Ending a marriage is a difficult time, especially when your spouse is making it more difficult than necessary. It is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced Clayton Divorce Lawyers on your side.

A good divorce lawyer must be well versed in established law and on top of new statutes being passed by the Missouri legislature. Carson’s reputation for meticulous preparation has earned her respect from Judges.

Child Custody

A court determines child custody based on what is in the best interests of a child. A judge can order temporary or exclusive custody of a child, as well as joint and shared custody. Legal custody gives one parent responsibility for making decisions about the child’s health, education, religious upbringing and other important areas. Physical custody determines where the child will live on a daily basis.

In most cases, judges will award parents some form of joint custody. Parents can also request a change to their current custody arrangement by filing a petition in Family Court or as part of a divorce action.

A court will consider past conduct when making a custody decision. For example, if one parent had a substance abuse problem in the past and posed a risk to their child’s safety, they might not be awarded custody. The same is true if they committed domestic violence against the other spouse or their child.

Child Support

When parents divorce and share custody of their children, the court typically orders the parent without primary custody to pay a certain amount of child support. This money is intended to help cover expenses such as food, housing, clothing, and education costs for the children. Child support amounts and requirements vary by state law.

A judge will review all forms of income and expenses for both parents, including any debts or liabilities, and will determine an appropriate award. Judges have substantial leeway in determining this amount, but they will generally try to maintain the standard of living enjoyed by the family before the separation.

A parent who wants to modify child support payments can file a petition with the court. The request must cite changed circumstances that are permanent, significant and unanticipated when the original order was entered. These could include a change in job, a promotion, inheritance or other financial event that significantly impacts a parent’s current income.

Property Division

Property division, also known as equitable distribution, is an issue in every divorce. It is unique from other topics like child custody and support, which are not applicable to all divorces.

Equitable distribution is a process that the courts will follow in dividing up assets and debts acquired during a marriage. It doesn’t mean that everything gets split evenly, however.

In New York, the courts will take into account a variety of factors to determine what would be a fair division of marital assets and debts. This includes things like the length of the marriage, separate incomes, contributions made to shared businesses or professional practices and enhanced earning capacity.

It is important that separate property remains separated from joint property during the divorce process. A lawyer can help ensure that this is the case by advising clients on what needs to be done to keep separate property safe. This may include ensuring that separate property is not mixed up with marital assets, not hiding assets or paying expenses related to separate properties using marital funds.


Divorce or legal separation is a life-changing event with serious, long-term effects. If a spouse needs financial support, a judge may award alimony or spousal support.

Most states spell out a list of factors judges must consider when making decisions about alimony. The court generally only awards alimony when one former spouse is financially dependent on the other, and the other spouse has the ability to pay alimony.

The court may also order temporary alimony, or alimony pendente lite, during the divorce process to provide support while the legal arguments are being carried out. However, the paying spouse must show a need for financial support and the receiving spouse must be unable to meet her own expenses without the money.

A judge may change the amount of alimony after the divorce decree through a process called modification. The paying spouse must show there has been a substantial change in circumstances that wasn’t foreseeable at the time of the divorce.