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Filing for Divorce in Missouri

Person wondering about filing for divorce in missouri

No matter what the extenuating circumstances are, divorce is difficult for everyone involved. It can be emotionally painful as well as financially devastating. Make sure you have a divorce lawyer who can stand in the gap for you. 

Dissolution of Marriage/Divorce in Missouri

Divorce is the process of dissolving a marital estate and returning each spouse to their separate legal state. In Missouri, the legal process for ending a marriage is called a “dissolution,” because the bonds of matrimony are dissolved. 

The divorce process involves the division and allocation of marital property and debts and oftentimes includes determining child custody and child support. There are two types of divorce trials: contested and uncontested. 

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce means that the husband and wife disagree about one or more issues. For example, a husband and wife may disagree regarding the custody of the children, the amount of child support, a division of retirement benefits, or maintenance (also known as spousal support). 

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a process where the husband and wife are in complete agreement as to all issues. Generally, an uncontested divorce involves a husband and wife who do not have children, do not own real estate, and have few assets and debts to divide. 

Missouri Divorce Process

To start a dissolution case, you must complete and file a “petition for dissolution,” which tells the court who you are, who your spouse is, where you were married, and other information. You should file your dissolution petition in the county where you or your spouse resides.

In Missouri, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the State of Missouri for more than ninety (90) days immediately preceding the filing of the petition. The Court cannot grant the divorce until thirty (30) days after the petition for dissolution is filed. For a Court to grant a divorce, the Court must find that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

In The Case Of Minor Children

The petition for dissolution must contain certain information required by Missouri law, and the petition must be accompanied by a parenting plan if the spouses have minor children. 

If there are minor children of the marriage, custody, visitation, and child support will also be an issue. The Court will look to the “best interest of the child,” in making such decisions. 

Missouri has a separate Family Court where judges deal exclusively with dissolution proceedings and matters involving children. You will need to file your case in the Family Court located in the county where you or your spouse reside.

Property and Debt

In Missouri, divorce courts follow an equitable distribution of property–not a community property (50/50) approach. This means a judge will divide your marital property equitably or fairly, but not necessarily equally.

After considering all relevant factors, the court is required to set apart to each spouse such spouse’s nonmarital property and to divide the marital property and marital debts in such proportions as the court deems just. 

Hiring An Experienced Divorce Attorney in Missouri

Some people try to save money by handling the divorce themselves. If you choose to do your divorce yourself, you’ll be responsible for knowing and following state and county rules for divorce actions. An experienced attorney will know which forms to file and the proper timeframes for filing. Reach out to us and schedule a time to meet.

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