Missouri Divorce Details
Some couples go through a long courtship period before getting married.
The average length of an engagement is around sixteen months, however,
it can be a lot quicker to get a divorce especially in Missouri.
If you have lived in Missouri for at least 90 days then you can file
for a no-fault divorce. A judge will wait 30 days and if no one is
contesting the divorce it will be granted. That means from start to
finish it only takes a minimum of 120 days to end your Missouri
marriage if there are no complications. However, it is those
complications which can prolong the divorce proceedings in Missouri.
Grounds for Divorce in Missouri
Either spouse can file for a divorce in Missouri but if a no-fault
divorce is contested then the petitioner (first person to file) has to
prove that the respondent has broken the marriage that it can't be
The petitioner then needs to prove the grounds for the divorce. This
means proving that the respondent has cheated or has created an
atmosphere that is intolerable to live in based on physical or
emotional abuse. If it can be proved that the respondent has abandoned
the petitioner for at least six months or they have lived apart for up
to 12 months that can also be grounds for a divorce in Missouri.
Depending on the circumstances, if children are involved in the
marriage a court can order some form of couple's counseling to see if
the marriage can be salvaged. A couple can also be legally separated
based upon the same factors that would be used as grounds for a
Often a legal separation is put into place to establish custody and
support issues on the way towards a final divorce. A couple who is
legally separated is technically still married but living apart. There
is always hope that a legal separation can be reconciled.
Property Distribution in Missouri
Missouri is an equitable distribution state. A divorce judge has a
specific set of guidelines to use in order to divide the property and
assets of the marriage. What is off the table is any property that was
given to one spouse as a gift, bequest or inheritance, any property
that was obtained after a legal separation, or any property that is
agreed by both parties to be excluded.
Whatever is leftover after that will be divided fairly. That division
is based on the current financial situations of each party, what they
contributed to the marriage and where the children will be living. A
judge can even consider how the husband and wife behaved during the
marriage as a factor in deciding who gets what.
Alimony Awards in Missouri
If the petitioner seeks alimony from the respondent, then the judge has
to first determine what the needs of the petitioner might be. This
could be how much it will cost to maintain the household where the
children will be living.
The judge will also consider if the petitioner will be able to support
themselves at some point in the future and how much money the
respondent currently makes. A judge can also consider how long the
marriage lasted and the grounds for the divorce.