Divorce in Missouri

How to file for divorce in missouri

Filing for divorce is a situation nobody likes to be put in.

Often times, divorce is not the only matter that needs to be addressed.

If there are children involved, issues like child custody and child support often arise.

There is also the matter of determining whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce and, in some cases, alimony (or maintenance) will be awarded.

The most important thing to do is to take time to decide if divorce is the right option for you and your family.

After that is decided, it is important to know the proper steps in filing for divorce.

Below is the information you need to file for divorce in the state of Missouri.

How do I file for divorce in Missouri?

One begins the divorce process by filing a verified petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation.

In order to begin the divorce process in the state of Missouri, residency in the state must be established by one or both parties within the 90 days immediately preceding the commencement of the action.

What are the grounds for divorce?

In Missouri, the petition for dissolution of marriage must allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken and therefore there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.

The state of Missouri requires both spouses involved in the divorce to take part in a “litigant awareness program“.

This program will help you understand Missouri’s court system and gives you more information about the different cases that can be involved in divorce and help you determine which apply to your situation.

What must be provided / completed when filing for a divorce?

Some initial things that must be provided or completed when filing for divorce include:

  • The names of any children in the family that will be effected by the marriage. They are only required to be provided if they are 18 years or younger, still in high school, or full-time college students 21 years old or younger. This must be provided so any child support or child custody matters can be addressed.
  • A “Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet“, provided by the State of Missouri, must be completed and filed through the county’s circuit court of which he or she resides.

Where do I file the petition for divorce?

The petition is filed in the circuit court in the county of residence of either party.

How long will it take for my divorce to become final?

Missouri law requires a 30-day cooling-off period between the filing of the petition and the granting of a dissolution decree. 

Therefore, when you file your petition, you know it will take at least 30 days. 

However, as a practical matter, some cases take months and other cases take years. 

Each case is different.