Skip to main content
Margaret P. Murphy

Margaret Murphy’s Answers

24 total

  • I recently got married. I want to know is the property that I own considered community property.

    I have found out that my new husband has several financial debts, including taxes owed. I want to be sure that my property that I owned before the wedding is not subjected to community property

    Margaret’s Answer

    Missouri is what is called a modified no fault state. Further, Missouri does not have what is called community property, we term it as separate and marital property. Any property or debt you had prior to marriage is separate. Whatever property or debt you accumulate during marriage is marital. Issues start to arise when you "comingle" the funds, or use separate property to pay for marital items, or vice versa.

    See question 
  • What legal document can be filed w/ the St Louis County Family Court to get an appearance before the judge on back child support

    She had to take her ex to court for back child support. He was ordered to pay about $400 per month for about 1 year. He made the first few payments but is now about 5 months behind. The judge warned him that if he did not make the payments on ti...

    Margaret’s Answer

    Your wife will need to see an attorney, experience in these matters, to help her best address how to deal with the back child support. If she is receiving child support through the State of Missouri, they will have an accurate printout of how much is owed, and if there is a current garnishment in place. Also, if the amount progresses above a certain level, it becomes a criminal matter. If your wife wishes to proceed in the Family Court, she will need to file a Motion for Contempt and Order to Show Cause.

    See question 
  • When DNA is done through FAMILY DIVISION who gets stuck with the bill? how much is it per person in missouri?

    there is me,child,and 2 men in my case.

    Margaret’s Answer

    If you have done your DNA test through the State of Missouri, they usually pay for the DNA testing. If they will not, the biological Father and Mother generally have an obligation to pay the bill. If you are unable, you will probably have to have your attorney bring this issue up to your Judge.

    See question 
  • How would I go about getting guardianship of an unborn child?

    My wife and I were informed that our 15 year old daughter is pregnant. We talked with her and the father and his parents. It was agreed upon that my wife and I should take guardianship of the child untill my daughter and her boyfriend are able too...

    Margaret’s Answer

    I would also suggest talking to a family law attorney and get the paperwork started. Please remember that a guardianship will allow you to have rights with the unborn child. It does not terminate your daughter's or the father's rights.

    See question 
  • Do I need to file for full custody through a court or would I already be the sole guardian?

    I live in Missouri my son's father lives in Kansas. He was added to my sons birth certificate at the age of two because paternity was established. My son has his last name. His dad pays child support but late and not in the full amount. He rarely ...

    Margaret’s Answer

    In the State of Missouri, paternity can be established through a court order that establishes paternity, child custody and child support. Child Support can be estabished through a separate action through Child Support Enforcement. Do you have an order from a Circuit Judge? If so that is the one you need to be following. If you do not have a court order, then you as the mother are presumed to have sole legal and physical custody of your son.

    See question 
  • My husband is in prison and refuses to sign divorce paperwork, what can I do?

    We have no children, or joint property.

    Margaret’s Answer

    In the State of Missouri, you have the right to a default divorce. You can personally serve him by sheriff or process server. Then wait thirty days. If he has not done anything or entered an answer, you can ask the Court to set your case for default. They will give you a court date, you will have a hearing on the record, and the Court will enter your divorce.

    See question 
  • What to do when your divorce attorney takes sides with the ex?

    I saved for a retainer and got the best attorney in our area. He never met my husband and was nice the first day demanding $3000 down, I gave him the money and then when we went to court he would not let me in the courtroom and only communicated ...

    Margaret’s Answer

    You don't say if your case is final yet. If your case is not final, you still have the chance to find a different attorney to represent you. If you have alleged abuse or neglect in your pleadings the Court has to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent your daughter. This could help your case in protecting your daughter.

    See question 
  • Can my 12 year old sons biological father make me submit him to a DNA test if he was not listed as the father on the birth cert

    My son is 12. His biological father has never met him or attempted until now. I was separated from my husband when I got pregnant by a man that was very physically abusive. I have medical records from my many visits to the hospital. After leaving ...

    Margaret’s Answer

    In the State of Missouri, you only have to make your son available for a DNA test unless you agree or you are ordered to by the Court. The biological father must file a Paternity action and request a DNA test which he will be required to pay for at the time it is administered.

    See question 
  • In Missouri, what is the legal age that a child can decide which parent to live with if the parents have joint custody?

    My 14 year old daughter and 12 year old daughter have both expressed a desire to not return to their father's house for visitation. My 14 year old expressed this to him to which her father stated he would contact his lawyer if she was not at his ...

    Margaret’s Answer

    In the State of Missouri, judges have the ultimate discretion. The statues state that children have a say when they get older, usually around 14. If your daughters' have expressed a strong preference, when you file your Motion to Modity the Judge will appoint a Guardian ad Litem. Your daughters will have to express their preference to the Guardian ad Litem.

    See question 
  • I bailed my son out for missing a court date 2500.00 and a lawyer is telling him that my money could go for back child support

    I was told I would get the money back after they have a hearing on my son after court costs and so on I dont see how they can take my money for back pay on child support

    Margaret’s Answer

    Yes, your money could be used for back child support. Did you pay the money to the prosecutor or Department of Child Support Enforcement so the warrant would be dismissed? Or did you pay it through a bail bondsman? If it was through the prosecutor or DCSE it is likely the money would go for the back support.

    See question