Occasionally people will complain that their lawyer speaks over their head or they don’t understand the “legalese” part of a contract. This can be very dangerous especially in a divorce case where understanding the terms used by your attorney can affect things such as your relationship with your children and the property you receive. Often what seems like plain English is further complicated because the legal system may assign specific or special meaning to words you thought you understood. To help translate we have listed below some of the more frequently misunderstood terms used during a divorce.
Automatic Document Exchange – Local Rule 68 in St. Louis County currently requires that certain documents be exchanged between the parties at or before a certain time after service or process. This is often referred to as the Automatic Document Exchange.
Statement of Income and Expenses – These are also sometimes called financial statements and are an accounting of income from all sources and the expenses of each individual. Financial statements are required to be filed by both parties. They must be filed by the Petitioner with the Petition for Dissolution. In most courts, the Respondent must file his or her financial statement within sixty days of receiving the service of process.
Statement of Property – This is the same idea as the Statement of Income and Expenses except this time it is a detailed list of all assets and financial obligations of each spouse and is called a Statement of Property. Again, the Statement of Property must be filed by the Petitioner with the petition for dissolution. In most courts, the Respondent must file his or her Statement of Property within sixty days of receiving the service of process.
Parenting Plan – In cases where minor children are involved, each party must provide a Parenting Plan – a detailed proposal of the custody arrangements he/she believes to be in the best interests of the minor children. The Petitioner’s proposed Parenting Plan is due thirty days after filing the petition. The Respondent must file a Parenting Plan with the Answer.
Filing Fee – The person initiating the dissolution proceedings must pay a filing fee to the court. It varies depending upon the county in which the divorce is filed but it is in the neighborhood of $250.00.