State of missouri divorce laws

You need to pay the filing fee. The waiting game: Your Petition must be on file for 30 days before the court can grant your divorce. After the expiration of 30 days, you can contact the clerk about having your case set for a trial. If you have children, you must attend a parental education class before your case can be finalized.

Your county clerk will have information about the required class and how to register. The hearing: You will need to set your case for an uncontested hearing in front of a family court judge before the judge will sign off on the order of divorce. You will need to provide notice of the hearing date to your spouse. Some counties will provide you with a script to read to the judge when you testify. I reside at your physical address.

My marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no possibility that my marriage can be preserved.

Be prepared to state the name, date of birth, and age of each child. My spouse and I have signed a written agreement that states our agreement as to all matters regarding the support and custody of the minor children as well as division of our property and debts. This article will provide you with a basic understanding of how divorce works in Missouri. However, filing your divorce paperwork and completing the process can be more complicated than you think, especially if you have property to divide or you're facing a custody dispute.

You may find that hiring an experienced attorney can help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that may delay your divorce or result in long-term negative consequences. A family law attorney can help explain your responsibilities and protect your financial and custodial rights. In Missouri, couples can pursue an annulment , which is where the court declares your marriage as invalid and treats it as though it never happened.

Annulments are rare and only available under limited circumstances, such as where there was fraud, mental impairment, or coercion to enter into the marriage or if the spouses are too closely related.


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If your religion prohibits divorce, or if you depend on your spouse for financial or medical needs, you may request a legal separation in Missouri, which is referred to as "separate maintenance. In Missouri, the only way to obtain a divorce is by using a no-fault process, meaning neither spouse is to blame for the failed marriage. If your spouse denies the status of your relationship, the court may need to further evaluate your case before finalizing your divorce.


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These evaluations are uncommon, but if your spouse is looking to delay your divorce , a judge may adjourn delay your case for up to six months. Despite what prime time television wants you to believe, most divorces settle long before they get to a trial. Marital assets are those accumulated during the course of the marriage up until the day of separation. Separate property is any property owned by a spouse prior to the marriage as well as some property that has been acquired either by a gift or inheritance.

Equitable distribution consists of the court deciding which assets are marital vs. There are several factors that are considered when making an equitable distribution. Some of these include:.

Tips for avoiding common mistakes during a Divorce

In Missouri, any debt acquired during a marriage is the responsibility of both parties, up to the date of separation. Both spouses are liable for repayment even if one spouse agrees to pay the debt as part of an asset settlement. A court may determine that a particular debt will follow the property each spouse is awarded. When nonpayment becomes an issue, a spouse can request that the payments be enforced by seeking relief in court.

In Missouri, and property that was acquired as a gift specifically to one spouse is considered separate property. However, if there is an increase in value in the gift, to the extent that a spouse contributed to the increase, that portion could be considered marital property. The person who receives a gift during a marriage and claims it as separate property has the burden of proof to show that the gift was intended to be separate property. In addition, just because a gift is commingled, such as money put into a joint checking account that was received as a gift, it does not necessarily make the asset marital property.

The key is to be able to prove what amount was a gift to prove what part is marital and what part is not.

An Overview of Divorce Laws in Missouri

Inherited property is considered separate property in Missouri. The best way to avoid this is to place all inherited assets into a separate account and document all actions accordingly.

Property Issues

Another way to protect an inheritance is to have a spouse sign a post-nuptial agreement whereby he or she agrees that the inheritance belongs to one spouse only, no matter how it is used in the marriage. In Missouri, pensions and retirement benefits that are acquired during a marriage are considered marital property. Determining the exact value of pensions and retirement accounts can be complex and often times, a financial expert such as a pension evaluator or a certified divorce financial analyst may be required to make an accurate assessment.

Legally splitting pensions and other retirement funds is a multiple step process. After the dissolution of marriage has been granted, an attorney or a specialized firm must create a qualified domestic relations order, more commonly referred to as a QDRO. The QDRO must be approved by the courts and then it can be submitted to the plan administrator who must also approve it. This establishes that a spouse can be considered an alternate payee, and the retirement vehicle is then divided according to the specifics contained in the QDRO.

How to File for No Fault Divorce in Missouri - State Requirements and Documents

In Missouri, all real and personal property acquired before a marriage, or property acquired during a marriage through an inheritance or gift is considered separate property. Separate property remains separate even if it is commingled during a marriage, but you must be able to prove what part was separate, otherwise the court will consider the asset as marital property. Alimony is Missouri is based on several factors.

A judge will take these factors into consideration when determining the length of payments if they are made at all , whether payments should be for a fixed period or an indefinite period, or if there should be a lump sum payment instead. Either party can request a change in the amount of spousal support to be paid. Child support in Missouri is based on how each parent fills out a Form 14, which indicates the monthly gross income for both parents. From this, a court order is created that spells out how much a parent will be expected to contribute to child support.

Informal agreements are not enforceable, so going through the legal process is essential.

Missouri Divorce Laws and Information

Missouri has Schedule of Basic Child Support Guidelines that are used to establish an amount, but courts are free to deviate from that amount if they deem it appropriate. Child support will include financial support for basic needs such as food, clothing, housing, transportation, and health care. The non-custodial parent can also be responsible for daycare, extracurricular activities, private school expenses, and medical expenses not covered by insurance. If a parent misses child support payments, then the other parent can petition the courts to force payment through several possible means.

Either parent can also file a motion to ask that the amount of child support be changed. This may happen when custody arrangements change, or one parent goes through a job change. Legal custody. This may include where to go to school, religious instruction and medical treatment and decisions.

Physical custody. This describes when a child lives with a parent. In all cases, custody is determined by the best interests of the child. There are several factors that go into deciding this:.

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