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Family Law & Divorce Lawyers in Joplin, MO

Buchanan Williams & O'Brien

Dedicated Family Law & Divorce Attorneys in Joplin

At the Law Office of Buchanan, Williams, and O’Brien P.C, we believe that no two cases are alike. Because every case is different and every client has unique needs, our law firm provides personalized legal services to each individual and family throughout Missouri in matters involving:

  • Divorce
  • Child custody issues
  • Child support disputes
  • Spousal support
  • Property division
  • Adoptions
  • Child visitation issues

…and more. These disputes can cause tremendous stress because they involve the thing most important to you – your family.

We will help you through these difficult times. If you find yourself in a crisis, we can help you immediately. Our dedicated attorneys will serve you aggressively and give you the individual attention that your case deserves.

We have the expertise to guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you accomplish your goals. Whether your case is straightforward or complex, we will help you find a resolution that meets the individual needs of you and your family.

Our legal team represents clients in Joplin, Missouri, and surrounding areas throughout the state.

Affordable, Experienced, and Effective

Please Note: There is a small fee for consultations due at the time of your appointment.


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About the Best Family Law and Divorce Lawyers Joplin MO

Please Note: There is a small fee for consultations due at the time of your appointment. (we don’t charge consultation for traffic and criminal issues)

With Buchanan, Williams, and O’Brien, you gain the value of having a real team behind you. For over 35 years, BWO has been providing consistent legal advocacy in Joplin, Missouri. Our team is collaborative, which means you get the advantage of decades of proven legal experience standing behind your case.

Walter Williams is a founding member of BWO and one of the leading attorneys in Missouri on family law issues and estate/trust litigation matters. Walt is one of four family law attorneys who has handled hundreds of cases and is willing and able to help you.

The family attorneys at Buchanan, Williams, and O’Brien are individually accomplished attorneys who can provide top-level legal advocacy in your family law matter. Take a moment to review the family attorneys on the team at BWO, and we’re confident that you will rest assured that you’ve found a good fit.

As your trusted advisors, the family attorneys at BWO are here to support you throughout this difficult time. Whether you are a victim of personal injury or involved during a divorce, child custody issues, or a criminal offense, our attorneys can help you protect your rights and fight for what you deserve.

Call 417-744-9326 or toll-free at 800-371-8220. You can also email us anytime at:



Trusted Attorneys for Divorce in Joplin, Missouri

The legal term is “dissolution” because the “bonds of matrimony” are dissolved. The process of dissolving the “bonds of matrimony” can cause many personal, family, and financial hardships.

It’s not necessary to determine that either party is at fault for getting a divorce. Adultery, abandonment, or another type of spouse misconduct can be referred to as fault. However, a Joplin Missouri court has to find that the marriage is irretrievably broken to grant a divorce. If that doesn’t occur, the court can refuse to grant a divorce or it could grant a judgment of legal separation. If a judge issues a legal separation order, bear in mind that spouses are restrained from selling off assets or getting remarried.

You don’t have to retain a divorce lawyer to obtain your divorce. However, anyone representing themselves will be expected to know all the laws, rules, and procedures as any other divorce lawyer. In addition, consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer is strongly recommended if you have children or significant assets.

Although marital fault will not be considered in getting a divorce at Joplin MO courts, it can be taken into consideration when deciding about other legal matters—such as division of marital property, as well as alimony or maintenance.


Important Facts About a Joplin Divorce

In order to be eligible to file for a Joplin Missouri dissolution of marriage, either spouse must have lived in the state for at least 90 days before filing the divorce papers.

Although the state doesn’t require that spouses separate before divorce, many do informally separate at some point during the divorce process.

The divorce is considered uncontested if spouses have worked out their legal issues. That type of divorce process is typically less complex and faster.

On the other hand, if spouses can’t agree on all issues, the divorce is considered contested. That type of dissolution of marriage will require that spouses go through many legal steps, and it will last significantly longer. Spouses will have to hire a divorce lawyer, and some Missouri courts may require that spouses go through mediation, especially if there are unresolved family law issues involving parenting.

The divorce process can involve many complex issues, such as child custody, child support, maintenance (alimony), and the division of marital property. These issues can have a profound impact on your life in the future.

If you are considering divorce, you undoubtedly have many questions about the process, your rights, and the impact on your family and your finances. Below, we answer some of the most common questions asked by people going through a divorce.




Child Custody & Paternity Lawyers in Joplin, MO

Parents involved in a divorce want to ensure that they will remain an influential and positive role in their children’s lives in the future. As a result, the most important, hotly contested, and emotionally charged part of a divorce often involves child custody and visitation issues.

Child custody is divided into specific categories under Missouri laws. It is essential to know that all issues regarding child custody have to comply with these laws and conditions.

If you have children, you should have a family law and divorce attorney assist you with your Joplin divorce.


The rules and considerations for child custody are complex.

Generally, Missouri law has acknowledged that “frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both parents after the parties have separated or dissolved their marriage is in the best interest of the children.”

However, when it comes to child custody issues, the Joplin MO court has to decide if one parent or both parents will have the right to make crucial decisions regarding the child’s education, health, and welfare. These decisions refer to legal custody. In addition, the Joplin, MO, court also has to decide how the parents will share the physical time with their child or children. These decisions refer to physical custody.

When all decisions are considered, child custody is divided into different categories. Parents can have joint custody, one parent can have sole custody, or a third party can have visitation or custody rights.

Child custody court decisions can be changed, but there must be a continuing and essential change in the child’s custodian circumstances. It also has to be shown that a child custody modification will serve the child’s best interest.

If you have children and are considering divorce, you undoubtedly have questions about the process and your rights. Reach out to skilled family and divorce lawyers Joplin MO for help.




Top Joplin Child Support Attorneys

When you and your spouse are going through a divorce, the well-being of your child or children should be the most critical issue. You are not just spouses. You are also parents; that means you and your former partner have to make reasonable decisions regarding child custody and support.

Child support is a payment that one parent makes to the other parent after a divorce or separation, intended to cover the expenses of raising their children or a child. Regardless, child support is a critical issue in divorce cases. Although Missouri courts use a Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligations to determine support payments, the whole process can be complex.

The determination of child support impacts the ability of the parents to provide shelter, clothing, education, health care, and other necessities for their children. Child support can also cause severe financial hardship to the paying parent, particularly when the parent is paying more than his or her fair share of the support obligation.

There are numerous benefits of reaching out to Joplin, MO, family law lawyers at BWO. They have done it all before and can make these procedures go as smoothly as possible.

  • We assist clients in evaluating child support issues.
  • We represent custodial parents who are not receiving their fair share of child support, as well as non-custodial parents who are paying more than their fair share of child support.

If you have children and are considering divorce, you undoubtedly have questions about the process and your rights. Our Joplin MO family law & divorce lawyers can help.

Affordable, Experienced, and Effective

Please Note: There is a small fee for consultations due at the time of your appointment.


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Joplin, Missouri Alimony Lawyers

Family law can be the most stressful because the stakes are so high. Additionally, the law can change at a moment’s notice. Finding a dedicated team dedicated to the practice area ensures that you get the most comprehensive and up-to-date legal analysis.

Our team of Joplin, MO, family law & divorce attorneys have decades of experience working through complicated alimony situations and delivering the results our clients deserve. No matter where you are in the process, and even if other law firms have let you down – we’re here to help. Call our Joplin MO law office today and start planning for your future.

In Missouri, what used to be called “alimony” is now called “maintenance.” The determination of whether maintenance should be paid and, if so, how much and for how long involves complex issues. There is a threshold test that you must meet to receive maintenance. That test is:

  • Do you lack sufficient property to provide for your needs, including marital property given to you in the dissolution?
  • Are you unable to support yourself through a job, or are you the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for you not to work?

If you pass both of the above tests, the court considers ten factors in deciding the amount of maintenance.

  1. Financial resources of the person asking for maintenance.
  2. The time needed to “retrain” the person seeking maintenance.
  3. The relative earning power of each person.
  4. Standard of living during the marriage.
  5. Debts and assets each person received in the dissolution.
  6. Length of the marriage.
  7. Age, physical and emotional condition of each person.
  8. The basic living expenses of the person who would pay the maintenance.
  9. Conduct of the parties during the marriage.
  10. Other relevant factors such as sacrifices one party may have made to send the other spouse to school.

The length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the relative earning power of each spouse are often the most critical maintenance factors.

If the parties had a long marriage, one spouse has a substantial income, the parties enjoyed a high standard of living during the marriage, and the other spouse was not employed during the marriage but stayed at home and maintained the household, the employed spouse will likely be obligated to pay maintenance.


Marital Property

Dividing Marital Property in Missouri

The division of property will determine both the dollar value of the assets you receive from the divorce, as well as the specific items of personal and real property you retain. The dollar value of the property you receive is critical to your ability to move forward from the divorce financially.

You will also want to receive assets that leave you financially capable of providing for your children and enjoying vacations and other recreational activities. You may also have particular items of property that are meaningful to you that you want to retain following the divorce. All of these issues must be addressed in the division of property.

If you have substantial assets or own a business or other income-generating assets that involve complex valuation issues, you should contact an experienced estate planning and family law lawyer. Most people considering divorce have questions about the process and their rights. Let our Joplin MO family law & divorce lawyers help.


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