Collaborative Lawyer, Ann Bauer, has been named an ICON by Missouri Lawyers Media

Missouri Lawyers Media will acknowledge the remarkable and noteworthy professional journeys of 25 lawyers and judges through the ICON Awards. This annual event celebrates individuals aged 60 and above in the Missouri legal community, honoring their exceptional careers and unwavering dedication to their profession. Nominees, whether currently practicing or retired, must have held a prominent role with significant decision-making power within their firm or organization. The 2024 awardees comprise of state and federal judges, founding partners, leaders of firms, and experienced practitioners from both large and small firms.

The St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association is proud to congratulate Ann Bauer on her distinguished career and recognition.

Sara Marler sits down with KMOV's David Amelotti to discuss Divorce With Respect Week

Divorce With Dignity

Sara Marler sat down with KMOV's David Amelotti to discuss Collaborative Divorce.

DAVID:                 THIS WEEK IS DIVORCE WITH RESPECT WEEK AND A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS SHOW THE RATES OF DIVORCE IN AMERICA IS RISING. ACCORDING TO THE U.S. CENSUS DATA, IT WAS 7.1 OUT OF EVERY ONE-THOUSAND WOMEN, UP 3% FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR. THE DIVORCE RATE IN MISSOURI WAS UP 2.5% AND ILLINOIS WITH THE DIVORCE RATE OF 5.7%. WHILE DIVORCE CAN BE CONTENTIOUS, WHILE DIVORCE CAN BE CONTENTIOUS, A WHILE DIVORCE CAN BE CONTENTIOUS, A GROUP IN ST. LOUIS IS LOOKING TO HELP PEOPLE DIVORCE DIVORCE WITH DIGNITY. WE HAVE SARAH MARLER WITH THE COLLABORATIVE LAW ASSOCIATION. THIS IS A TOPIC AFFECTING TOO MANY PEOPLE AND WITH DIVORCE WITH RESPECT WEEK, I WANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT IS AND HOW IS DIVORCE WITH DIGNITY POSSIBLE? 

SARA:                    THE ST. LOUIS COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW ASSOCIATION IS REALLY EXCITED TO RECOGNIZE DIVORCE WITH RESPECT WEEK AND RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE OF MISSOURI THIS YEAR AND THE ST. LOUIS COUNTY FAMILY COURTS AND ST. LOUIS CITY. IT'S AN IMPORTANT TIME TO RECOGNIZE THERE'S A WAY TO GO THROUGH THIS PROCESS OUT OF THE COURT SYSTEM. IT'S A WAY TO GET YOUR ATTENTION TO TRY TO HELP FOLKS TRANSITION FROM MARRIED IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD TO UNTYING THE KNOT WHILE NOT BLOWING THROUGH YOUR WHILE NOT BLOWING THROUGH YOUR ENTIRE ESTATE AND BEING ABLE TO MAINTAIN YOUR FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

DAVID:                 IT'S ACTUALLY ALLOWING BOTH PEOPLE TO THRIVE BEYOND THAT MARRIAGE PEOPLE TO THRIVE BEYOND THAT MARRIAGE ONCE PEOPLE TO THRIVE BEYOND THAT MARRIAGE ONCE IT ENDS. IF A COUPLE COMES TO YOU, MARRIAGE ONCE IT ENDS, WHAT DOES THIS PROCESS LOOK LIKE? BECAUSE IN UNDERSTAND THERE'S SEVERAL PROFESSIONALS A PART OF THIS TRYING TO HELP A COUPLE PART TRYING TO HELP A COUPLE REACH THEIR END GOAL HERE. 

SARA:                    CORRECT, SO IF YOU GO THROUGH A TRADITIONAL DIVORCE, IT'S SORT OF A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL APPROACH. THAT’S NOT HOW THIS IS HANDLED AT ALL.  WE HAVE CHILD SPECIALISTS THAT CAN BE INVOLVED. WE HAVE COMMUNICATION COACHES THAT CAN BE INVOLVED AND FINANCIAL EXPERTS THAT CAN BE INVOLVED AND, OF COURSE, EACH PERSON HAS THEIR OWN ATTORNEY. BUT WE TAILOR THAT,   THOSE EXPERTS ARE NOT OBVIOUSLY INVOLVED IN EVERY SINGLE CASE, IT DEPENDS ON THE CASE AND WHO NEEDS WHAT. BUT THE OTHER KEY PIECE TO THIS ELEMENT OF THIS PROCESS IS YOU, THE COUPLE, GET TO TAILOR HOW YOUR CASE LOOKS.  THE COURT IS NOT CONTROLLING THE TIMELINE. THE COURT IS NOT CONTROLLING THE OUTCOME THE COURT IS NOT DICTATING WHAT REST OF YOUR LIFE LOOKS LIKE AS FAR AS CHILD SUPPORT OR WHEN YOU SEE YOUR CHILDREN. YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARE DOING THAT. 

DAVID:                 AND WHAT DOES THE SUCCESS RATE LOOK WITH THIS? 

SARA:                    THE SUCCESS RATE IS HUGE, 90% POSITIVE RESULTS ARE COMING FROM GOING THROUGH THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS

DAVID:                 WONDERFUL, AND BEFORE WE LET YOU GO, FOR PEOPLE TO LEARN MORE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR GROUP SPECIFICALLY, WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO GO? 

SARA:                    STLOUISCOLLABORATIVELAW.COM.

DAVID:                 WONDERFUL! WELL SARAH, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME, WE GREATLY APPRECIATE IT. IF YOU MISSED ANY PART OF THAT CONVERSATION, DON’T WORRY WE’LL HAVE THAT UP FOR YOU AT FIRSTALERT4.COM AND OF COURSE THE  FIRST ALERT 4 NEW APP. 

City of Clayton Declares March 4th through 8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

The City of Clayton, Missouri has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week™ in St. Louis. For the duration of the week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.  

Divorce With Respect Week™ is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as a better option for divorce than going to court. Nearly 500 divorce professionals nationwide are participating in Divorce With Respect Week™ in 2024.

“When people think of divorce, they think of a tumultuous process that often wastes time and leaves people traumatized, but it doesn’t have to be that way.” said Jennifer Piper, an attorney and member of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.“Collaborative Divorce does the unconventional in that clients actually lead the discussion on the divorce outcome, not a judge.” 

When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also receive guidance from a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any issues without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families. 

St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association is a not-for-profit organization of independent mental health professionals, attorneys, and financial professionals dedicated to assisting St. Louis and Missouri in resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce. Members recently featured on The Respectful Divorce Podcast, where they discussed exactly how a Collaborative Divorce has benefited St. Louis

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week™, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

City of St. Louis Declares March 4th through 8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

he City of St. Louis, Missouri has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week™in St. Louis. For the duration of the week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.  

“Choosing an out-of-court divorce process is widely understood to be a better process for the children of the divorcing couple because it allows the divorcing parties to co-parent and to end the marriage without destroying the family's relationships and financial estate,” the proclamation stated. 

Divorce With Respect Week™ is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as a better option for divorce than going to court. Nearly 500 divorce professionals nationwide are participating in Divorce With Respect Week™ in 2024.

“The city recognizing Divorce With Respect Week™ is incredibly helpful in our mission to revolutionize the way people divorce,” said Cynthia Garnholz, attorney and member of St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.

St. Louis has a divorce rate of 12.5%, which is higher than the national average – but separating doesn’t have to cause severe irreparable damages to the family dynamic. When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also receive guidance from a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any issues without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families. 

St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association is a not-for-profit organization of independent mental health professionals, attorneys, and financial professionals dedicated to assisting St. Louis and Missouri in resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce. 

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week™, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

St. Louis County Declares March 4th through 8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

St. Louis County, Missouri has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024 to be Divorce With Respect Week in St. Louis County. During Divorce With Respect Week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.  

“Choosing an out-of-court divorce process is widely understood to be a better process for the children of the divorcing couple because it allows the divorcing parties to co-parent and to end the marriage without destroying the family's relationships and financial estate,” the proclamation stated. 

Divorce With Respect Week is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as an alternative to litigation. Over 500 divorce professionals nationwide have joined in Divorce With Respect Week this year.  

St. Louis has a divorce rate of 12.5%, which is higher than the national average – but separating doesn’t have to cause severe irreparable damages to the family dynamic. When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also work with a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any uncertainties without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families. 

St. Louis residents seeking Collaborative professionals can contact the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association, a a not-for-profit organization of independent mental health professionals, attorneys, and financial professionals dedicated to resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce. 

“The county’s recognition of Divorce With Respect Week is so important because it lets families know there’s another way to go about divorcing without causing lasting emotional, financial and legal problems,” said Susan Amato, attorney and member of St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

The State of Missouri has Declared March 4th-8th, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week

The Missouri House of Representatives has issued a proclamation declaring March 4-8, 2024, to be Divorce With Respect Week in the state of Missouri. During Divorce With Respect Week, members of the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association and Collaborative Practice Kansas City are offering free 30-minute divorce consultations for anyone seeking to learn more about the divorce process and divorce process options that are available to them.

“The Collaborative Divorce process is designed to allow the couple to divorce in a more respectful and dignified manner as they receive guidance from lawyers, child specialists, mental health professionals and financial coaches to craft their own agreements.” the proclamation stated.

Divorce With Respect Week is a growing national movement led by divorce professionals to raise awareness of Collaborative Divorce as a better option for divorce than going to court. Over 500 divorce professionals nationwide are participating Divorce With Respect Week in 2024.

“The state’s recognition of Divorce With Respect Week is so important because it lets families know there’s another way to go about divorcing without causing lasting emotional, financial and legal problems,” said Susan Amato, attorney and member of St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association.



With a divorce rate of 12.2%, Missouri has one of the highest divorce rates in the country – but separating doesn’t have to cause severe irreparable damages to the family dynamic. When clients choose a Collaborative Divorce, they don’t just receive the help of their individual attorneys – they also receive guidance from a divorce financial expert, a mental health professional, and a child specialist for any children involved in the case. With a team of professionals on their side, clients can resolve any issues without going to court and causing lasting emotional damage to them and their families.

During Divorce With Respect Week, Missouri residents can turn to St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association and Collaborative Practice Kansas City for a divorce consultation. Both are a collective of divorce professionals dedicated to assisting St. Louis and Missouri in resolving family disputes through Collaborative Divorce.

To schedule a free divorce consultation with a St. Louis or Kansas City divorce professional during Divorce With Respect Week, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis Joins Divorce With Respect Week™ Initiative

The Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis has joined Divorce With Respect Week™ 2024, running from March 4-8. During that week, members of CFLA will join divorce professionals nationwide in offering 30-minute free divorce consultations for up to three people seeking to better understand options for how they might divorce.

The Collaborative Family Law Association of St. Louis will offer these consultations for residents of the greater St. Louis area. To book a free consultation, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com. Those living outside of the St. Louis area can also use the website to find their nearest participating Collaborative Divorce professional.

Divorce With Respect Week is a national effort aiming to promote Collaborative Divorce as an alternative to divorce litigation. Collaborative Divorce allows couples to separate without having to deal with the messy and adversarial process of going to court. Should clients opt to divorce collaboratively, they would be offered a neutral financial professional and a child specialist for any children involved in the divorce. The addition of a divorce coach to facilitate effective communication allows clients to amicably resolve their issues in a private setting. The process is especially beneficial for families with children who want to focus on an ongoing, amicable relationship, and it typically yields more satisfying results than divorce litigation.

To learn more about Collaborative Divorce, visit www.divorcewithrespectweek.com.

Prenuptial Agreements and Collaborative Practice

You’ve fallen in love, your intended is a wonderful person and you’ve decided to get married! But . . . it’s complicated. He has children from a prior marriage and she makes a lot more money and has many more assets.  You both want to protect your assets for yourselves if the marriage does not work out, or for your children, if you are the first to die.  So, you’ve agreed you need a prenuptial agreement.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is also called an antenuptial agreement.  It describes who gets what in the event of divorce or death. It’s simple, right?  Unfortunately no.  When you start talking about it, things get complicated.  What if I sell my house to marry you and then we get divorced – where and how will I live? What if I think I will need alimony (“maintenance” in Missouri) if we get divorced and you say you won’t pay it?  What if we both invest in a house and I die – will my children get any benefit from the house?  What if we have children together?  How will we provide for our children and children from a prior relationship? These are just some of the questions you may need to think about and resolve. Better to do so prior to your marriage and get a written agreement so that there are no misunderstandings.

Working Through the Prenuptial Agreement

But, is there a way to resolve these issues without compromising (or ruining!) your relationship with your intended?

Collaborative practice is ideal for discussion about and negotiation of prenuptial agreements which can be lengthy and complex documents. In Missouri, a prenuptial agreement may be significantly weakened if one party is not represented by an attorney. In the collaborative practice setting, each party will have an attorney trained in the collaborative process who can help both of you identify and understand what terms you should consider for the agreement and why.  There will also be one or two mental health professionals present throughout the process to provide, not therapy, but support for each of you. There will also be a financial professional who will provide information about budgets, taxes, cash flow and other pertinent and important information about your respective financial positions and how they might be affected by the terms under consideration.  This team will be dedicated to helping you think about and resolve tough questions and will assist you and your intended in reaching the best agreement for both of you and for your children.

Benefits: Prenuptual Agreements in Collaborative Process

Collaborative practice can strengthen your prenuptial agreement in that the terms will have been fully explored, explained and considered by both parties.  In addition, it can make the negotiation of the terms of the agreement much more comfortable and less tense as the collaborative team assists both parties to reach an agreement they understand and believe they can live with.

Discussing and deciding on your financial future together in a supportive environment with trained professionals is a great way to set the stage for your new life together.  After all, a successful marriage is, in great part, a collaboration!

Learn More About the Collaborative Process

If your goal is to have a positive prenuptial conversation the key is to find the best process for having that conversation.  The most supportive process for working through the complicated "what if" scenarios.  A step you can take today is to review the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law website for more information, and a list of collaborative law professionals, trained in the collaborative process.  Many professionals in the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association offer an initial consultation at no charge, so you will have an opportunity to determine the best fit for you in the prenuptial agreement process.

Missouri Divorce and Child Support

Parents naturally are most concerned about their children at the time of divorce. One of the most important issues to be decided is how and in what amounts the children will be financially provided for.

Missouri Form 14

The Missouri Supreme Court has developed a way of calculating the amounts needed for support of children: it is called the Form 14 and it is readily available on the internet. The Form 14 child support amount is based on the gross (before tax deductions) income of each parent, the number of children of the marriage and various adjustments to income, including (among others) the cost of work-related child care and health insurance for the children.

Calculating Missouri Child Support

The Form 14 seems deceptively simple. It might appear that all one needs to do is plug in the gross income of each party, along with some other expenses like day care, and then out comes a child support number. Calculating child support is not, however, as easy as it might first appear. For instance:

These and many other questions can cause distress and conflict when trying to come up with the “right” amount of Form 14 child support. Fighting this issue in court can turn into a bitter and expensive battle with your spouse.

Collaborative Divorce and Child Support

In the collaborative divorce process you and your spouse can look at your individual circumstances and come to creative solutions that meet the interests of each of you and, most importantly, your children. With the help of your collaborative attorneys, your coach, and your financial professional, you and your spouse can discuss what your actual expenses are for your children and then come to decisions about how you want to pay those expenses. Maybe you will decide that no child support money will flow from one parent to the other parent and that you and your spouse will each pay certain expenses or certain percentages of all of the expenses for your child. Or, maybe you will decide that it is right that one parent pay child support to the other and agree on the correct amount for your family. Or, you might conclude that an agreed upon support amount will be paid less than 12 months per year.

The options available to you in collaborative divorce for making decisions about what is best for financial support of your children are limitless. Using the collaborative divorce process to analyze financial support of your children allows you, with the support and help of your collaborative team, to take a deeper dive into thinking about what your children need and what you and your spouse will be able to afford after the divorce. Once you are armed with the facts, you and your spouse can make informed decisions about how best to provide for your children in your unique family situation.

How Do I Get A Simple Divorce?

SO, YOU WANT A SIMPLE DIVORCE?

 I often hear this from prospective clients, usually in relation to the anticipated cost of getting divorced.  As in, “how much will it cost me for a simple divorce?”  My answer is normally, “it depends,” and that begins a rather lengthy conversation about what, exactly it depends on.

In my experience, there are several things that can contribute to making a “simple” divorce complicated.  At times, we’re dealing with complex issues, like sorting out the value of a business, separating marital assets from non-marital assets, or spousal support.  In other situations, the issues may be rather straightforward, but one party may not be emotionally ready to get divorced.  It’s not at all unusual for parties in a divorce to be at different stages of readiness in relation to the divorce.  Often, one party may have been ready to leave the marriage six months, or even a year ago.  Sometimes even longer than that.  So, it can take the other spouse a bit of time to get up to speed.

If one spouse is still grieving the loss of the marriage, he or she may not be anxious to get to the finish line.  The reluctant spouse may, wittingly or unwittingly, create obstacles that make it more difficult to finish the process, and that can frustrate the spouse who was ready to be divorced on Day 1.

SO, HOW DO I CHANGE THAT?

Let’s look at the constants first:  You can’t change the situation itself.  It is what it is.  You can’t change the issues that need to be resolved.   The same issues must be dealt with, one way or the other.  You can’t change your spouse, although you certainly may have tried.  Let’s face it, if you could change your spouse, you probably wouldn’t be looking for a divorce attorney.

SO, WHAT CAN I CHANGE?

You can determine how you will conduct yourself during the divorce proceedings and how you will interact with your spouse.    Making a good faith effort to act according to your own values and integrity can go a long way in keeping matters simple and minimizing the stress and drama that can often accompany a divorce.

You also have the ability to select the divorce process you would prefer to use to resolve the issues in your divorce.  In some cases, when the issues are simple and both parties are emotionally ready to do so, parties are able to sit down together and discuss the issues in a reasonable, rational way.  That is usually called the kitchen table process.  Most divorcing couples need a bit more support than that, however, so many couples elect to use mediation or the collaborative process. 

In mediation, the parties use the services of a neutral mediator to guide them through their negotiations to reach a settlement.  The parties have attorneys to give them legal advice, but the attorneys aren’t usually directly involved in the settlement negotiations.  In the collaborative process, each party works with their own collaboratively-trained attorney, and other team members, including a neutral mental health coach to assist the couple in their communication during the settlement negotiations.  If one party is angry or sad about their spouse’s decision to leave the marriage, the involvement of a coach can be invaluable in helping the reluctant party deal with his or her emotions sensitively and therapeutically.  That can pave the way for more focused and productive settlement negotiations.   Many collaborative teams also include a neutral financial specialist to assist them in negotiating the financial settlement including the division of property, spousal support, child support, valuation of separate and marital property, and other complex financial issues.

SO, WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?

If your goal is to have a “simple divorce,” the key is to find the best fit, for you and your spouse, in terms of the process you choose, and in the divorce professionals you select.  Review the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law website for more information, and a list of family law attorneys trained in mediation and the collaborative processMany attorneys in the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association offer an initial consultation at no charge, so you will have an opportunity to determine the best fit for you, in the divorce process and in your choice of an attorney.

About The Author: Marjorie Carter

Marjorie is an attorney and former member of CFLA.