Divorce And Family Law Glossary: A Guide To The Terms You Should Know

Searching for a divorce, paternity, child custody or child support lawyer in Jefferson City, Mo? The experienced family law attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider are here to help!

Ending a marriage is often an emotional process. If you’re not familiar with legal jargon or the variety of ways to file for divorce and property division, the process can quickly become overwhelming. The experienced divorce and family law attorneys at Bandré, Hunt & Snider know emotions are high and divorce is not an easy process. Let our guide to key terms and questions surrounding divorce and family law assist you through this difficult time.

Glossary of Divorce and Family Law Terms in Missouri


In Missouri, alimony refers to the support a spouse must provide to the other to allow for a fresh start. It is usually granted by a judge when one party relied heavily on the other for monetary purposes during the marriage. 

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Resolving a divorce outside of the court system. For example, mediation and collaborative divorce proceedings are classified as alternative dispute resolution. 

Decree of Dissolution 

The final decree signed by a judge to declare the divorce is finalized and the marriage has been terminated. 

Equitable Distribution

In Missouri, judges do not have to divide the assets evenly between the two parties. Instead, a judge divides the property in a way they believe to be equitable or fair to both parties. 

Grounds for Divorce

Missouri classifies as a modified no-fault state. While you do not have to prove the opposing party did any action that allows for grounds for divorce, you must prove to the judge that the marriage is broken. If you are unsure how to prove the marriage is broken, contact an experienced attorney to help you form a case! 

Pendente Lite

A Latin term meaning “awaiting litigation.” In a divorce, this is often used with alimony to ensure the lower-income party is supported throughout the divorce process. 

If you are filing for divorce and have questions about the terms associated with divorce, contact our experienced divorce attorneys in Jefferson City, Mo. With years of experience representing clients in this time of transition, we can help walk you through the divorce process and assist you in making the best decisions for you and your loved ones. 

Types Of Divorce In Mid-Missouri

What is the Difference Between No-Fault, Uncontested and Collaborative Divorce?

Divorce can be achieved respectfully and efficiently. Despite many preconceived notions, you actually may not have to take your divorce case to trial in a courtroom and spend excessive time negotiating terms. If you have children you wish to emotionally protect, or if you want to avoid conflict between you and your spouse, it’s important to understand the various ways to approach divorce in mid-Missouri.

No-Fault Divorce 

A no-fault divorce means one party can file for divorce without having to prove the other party had done anything to justify the divorce. In other words, the party may file simply because they no longer wish to be married rather than having to prove your spouse was at fault for breaking up the marriage. However, in Missouri, proving any misconduct in court can strengthen your case when splitting property, determining custody or disputing legal fees.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is when both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement, which ultimately saves time and money. This includes all issues regarding property and debt division, alimony, child custody and child support. Although the terms have been agreed upon, a judge will have to finalize the divorce by approving the settlement terms. 

Collaborative Divorce

Similar to mediation, collaborative divorce attempts to reach a marital settlement agreement outside of court. Each party hires an experienced lawyer and meets to discuss the terms of the settlement. Some parties may bring in an additional lawyer to act as a facilitator, or other professionals such as divorce coaches and psychologists to lend their perspectives to the settlement. If an agreement is reached during this meeting, it may save the parties money and emotional distress.

If you are interested in filing for a divorce but not going to trial, contact the divorce lawyers at Bandré, Hunt & Snider. With experience in mediation and settlements, we can help you peacefully negotiate the terms of your divorce. With our relationship between the court system and other colleagues within the community, our team of attorneys work hard to provide our clients with the outcome they desire. Our divorce & family law firm provides the best representation for your case in all situations by keeping your best interest at heart. Learn more when you call our team of experienced attorneys at (573) 635-2424.