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Missouri Divorce Laws

When one or both parties in a marriage decide it is no longer working out, they may file a petition with the court to dissolve the marriage. This is commonly called divorce, and it often follows a period of legal separation. All states have their own laws and procedures for divorce proceedings, which may differ from one another in a few subtle ways (such as waiting periods and legal grounds for divorce).

In Missouri, legal requirements for divorce include residency in the state for at least 90 days (which is standard in a number of states). Also, as a no-fault state, there is no need to prove fault in order to be granted a divorce. However, the court may consider (but is not limited to) any of the following when deciding whether the marriage should be dissolved:

  • Spouse committed adultery (and it is not an "open" relationship)
  • One spouse is unable to tolerate the behavior of the other spouse
  • Couple lived apart for at least 24 months (12 months if both parties agree) before divorce was filed
  • You were abandoned by your spouse for six or more continuous months prior to the divorce filing
  • One of the parties is involved in criminal activity

The divorce process includes the separation of property (as well as debts and other liabilities), the granting of spousal support, child custody, and child support. While hiring a divorce lawyer is recommend in Missouri and elsewhere, uncontested divorces often can be completed at home without a lawyer.

Some details about Missouri's divorce laws are listed below. See FindLaw's extensive Divorce section for more articles, sample forms, and state-specific information.

Code Section 425
Residency Requirements Either party must be a resident for 90 days.
Waiting Period Final when entered, subject to appeal. Court's order of distribution of marital property is not subject to modification.
'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce Irretrievable breakdown. (Findings of fact to satisfy listed in §452.320 (2).)
Defenses to a Divorce Filing Abolished by §452.310.
Other Grounds for Divorce

It is not necessary to prove fault, only that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the court decides that the marriage still has a chance at working, it will grant a legal separation.

If the defendant spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, the plaintiff may choose to prove acts of adultery, abuse, or other factors that would help the court make a proper decision on the matter.

Note: State laws are constantly changing --  contanct a Missouri attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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