For the majority of cases in Missouri, the end of a marriage means a divorce. But in very few cases, a divorce is not necessary. In these instances, couples may be able to file for annulment. In this process, the courts deem the marriage to essentially have never happened. Missouri law has very stringent laws regarding these types of separation, and specific criteria must be met to qualify.
Anyone who has followed the publicity surrounding the same-sex marriage debate have probably heard that, until the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, it was legal in some states but not in others. In fact, if a same-sex couple was married in a state where their marriage was legal and then moved to a state that had not yet legalized same-sex marriage, they were not considered legally married in the new state of residence.
Couples who are unable to conceive often turn to other means of having children. Luckily, they have many options, including surrogacy, artificial insemination, and egg fertilization. However, these options can raise some complicated legal questions. Having a baby should be a positive experience. With so many difficult legal issues, a couple can very easily become overwhelmed.
The first images that generally come to people's minds when they hear the word "divorce" are couples screaming at each other, going through lengthy court battles and generally being very unhappy with the outcome of the case. While this is all-too-common, it does not have to be the only way. One of the easier ways to handle the end of a marriage is to go through a collaborative divorce.
Outside of a child custody dispute, property division is one of the hottest topics in a divorce. Both parties generally want the lion's share of the assets, sometimes leading to a fierce battle. What many couples do not consider, however, is the division of debt in a divorce. In Missouri, property and debts are divided the same way.
For many couples, a prenuptial agreement is synonymous with one word: distrust. It is not a fun topic to discuss, as it lends to the idea that you believe you will not be together forever, and if that's the case, why get married at all? Yet a prenup can be very beneficial for both parties and can save a lot of money and headache down the road, should the worst happen.
Family courts in Missouri have the power to appoint a guardian ad litem in certain cases. In general, a guardian ad litem, also known as a GAL, is an attorney who is appointed by the court to represent the interests of a child or an incompetent adult. The child or incompetent adult is then referred to as the "ward." The GAL's role is to conduct an investigation and provide a recommendation to the court about what is in the ward's best interests.
Both the definition of what constitutes a family, and the ability of Missouri law to keep up with changes in social attitudes are in a state of flux. Today what the law sees as a committed couple is not always confined to a heterosexual marriage, nor is an actual marriage a prerequisite. These developing new norms for how a couple can form can also interact with state law when couples decide to split up.