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Divorce Laws in Missouri

Missouri is a no fault state, but that does not mean that divorce cannot be contested. If one spouse claims that the marriage is not irretrievably broken the court will hear the case in one to six months. The court may recommend, but cannot force counseling. No employee of the court or the State may act as a marriage counselor.

Missouri has a thirty day waiting period, after the date of filing, for divorce to be granted.

Residency and jurisdiction in Missouri
At least one spouse must live in Missouri for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. Divorce can be filed in the county where either spouse lives.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in Missouri
Missouri only grants no fault divorce and only on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be preserved.

Division of property in Missouri
Missouri is an “equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50, but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. Factors which the court must consider when dividing property include:

  • Economic circumstances of each spouse
  • Child custody, favoring allocation of the family home to the parent who has custody
  • Contributions to the acquisition of property including contributions as homemaker
  • Value of non-marital property
  • Marital conduct

Spousal support in Missouri
In Missouri, upon issuing an order for spousal support, the court must state whether the order can be modified at a later date. In determining support the court will consider many factors including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Marital conduct
  • Property division
  • Child custody and support
  • Financial resources of party seeking support
  • Time needed for spouse seeking support to become self supporting
  • Comparative earning capacities of each spouse
  • Debts and assets
  • Age and physical and emotional health of spouse seeking support
  • Ability of spouse from whom support is sought to pay while remaining self supporting

Child custody and support in Missouri
Missouri is unusually lenient regarding domestic violence and will grant custody or visitation to abusive parents if it feels that it is in the best interest of the child. Factors which the court must consider when determining custody include:

  • Wishes of the parents
  • Needs of the child for a close relationship with both parents
  • Willingness and ability of the parents to perform parental duties
  • Relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant parties
  • Parent’s willingness to foster a close relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Mental and physical health of everyone involved
  • History of abuse of everyone involved
  • Intention to relocate the child
  • Wishes of the child

Missouri uses the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Missouri, contact an experienced Missouri divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from Missouri divorce lawyers in your area.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Missouri and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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