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Divorce in Missouri

Divorce in Missouri



Over the past ten years, Missouri’s divorce laws and regulations have experienced significant changes to reflect evolving family dynamics, promote fairness, and prioritize the well-being of individuals navigating divorce proceedings. From property division to child custody, these changes underscore Missouri’s commitment to addressing modern divorce complexities. This article provides an overview of key amendments in Missouri’s divorce laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, grouped by the year of implementation.

2013: No-Fault Divorce Simplification

   – Simplification of the process for obtaining a no-fault divorce, reducing procedural complexities.

2014: Property Division Guidelines

   – Adoption of guidelines for equitable distribution of marital property, ensuring a fair allocation of assets.

2015: Child Custody Emphasis

   – Focus on the best interests of the child when determining custody arrangements.

2016: Spousal Support Factors

   – Introduction of factors considered when awarding spousal support, including financial circumstances.

2017: Digital Documentation Acceptance

   – Incorporation of digital documentation and electronic filing options to enhance efficiency.

2018: Comprehensive Parenting Plans

   – Emphasis on comprehensive parenting plans outlining custody, visitation, and child support arrangements.

2019: Child Support Review

   – Periodic review and potential adjustment of child support guidelines to reflect economic changes.

2020: Collaborative Divorce Recognition

   – Acknowledgment and promotion of collaborative divorce as an alternative dispute resolution method.

2021: Domestic Violence Protections

   – Strengthening protections for victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings.

2022: High-Asset Divorce Guidelines

   – Exploration of specialized guidelines for divorces involving complex financial portfolios.

2023: Online Divorce Filing

   – Introduction of online divorce filing options to enhance accessibility and convenience.

Missouri’s proactive approach to updating divorce laws reflects its commitment to promoting justice and fairness in family law matters. By addressing modern family dynamics and safeguarding the interests of all parties involved, Missouri continues to provide a supportive legal framework during times of transition.

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.

Legal separation

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

Spousal support

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

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.