Missouri Divorce & Separation

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Missouri, like every state, has unique laws and rules that govern the separation and divorce process within the state. Thus, you might naturally have some questions about specific Missouri law governing separation and divorce. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Missouri? Is mediation a requirement before you can get a divorce in the state of Missouri? What is the law on Missouri annulments? Find the answers to your Missouri divorce questions here.

Missouri Legal Separation:

Legal separations are allowed in Missouri, and are granted on the same grounds as divorces (see “Grounds for Divorce” below). Nearly all issues resolved in divorce can also be resolved via separate maintenance agreements as part of the separation process.

Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:

Missouri has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For divorces based on no-fault grounds, the parties must merely show an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” On the other hand, fault-based grounds for divorce require significantly more specific reasons, such as adultery, one party’s “intolerable behavior,” abandonment for more than six months, or both parties agreeing to the dissolution of the marriage and living separately and apart for more than one year, or both parties living separately and apart for more than two years.

Residency/Where to File for Divorce:

To file for divorce, either party must have been a Missouri resident for at least one year before filing and the petition must be filed in the circuit court for the county in which either party resides.

Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:

Joint petitions may be filed in which both parties are referred to as “co-petitioners” rather than “petitioner” and “respondent.” This negates the adversarial nature of the divorce filing, and signals to the court that the parties are seeking a quick and cooperative resolution. Also, some counties in Missouri allow pre-printed forms and settlements, both of which make for a faster and easier dissolution of marriage. See the local court clerk for details and more information.

Missouri Online Divorce Services:

LegalZoom.com – An online documentation service that helps users file for divorce.
CompleteCase.com– Offers an affordable way to file for uncontested divorces online.

Divorce Mediation in Missouri:

For marriages with children, the court maintains the right to order a reconciliation conference and/or counseling for the children, which would likely involve the services of a well-trained, court-appointed mediator. A mediation session might also be called for if there are issues that could be resolved and agreed upon amicably through a conference, rather than forcing the parties, children, and the court system to suffer through unnecessary litigation.

Missouri Annulment:

An annulment is a court declaration that the marriage is legally invalid. In other words, rather than ending a marriage via divorce, an annulment signifies that the marriage was never valid from the beginning for reasons including fraud, duress, a party’s minor status, or consanguinity.

Missouri Divorce Laws: Click below to find the Missouri Divorce laws you’re looking for:
Missouri Divorce Law, Lawyers & Attorneys
Missouri Divorce & Finances
Missouri Child Custody & Missouri Child Support
Missouri Divorce Laws & Resources

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