Every year I exchange Christmas cards and this month I've gotten the usual batch from friends and family. Quite a few from people I haven't seen in years. Most have a letter that recaps the last 12 months or so. One such card/letter combination was friend an old friend who lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Unfortunately he said, he and his wife were getting a Missouri divorce. But the good thing was that they were doing it on-line and would save several thousands of dollars. Yippeee! So there was a happy ending to all of this after all! I couldn't believe my ears. An on-line Missouri divorce. What will they think of next?
So I logged on and first thing I see is a Missouri divorce that you can do on line for less then $300.00 (o-k, it was actually $299.99). Now apparently because most Missouri divorce lawyers charge an average of about $3500.00 a case, this on-line method for a Missouri divorce offered substantial savings. Heck, as a person who is always on the lookout for a good deal, I almost felt like divorcing my wife just so I could enjoy the feeling of saving so much money!
Well, they don't call Missouri the "show me" state for nothing. First of all, a Missouri divorce isn't really referred to as a 'divorce". In Missouri divorce is referred to as"dissolution". Because back in the good old days what lawyers considered the "bonds of matrimony" as being dissolved. What are the "bonds of matrimony"? I have no idea. Money? That will certainly bond a couple. Children? That's pretty bonding. In most jurisdictions, the legal mechanism for ending a marriage is called "divorce". Missouri is also known as a "no-fault" state, meaning if one spouse states that "the marriage is irretrievably broken" and there's no chance in Hell that the marriage can be saved (ok, the actual legal speak is a bit more complicated, but you get the point), the couple gets their "dissolution", then the Missouri divorce is legal and binding and the marriage is over.
Getting back to this friend of mine, his on-line divorce was wrapped up in a matter of weeks. Now, I don't know how complicated this "dissolution' of marriage was regarding their kids, but I do know that they agreed to disagree. They both understood the rational of setting aside their differences and working things out as amicably as possibly so they could get things wrapped up and move on with their lives. I imagine if this couple had such a sense of teamwork when they were actually married, they'd never have found reason to get a Missouri divorce, er, dissolution in the first place!
So the guy shelled out his $299.99 - he was able to charge it on credit card no less - and he got a downloadable divorce kit that covered everything regarding Missouri divorce records, settlements, the works. It also had a nifty piece of advice tacked on as fine print: "Take every thing with you when you move out of the house or you may never see it again. Don't depend on your (ex) spouses generosity for giving up wedding pictures, jewelry or other personal items" Sounds like an undercurrent of hardball if you ask me.
Well to make a long story short. And believe me it WAS short as this was all recounted on the back of a Christmas card - the couple paid their money and got what they paid for; a legal and binding Missouri divorce complete with legitimate Missouri divorce records that testify to their actions.
It's not for me to say what effect this had on their children. Maybe it all hasn't sunk in yet. But I want to say they all lived happily ever after and you know now that I think of it, maybe they did!