Over 100 Years of Experience in Family Law
The attorneys at The Schechter Law Firm, P.C. in St. Louis, Missouri possess over 100 years of experience in divorce and family law matters throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area, including St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and St. Louis City. Our lawyers have written and lectured extensively in the area of family law and have knowledge of all relevant legal developments statewide. Our firm limits its practice to domestic relations, related litigation, and appellate practice in Missouri in order to provide the most accurate and effective legal assistance to our clients. The decision to dissolve a marriage is a difficult and stressful one to make, and we realize how important your emotional needs will be at this time. The choices you make as you move through this process can affect you, your family, and your financial future for years to come. We diligently prepare your case in order to reach a beneficial settlement with hopefully a minimum amount of conflict and strife. However, where settlement is not possible, you can feel secure with the extensive litigation experience possessed by members of the firm. Our attorneys have successfully handled litigation involving the most contentious and difficult matters, from highly-contested custody disputes, to complex property division cases involving high-value assets and closely-held businesses, to complicated support issues. Your family law matter is just as important to us as it is to you, and we dedicate our practice towards finding a creative and workable solution that meets your needs. In the greater St. Louis metro area, contact The Schechter Law Firm, P.C. at (314) 727-7289 for a confidential appointment.
8000 Maryland Avenue
St. Louis MO 63105
The Schechter Law Firm, P.C. in St. Louis has over 100 years of experience in the area of Missouri family law. Our attorneys are experts in every aspect of matrimonial law and provide strong and effective representation on every issue, whether settling th
Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)
Divorce is a stressful time for all parties involved. Our job is to make sure that your immediate and long-term goals are considered in a deliberate and thoughtful manner, and we devote our negotiation and litigation skills toward realizing those goals on your behalf. Our lawyers handle the full range of dissolution matters, from uncontested divorces to cases involving contentious custody disputes, support issues, and complex marital and nonmarital assets. See our Dissolution of Marriage page for more information.
Division Of Marital Assets
Marital property is not always divided equally, but only in a manner that the court deems fair and just. Many factors go into this judicial determination, including the contribution each spouse has made towards acquiring the marital property, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and the conduct of the spouses during the marriage. Obtaining the proper characterization of assets as marital or nonmarital property, and determining an appropriate value for those assets, are critical to receiving a fair deal in the property settlement. Our attorneys are experienced in high-value assets and estates, as well as complex matters such as closely-held business interests, pensions, stock ownership, and ownership of real property.
Protection Of Nonmarital Property
Generally, property that was owned or acquired before marriage, and property that was acquired by gift or inheritance, belongs to that spouse as separate property and is not subject to division by the court. Some property acquired during marriage may even be separate property as well, depending upon how it was acquired. However, there are many ways in which separate property can become marital property. We utilize our knowledge and experience in the most complex property matters to ensure that assets are properly characterized as separate or marital property, safeguarded or challenged, and dealt with accordingly.
Many factors determine the amount of maintenance that may be awarded and the length of time that it may be paid. Significant factors include the length of the marriage, the ages and health of the spouses, and their income, expenses (standard of living), assets and earning capacity. Another factor that may come into play is the conduct of the parties during the marriage. The most important fact to know about maintenance in Missouri is that it is not automatically granted in every divorce. The party seeking maintenance must prove the need for support according to a two-prong test set out in state law. See our page on Maintenance for more information.
The court determines whether to award custody primarily to one parent or whether custody will be shared jointly by both parents. The court decides not only which parent gets physical custody of the child, but also who will be responsible for making important decisions regarding the child's health, education, and welfare. While the wishes of the parents and the child are considered along with a host of other factors, the main concern of the court is what is in the best interests of the children. Please see our Child Custody page for more information.
Both parents have an obligation to support their children financially, and the court will usually order the non-custodial parent to pay a monthly support amount to the custodial parent. Courts utilize state guidelines to determine the amount of support, which is based on both parents' incomes, as well as the needs of the child, including costs of health insurance, child care, and any extraordinary medical expenses or other special needs. Child support usually lasts until the child turns 18, but may continue longer if the child goes on to a post-secondary school.
Motions to Modify
Once a final judgment is entered, it is difficult to change existing domestic relations orders. However, it is possible to change child custody and support orders upon a showing of changed circumstances that justify the modification. For instance, perhaps the income or expenses of either spouse has changed, or the needs of the child have changed. Also, the need or desire for one parent to relocate out of state or a significant distance from the other parent may require the court to revisit the custody and visitation arrangement.
A biological father may have the legal right to custody and visitation, as well as be held legally responsible for the payment of child support. It may be necessary to engage in a legal proceeding to determine parentage. We represent clients seeking to establish or challenge paternity to determine issues of custody and support. We also handle modifications of paternity actions.
Mr. Schechter is an AV-rated attorney and partner in the Firm.
Primary Areas of Practice:
-Dissolution of marriage (divorce)
-Division of marital assets
-Protection of nonmarital property
-Motions to Modify (changing existing orders)
-Enforcement of existing orders
-Motions for Contempt
-Orders of Protection
-J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, 1985
-B.A., Washington University in St. Louis, 1982
-American Bar Association, Family Law Section
-Missouri State Bar Association
-Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Family & Juvenile Law Section
-St. Louis County Bar Association
Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers
-Super Lawyers (2013 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers)
-Combating Dirty Tricks of the Trade" (2013)
-"Divorce Law Guide from A to Z" (2013) (2010)
-"Family Law from Start to Finish" (2012)
-"Litigating Money Modifications" (2008) will now become the fourth entry following Lecturer
-"Litigating Money Modifications" (2008)
-"Family Law Litigation in Missouri" (2008, 2007, 2006, 2001, 1996)
-"Child Custody and Shared Parenting in Missouri" (2001)
-"Child Custody and Visitation in Missouri" (2000, 1999)
-"Tax Aspects of Divorce in Missouri" (1996)
-Co-Author, "Antenuptial Agreements" with Michael Schechter, Fall, 1995, St. Louis Bar Journal
Washington University in St. Louis School of Law