Step-by-Step Guide to Divorce in MO

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Every state has its own set of divorce laws, which means that if you file for divorce in Missouri, you will need to do so in accordance with the Missouri Revised Statutes. While this process can seem intimidating, The Buxner Law Firm can help walk you through every step of the way with compassion and care. Ready to get started? Consult one of the firm's divorce attorneys in St. Louis about your case today.


1. Determining Grounds for Divorce

If you are considering divorce, you will first need to determine under what grounds you will file for the divorce. You can file for divorce based on the fact that your marriage is irretrievably broken. If the defendant in the divorce contests this fact, then you will need to file a fault-based divorce.

You can file for divorce based on one of the following situations:

  • The respondent committed adultery
  • The respondent behaves irrationally
  • The respondent abandoned the petitioner at least 6 months prior to filing
  • The respondent and plaintiff lived separately by mutual consent for 12 months prior to filing
  • The respondent and plaintiff lived separately and apart for at least 24 months prior to filing

2. Filing for Divorce

The first step in initiating a divorce is to file the paperwork. In order to file in the state, either party must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days prior to the day that the papers are filed. The petition for divorce will be filed in the circuit court of the county where either party resides. When the petition is filed in court, it will be served to the other spouse, who can then sign the divorce petition or contest it by filing a counter-petition with different terms. This exchange will start a contested divorce in which the couple may argue the terms in court. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses arrive at a settlement and both sign the document.


3. Mandatory Counseling

In the state of Missouri, counseling may be required when a couple has children. The court may also declare that parties must participate in mediation to resolve disputes regarding the terms of the divorce.


4. Deciding the Terms of the Divorce

If you and your spouse are able to decide the terms of the divorce prior to the filing, then yours will be an uncontested divorce. Unfortunately, many spouses bicker about the terms, and disagreements can turn a divorce into a long and drawn-out court battle.
Some of the issues you are required to decide during this time are:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Spousal support / alimony
  • Property division

An attorney can help argue for your best interests concerning these decisions. Unless you and your spouse can decide on the terms together, the court will make the ultimate decision in these issues.


5. Dissolution of the Marriage

After you or the court has decided all of the terms of the divorce, the marriage will be dissolved. At this point, you will no longer be considered legally married to your spouse, and the divorce will be complete. All terms of the settlement will go into effect and may be monitored by the court. If you have issues with your divorce settlement when the divorce has concluded, you can seek a modification with the help of a family lawyer.


We can Guide You from Start to Finish

If you want assistance in a divorce case, then contact our firm. We are focused on helping you with your case and can fight for you tenaciously when you run into complications. At The Buxner Law Firm, we are proud of our dedicated attitude and our compassionate way of service. Our firm is AV® Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, meaning you can have confidence when you choose our team for your divorce.

Ready to start the process? Call us today for a free, 30-minute consultation!