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Family Law & Divorce Lawyers in Missouri

Buchanan Williams & O'Brien

Dedicated Family Law & Divorce Attorneys in Missouri

We handle all types of family law disputes for our clients, including divorces, child custody disputes, child support modifications, maintenance modifications, adoptions, and many, many others. These disputes can cause tremendous stress because they involve the thing most important to you – your family.

Affordable, Experienced, and Effective

Please Note: there is a small fee for consultations, which is applied to your case.


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Trusted and experienced family lawyers in St. Louis, Joplin and Springfield ready to help. 

Please note: personal injury and worker’s compensation consultations are always free.  There is a small fee for criminal law, traffic, and family law cases.

We help you through difficult times. We make the process understandable and manageable. We have the expertise to guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and help you accomplish your goals.

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.  Our team is collaborative, which means you get the advantage of decades of proven legal experience standing behind your case.

A Top Family Lawyer in the State of Missouri 

Walter Williams is a founding member of BWO and one of the leading attorneys in the State of 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 are willing and able to help you.

All of 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.

Call 417-781-8280 or toll-free at 800-371-8220. You can also email us anytime at

Divorce in Missouri

DivorceTrusted Attorneys for Divorce in Missouri

The legal term for a divorce 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. Divorce 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 going forward.

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

CustodyChild Custody & Paternity Lawyers

Parents involved in a divorce want to ensure that they will remain an influential and positive role in their children’s lives going forward. As a result, the most important, hotly contested, and emotionally charged part of a divorce often involves child custody and visitation issues. If you have children, you should have a family attorney assist you with your 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.” If you have children and are considering divorce, you undoubtedly have questions about the process and your rights.

Child Support

Top Missouri Child Support Attorneys 

Child support is a critical issue in divorce cases. 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 serious financial hardship to the paying parent, particularly when the parent is paying more than his or her fair share of the support obligation.

  • 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.


Missouri Alimony Lawyers

In Missouri, what used to be called “alimony” is now called “maintenance”. There is a threshold test that you must meet to receive maintenance. That test is:

  • Do you lack sufficient property, including marital property given to you in the dissolution, to provide for your needs?
  • 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, then the court considers ten factors in deciding the amount of maintenance.
  • Financial resources of the person asking for maintenance.
  • Time needed to “retrain” the person seeking maintenance.
  • The relative earning power of each person.
  • Standard of living during the marriage.
  • Debts and assets each person received in the dissolution.
  • Length of the marriage.
  • Age, physical and emotional condition of each person.
  • The basic living expenses of the person who would pay the maintenance.
  • Conduct of the parties during the marriage.
  • 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 important 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.

The determination of whether maintenance should be paid, and, if so, how much and for how long, involve complex issues.

Dividing Marital Property

Marital PropertyDividing 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 financially move forward from the divorce.

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 clearly addressed in the division of property. The division of property involves many complex valuation and tax issues.

If you have substantial assets, or if you own a business or other income generating assets that involve complex valuation issues, you should contact an experienced family law attorney. Most people considering divorce have questions about the process and their rights.

Affordable, Experienced, and Effective

Please Note: there is a small fee for consultations, which is applied to your case.


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