will be calculated using a "child support worksheet," which can be very confusing to persons outside the legal profession. Missouri's similarly complicated worksheet setting forth the calculation of child support is referred to as a "Form 14," which is available from the Missouri courts' web site.
A divorce or marriage dissolution must also provide for the allocation of assets and debts between the spouses, including real estate, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, student loans, and personal property. Kansas and Missouri family courts may also order one spouse to pay to the other spouse "maintenance" (formerly known as "alimony"), which is usually paid monthly for a set period of time, in a set dollar amount, though the maintenance order can be subject to modification or termination upon the happening of certain events, like remarriage.
The end of a marriage stresses people unlike any other event. In fact, most people who’ve been divorced would tell you it was among the most stressful events of their life. But you don’t have to go through it alone. If you, a family member, or friend need assistance with a Kansas divorce or a Missouri dissolution of marriage, contact The Flynn Law Firm today. Our experienced divorce attorneys have helped hundreds of clients through this difficult process in the family courts of Jackson County, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Platte County, Cass County, Clay County, Miami County and others.