Category Archives: dissolution

Can I file my dissolution and paternity action together in one case?

It can mean the difference between a single $170 filing fee for one case or $340 or more for multiple cases. Some judges will let litigants do this and save a filing fee, but Court Operating Rule 4.05.3 controls.

Dissolutions and paternity actions shall be filed separately. A separate case number shall be assigned for each dissolution and each paternity action filed and shall be related in the automated case management system for scheduling and other processing.

— COR 4.05.3

Nothing prevents the consolidation of cases once filed, so only one trial is usually necessary after the cases are consolidated.

 

Missouri Court Decides Frozen Embryos Not Children

In a 47-page opinion, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District decided frozen embryos are not children, but marital property of a special character. A copy of the opinion in McQueen v. Gadberry is here.

Greene County Domestic Relations Unit

The Family Court Division of the Circuit Court of Greene County maintains a Domestic Relations Unit. The Domestic Relations Unit publishes a quarterly newsletter. The July 2016 edition is here. Domestic relations officers sometimes sit in the courtroom to offer services related to the proceedings. Domestic relations officers sometimes meet with the attorneys to gather information to brief the commissioner on the status of the case before the attorneys brief the commissioner, in order to minimize the time in the courtroom for each case.

 

In Your Child’s Best Interest

The Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator publishes a guide for parents involved in custody/divorce litigation. A free copy is available here.

Parent Handbook

Family Law Resource Guide

The Family Law Resource Guide is published by the Missouri Bar and available for free here. The guide gives some background information about juveniles, marriage, divorce (aka, “dissolution”), child support, adoption, co-parenting and children with disabilities.family law resource guidecover

Latest Missouri Family Law Appellate Opinions

Find all the latest family law related case law from Missouri appellate courts at jasonumbarger.com/wiki

No Right of Missouri Inmates to Divorce

While inmates nationwide have the right to marry under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Turner v. Safley, (1987). Missouri inmates apparently do not have a constitutional right to divorce under a case handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court this week. In McNeal v. McNeal-Sydnor, No. SC94435 (Mo.banc, Sept. 8, 2015), the court upheld a dismissal of an inmate’s petition because he failed to appear in court at a hearing because he was behind bars.

New Case: Objection to Court’s Statutory Authority to Decide Custody Waived if Not Properly Asserted

If you want to fight about whether a Missouri trial court has authority to  decide custody, you better  raise the objection early on.

“By participating in the Missouri dissolution case without raising any objection to the trial court’s authority to determine child custody until there was an allegation that she had not complied with one of the trial court’s rulings, Wife waived any right she might have had to contest the trial court’s authority to resolve the issue of child custody.”

In Schaeffer v. Schaeffer, No. SD33377 (Mo.App. S.D. Aug. 10, 2015), the  Court of Appeals extended Hightower v. Myers, 304 S.W.3d 727, 733 (Mo. banc 2010) to apply to the UCCJEA. In a nutshell, if a party to a case involving child custody fails to properly object to a trial court’s authority to decide the case, the party waives the ability to object later. In Schaeffer, Mom filed a counter-petition for dissolution of marriage, answered the petition filed by her spouse, participated by counsel in a hearing to decide temporary custody, and the court entered an order for temporary custody. Only after all that did Mom file a motion to dismiss based on a lack of statutory jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. The trial court denied the dismissal and decided the case; the Court of Appeals affirmed.

 

Won on Appeal

moappsdpicSuccessfully defended a 74 year old woman who obtained at trial a judgment for periodic maintenance after her 60 year old husband left her, ending their 30+ year marriage. Husband appealed. Judgment affirmed. She won’t have to live out her golden years penniless.