A brief guide to divorce in Missouri
Couples who wish to file for divorce in Missouri should keep all of the following in mind:
Missouri state divorce laws
One person in the relationship must have been a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing a petition for divorce. 30 days must have passed before the divorce proceedings continue.
Grounds for divorce
One or both members of the marriage must prove that the relationship is broken beyond the point of repair. Some of the causes could be adultery, separation for two years or longer, or that one partner is behaving in a way that makes living together impossible.
Couples unsure if they wish to apply for divorce in Missouri may file for a “legal separation,” which provides written guidelines for financial arrangements, child custody and other areas of disagreement. This legally binding document’s rules will be applied if the couple agrees to divorce. If the couple reconciles, they are not required to take further action within the courts.
Types of divorce
Couples who agree on the terms of their separation can apply for an uncontested divorce in Missouri. This requires them to agree on the terms of separation and submit an agreement to the concerning child care, alimony and other agreements. Those who cannot agree on these issues will appear before the applicable circuit court, which will hear their contested divorce. In cases where the marriage was invalid to begin with, couples may for annulment. This only applies in a few cases, such as when one party was underage or drunk at the time of the wedding.
No fault divorce
Couples can file for a no fault divorce in Missouri. All you have to prove is that the marriage has deteriorated and cannot be saved, without proving adultery or other ill-conduct.
Steps in the divorce process
There are three steps to file for divorce in Missouri:
• Submitting a petition for divorce to the circuit court which handles these cases in your area
• Notifying your spouse that you have filed for divorce
• Appearing in court for your divorce hearing
Couples who cannot agree upon the terms of support for their partner will have to abide by the decision of the court. The length of the marriage, the standard of living, and the time it will take one spouse or another to begin earning sufficient income are some of the factors taken into consideration. A date for the end of support will be set which may be modified at the court’s discretion.
Child support payment plans are issued at the court’s discretion under the income shares model. After verifying each person’s fiscal health by examining their W-2 forms and other relevant documents, the court will issue a plan that will generally apply until the child is 18, self-supporting or enters the military.
Fathers’ and mothers’ rights
The default setting for child custody in Missouri states that mothers and fathers will have joint custody.