Harris Law, LLC Divorce, Custody, and Auto Accident Attorney in Nixa

Harris Law, LLC Divorce, Custody, and Auto Accident Attorney in NixaHarris Law, LLC Divorce, Custody, and Auto Accident Attorney in NixaHarris Law, LLC Divorce, Custody, and Auto Accident Attorney in Nixa

ATTENTION: Updated COVID-19 Order Issue 05/04/2020 by Missouri Supreme Court


On May 4, 2020 the Missouri Supreme Court entered an Order implementing Operational Directives to local Courts. This Order allows each circuit to address the diverse needs of the state by region while still adhering to a uniform set of COVID-19 safeguards. Currently the April 17, 2020 order remains in place and suspends – with certain listed exceptions – all in-person proceedings in all state courts through May 15, 2020.  Click below to review other updates including the Operational Directives each Court will follow to resume operations.



Recent Honors


Personalized Service that is "Focused on You".

Each case is handled with customized strategy and proven techniques. You will never feel like a number with case specific game plans that get you where you want to be.   

Joel T. Harris, Esq.

Award Winning Attorney

Recently named the top Family Law Attorney in the State of Missouri by AI Magazine, Springfield / Nixa Attorney is no stranger to recognition for the hard work he puts in to every case. 

A multi-year winner of the prestigious American Society of Legal Advocates Top 40 Under 40 Award for Attorneys in Missouri. 

A recipient of the American Academy of Trial Attorneys Premier 100 Attorneys in the nation.

A multi-year winner of the American Institute of Legal Counsel's 10 Best Attorney Award for the State of Missouri in Client Satisfaction. 

Paralegals & Staff

Kim Heflin, Paralegal

Leslie Harris, Office Manager

Ashley Youb, Paralegal

Harris Law Paralegal Kim Heflin

Kim has over 32 years of paralegal experience in the areas of Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Social Security, and Real Estate.

Ashley Youb, Paralegal

Leslie Harris, Office Manager

Ashley Youb, Paralegal


Ashley is a 2008 graduate of Everest College with an AD in paralegal studies. She has over 8 years experience as a paralegal in the areas of Family Law, Criminal Defense and Personal Injury.

Leslie Harris, Office Manager

Leslie Harris, Office Manager

Leslie Harris, Office Manager


Leslie is a 2003 graduate of Arkansas State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science in Social Work. She has operated as the office manager for Harris Law since 2013.


AI Magazine has recognized Joel Harris as the Top Family Law Attorney for the State of Missouri.

Divorce - Christian County

 I started my divorce with one of the most expensive lawyers around. I was extremely disappointed and turned to Joel for help. He jumped right in and was able to take the stress and burden off of my shoulders. Our final trial was yesterday and I am very happy with the way Joel represented me. I will definitely return to him for all of my future legal needs. I know why he is repeatedly voted #1 for client satisfaction. He provides excellent service. Thank you, Joel! 

Custody - Christian County

 We hired Joel as our attorney for our custody case. He was recommended to us from a friend that is a top attorney elsewhere. We were so glad we did. Joel is not only an attorney, but a judge so he knows the law backwards and forwards. The attorney on the other side of our case was supposedly one of the "top" attorneys in our area. Joel, having had so much experience with this attorney knew exactly what we were dealing with, and what strategy to employ. He provided us with such great advice that he put our minds at ease throughout the whole process leading up to trial. Joel is kind, attentive and we felt like we were his only client, even though we knew how busy he was in and out of court. At the end of it all, we got the exact outcome we had hoped for, and now consider Joel a friend. How often can you say that about your attorney? Joel is affordable and highly knowledgeable. We didn't have to go into debt to hire him or pay his bill. He is a good man, shoots straight, and always gave us the same legal advice he would give his own family. He never padded the bill for extra hours or silly motions that he knew would go nowhere, he is a stand up guy that we completely trust and will always be our attorney from here on out. I don't think we could have been more pleased with our experience, he made a bad situation bearable. 

Auto Accident - Christian County

 Joel and his team were a huge help to me after an auto accident. It was a tremendous relief to turn everything over to them and let them deal with the other insurance company. I can't speak to other areas of their practice but if you ever need assistance following an accident, I would absolutely recommend Harris Law. 

Custody - Howell County

 Awesome lawyer!! Works hard on your case will always be honest with you. Can't find a better one in the state. 

Personal Injury - Greene County

 Harris Law exceeded all expectations in every facet of my case. 

Divorce - Christian County

 I hired Joel to represent me on a some personal matters and I was very impressed with his professionalism, his personal coaching, his team and his processes.  They were very helpful for me for the entire process.  

If you need representation I would highly recommend his office. 

Harris Law Recent Verdicts & Settlements

Slip & Fall $200K Settlement

Products Liability $100K Settlement

Products Liability $100K Settlement

Missouri provides injured parties an opportunity to bring suit against negligent landowners who fail to keep their premises safe. Property owners and occupants may be liable for medical expenses, pain and suffering and more. 

Products Liability $100K Settlement

Products Liability $100K Settlement

Products Liability $100K Settlement

Missouri provides injured parties an opportunity to bring suit against companies who manufacture and sell defective products. 

Auto Accident $100K Settlement

Products Liability $100K Settlement

Auto Accident $100K Settlement

Missouri provides injured parties an opportunity to bring suit against drivers who negligently operate a vehicle. 

Contempt $1.8 Million

What is my case worth?

Auto Accident $100K Settlement

Missouri provides parties an opportunity to bring suit against former litigants who fail to comply with the Court's Order. 

Wrongful Death

What is my case worth?

What is my case worth?

Missouri provides injured parties an opportunity to bring suit against persons who were negligent for the death of a loved one. 

What is my case worth?

What is my case worth?

What is my case worth?

 There are many types of personal injury cases, but they all come down to one basic concept: You were hurt because of the negligence or intentional act of someone else.

Personal Attention

 Consistently clients find themselves developing a friendship with Nixa Missouri Attorney Joel Harris. Joel's easy to talk to demeanor help clients convey their thoughts and leave the meeting/consultation immediately feeling better. The goal at Harris Law is to develop clients for life, which makes Nixa, Missouri Attorney Joel Harris focused on the client. Joel Harris has been described as an aggressive litigator (a bulldog in the court room). Joel feels that aggressive litigation is a simple manifestation of his client's will to meet their goals. There are no short cuts at Harris Law, and Nixa, Missouri Lawyer Joel Harris will focus his skills and experience to help you meet your goals.  


With over a decade of experience practicing law in the Springfield / Nixa area, there is no doubt that Attorney Joel Harris has the skills and dedication to successfully litigate your case. That coupled with the hundreds of trials and thousands of cases he personally handled and evaluated makes him an obvious choice. 


Springfield and Nixa Personal Injury Attorney

Additional Information



The most common causes of serious injury and death in the United States each year result from Auto accidents and collisions. Although advancements in technology have made vehicles and roads significantly safer, automobile accidents remain a common occurrence. Advancements in safety technology and improvements in auto capabilities (i.e. 500 horsepower) have made anyone capable of driving a car a potential deadly weapon. Coupled with the increasingly hardline negotiations coming from insurance companies, many injured persons simply cannot get the recovery they deserve on their own. In fact, auto accident lawsuits are among the most common type of civil tort case filed by attorneys today. It is important to note that not every car accident will result in litigation.

Automobile accidents are founded in the principles of negligence. 

Negligence is generally defined as the lack of ordinary care. It may arise from doing an act that a reasonably prudent person would not have done under the same circumstances, or, from failing to do an act that a reasonably prudent person would have done under the same circumstances.

The most common types of automobile accidents are caused by driver negligence.


Auto accidents caused by negligence can arise under many situations. The most common cause of automobile accidents is driver error. Driver errors are often a result of failure to yield the right of way, following too closely, driving at an excessive rate of speed, driving while intoxicated and failure to see or obey traffic control devices. In the case of semi-truck accidents, many time too many hours on the road, as seen in the drivers log, will result in a split-second mistake that results in the loss of lives to many.

Distractions to Vehicle Driver  

However, these are not the only causes of auto accidents. As a result of our multi-tasked world, distractions to a motor vehicle driver have become an increasing cause of accidents. Common distractions include: car driver uses a cellular phone, car driver attempts to read, car driver puts on makeup, car driver changes the radio station and numerous other distractions both inside and outside of the vehicle.

Liability – “Who pays when both are at fault?” 

Often times, the responsibility for an auto accident does not rest with one single person. There can be multiple factors which caused or contributed to an automobile accident. In some situations the accident simply results from both drivers’ negligence. In those situations a Missouri jury is permitted to compare and apportion the negligence of the plaintiff against that of the defendant and adjust its damage award to the plaintiff according to the degree of comparative negligence of the plaintiff. Thus, if a jury finds the plaintiff 35% responsible for an accident, the jury can reduce the plaintiff’s recovery by 35%. In some situations, a jury can even find that an injured party is 100% responsible for a motor vehicle accident. If that is the case, the injured party will not be entitled to a recovery from the other party, no matter how badly injured he/she is. However, there may be limited recovery available under the medical payments provisions of your own insurance policy.

Insurance Coverage  

Coverage is many times the name of the game. It is an unfortunate, but sometimes the negligent operator of a car may not have sufficient insurance coverage to cover the victim of his/her negligence. In some cases, the victim of an automobile accident may be entitled to make a claim under his/her own automobile insurance policy. This is often known as Uninsured Motorists or Under Insured Motorists (UM/UIM) coverage. It typically arises under two circumstances:

1. The negligent driver has no insurance

2. The negligent driver has minimal insurance

Where the negligent driver is uninsured, it is often difficult for a person who is injured in an auto accident to obtain a fair recovery. If the injured person carries what is known as "uninsured motorist coverage" through their own automobile insurance policy, they may be able to receive compensation in the case that the other driver fails to carry insurance or cannot be identified (i.e. a hit and run accident or the phantom driver). Sometimes the at-fault driver is under-insured and carries insurance coverage that is simply too low, often at the minimum level required by state law. Missouri has very low minimal insurance requirements of $25,000.00, which unfortunately means that some drivers on the road carry inadequate coverage. In those cases a person may be able to protect themselves by purchasing additional coverage, called under insured motorist coverage, through their own insurance company. If they are injured through the fault of an underinsured motorist, they may be able to obtain recovery through their own insurance policy. In the case of an uninsured motorist the available coverage is many times greater than had they been covered under Missouri “stacking” laws.

Missouri Stacking Provisions of Uninsured Motorists Policies 

Stacking refers to combining the available insurance coverage found on the multiple insurance policies a party may have. Missouri law allows victims of uninsured motorist to combine or “stack” policies in order to receive just compensation. For example, say you are injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, and you have auto insurance in Missouri. If your injuries are severe enough you may not have enough coverage under a single policy, especially if you only have the state minimum coverage of $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. However, a person with multiple policies may be able to “stack” the policies in order to cover the injuries. In that case if you had 3 policies, with $25,000.00 in coverage, you would have at least $75,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.  

In the case were an accident occurs involving the named insured on the policy and the at fault driver has no insurance coverage then Missouri case law is well-settled that UM coverage can be stacked given the statutory mandate for UM coverage, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 379.203, and the strong public policy derived from the statute.  Cameron Mutual Insurance Co. v. Madden, 533 S.W.2d 538 (Mo. 1976).  In some cases insurance companies have attempted to avoid this liability by including “anti-stacking” provisions in their policies. “Anti-stacking” provisions, with respect to the named insured, are void.  Galloway v. Farmers Insurance Company, Inc., 523 S.W.2d 339 (Mo. Ct. App. 1975).  

In the case were an accident occurs involving and occupant of the insured vehicle, other than the named insured and household residents, appellate courts have historically held that stacking is not required.  Hines v. Government Employees Insurance Company, 656 S.W.2d 262 (Mo. banc 1983).  

No matter your situation, Harris Law is here to help you find the best possible outcome.

How do I fight this?

Don't let pain control your life. Don't let insurance adjusters tell you that you are not hurt. Don't let someone else make you question, what you already know. 


Value my Case

Damages: How Much is a Personal Injury Case Worth?

There are many types of personal injury cases, but they all come down to one basic concept: You were hurt because of the negligence or intentional act of someone else.

Because injuries come in all shapes and sizes, your case will be unique. That means that I can’t give you a dollar amount of what your case is worth. That being said, I can tell you how it will be evaluated.

Things to consider:

  • Medical Bills (Who pays these?)
  • Loss of Income (“Boss, I’m too hurt to work”)
  • Property Damage (Fix my car!)
  • Pain & Suffering (This is a big one)
  • Emotional Distress (More common than you think.)
  • Loss of Consortium (My spouse is affected by this too.)

While these aren’t the only damages that exist, they are certainly the most common.

Of course, the biggest issue is attributing a value to some of these items. Medical bills is easy, but what about pain & suffering? There is no rule, no chart, and no instruction on how to determine this amount. Sometimes we will use the “Multiplier” approach: Medical bills multiplied by a number ranging from 1-4. This will many times give us a starting point to negotiate from.

No matter your situation, know this: the insurance company is looking to minimize the amount they pay out. They will attempt to settle quickly, but the only thing they care about is your signature on a release saying you cannot sue them.  

How much will this cost?


Harris Law Name Top Family Law Attorney in Missouri by AI Magazine

Divorce & Custody Attorney



Navigating the tricky waters of the Greene and Christian County Family Court can seem impossible at times. Greene County is one of the select Courts in the State of Missouri to have a separate “Family Court” that is dedicated to hearing divorce, parentage (such as paternity), custody, and support matters. Christian County currently utilizes two Judges in its allocation of family law cases. Additionally, Greene and Christian Counties were one of the first Courts in Missouri to move to an e-file system that creates a paperless file or e-file designed to reduce paper, and increase efficiency. Not only has the staff at Harris Law been trained in this system, but Springfield / Nixa Missouri Family Law Attorney, Joel Harris, has maintained paperless archives at his own office since 2009 and has become entirely paperless a full year prior to the Court’s transition in 2013.

Technicalities aside, Greene and Christian County Family Law is not an area of law that just any attorney can be successful in, and it is virtually impossible to handle the matters on your own with any type of confidence as to the firmness and completeness of your matter. Missouri Courts have taken exhaustive lengths to assist individuals in representing themselves, but the problem is simple, the law is constantly changing and generic forms don’t even get close to addressing all of the issues.

Never-the-less, I am often times asked the same question, “Can I represent myself?” The answer is yes, but the better questions may be, “Do you feel comfortable representing yourself?”; “Do you feel confident that the outcome you receive is the best you can do?”; “Do you feel informed enough to walk into that Courtroom and address the Court?” For many the answer is no. However, you shouldn’t feel lost; the team at Harris Law will walk you through every step of the process and ensure you are taken care of.

Uncontested Divorce Attorney in Nixa

Uncontested Divorce Attorney in Ozark

Uncontested Divorce Attorney in Springfield

An uncontested divorce is a divorce proceeding in which the parties agree to the terms of the divorce, and simply need an attorney to process the paperwork. Springfield / Nixa Missouri Uncontested Divorce Attorney Joel Harris makes this process fast, simple, and inexpensive. By law, all proceedings must be on file for at least thirty (30) days before the Court may issue a Judgment. Beyond that, the process can be completed within a day in some cases. From beginning to end most uncontested divorces take between 30-45 days. Additional time may be needed for the Courts to sign the Judgment or for the parties to arrange to sign all necessary documents. Additionally, most cases can be completed without the parties ever having to take off work to go to Court.

Uncontested actions may be used in any type of Family Law matter.

1. If a mother and father have a child, but are not married, Harris Law can assist them in preparing a parenting plan and Judgment that suits not only their needs, but most importantly, the best interest of the child or children.

2. If a mother and father have a previous Judgment and simply would like to modify the child support or parenting plan provisions, Harris can assist them in making the proper changes and submitting it to the Court for approval.

Uncontested matters are by far the best, quickest, and most affordable option for parents and spouses. 

Making decisions for yourself is key and brings with it satisfaction that you are in control of your life. Matters that are litigated rarely result in one side getting everything they want. Matters that go to trial result in parties giving up control of their life in exchange for a Judge making those important decisions for them. Harris Law understands that parties sometimes cannot agree. In those cases we provide aggressive representation to meet your needs, but in the case of parties that can agree the uncontested action is the answer to navigating the complicated waters of the Greene County Family Court and the Missouri Divorce, Custody and Support Laws.

Divorce Attorney in Nixa

Divorce Attorney in Ozark

Divorce Attorney in Springfield

Custody Attorney in Nixa

Custody Attorney in Ozark

Custody Attorney in Springfield

Greene and Christian County Family Law Courts consider many things when awarding custody to one or both parents. Missouri child custody laws and courts adhere to the best interest of the child standard above all else. When litigating child custody, Missouri courts believe that it is in the best interest of each child that they have frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both parents after they have separated or divorced. Because joint custody is preferred, Missouri family courts make every effort to encourage and facilitate co-parents to reduce the amount of conflict between them and to keep their children as far away from their disputes as possible.

Types of Custody

This biggest misconception about child custody is that only two types of custody exist: sole or joint. The second biggest misconception is that joint custody means equal parenting time with the child. As defined by Missouri Revised Statutes 452.375, "Custody" means joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody or sole physical custody or any combination thereof. To be more specific, Missouri Courts will determine legal custody and physical custody in each situation. For example it is possible to have joint legal, but sole physical custody. In order to understand this better it is helpful to know the definitions of each type of custody.

"Joint legal custody" means that the parents share the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child, and, unless allocated, apportioned, or decreed, the parents shall confer with one another in the exercise of decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority.

“Sole legal custody” designates the same rights to one parent.

"Joint physical custody" means an order awarding each of the parents significant, but not necessarily equal, periods of time during which a child resides with or is under the care and supervision of each of the parents. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents.

“Sole physical custody” means that the parenting plan does not allow the child/children frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents.

"Third-party custody" means a third party designated as a legal and physical custodian of the minor child or children.

The mere fact that the parties may share joint physical custody does not mean that there are equal periods of parenting time. In all custody cases, involving unemancipated children under the age of seventeen (17), the Courts are required to set forth a visitation schedule for the parents to use in the event they cannot agree on a contact schedule. The contents of that parenting plan are many times the subject of the litigation between the parties.

Whether it be a DWI, speeding ticket, divorce, custody matter or if you are looking for an Auto Accident Attorney in Ozark, Auto Accident Attorney in Springfield, or an Auto Accident Attorney in Nixa then Harris Law may be the right fit for you.

Learn More

If you are not sure about what the best course of action is for you, then you may want to set up a FREE consultation. Meeting with an attorney does not mean you are getting divorced, it is just the best way to evaluate your options. This is done in a discreet and private setting to protect you from unwanted attention. Have more questions on family law? Click Below.

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Harris Law, LLC

504 E. Mt Vernon, Nixa, MO 65714, US



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Recent Honors