Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Missouri Divorce Cases

Missouri divorce cases discusses all the issues related to a divorce in the state of Missouri. The divorce laws in Missouri allow the couples to end their marriages and deal with difficult but important issues such as division of property, spousal support and child custody and support. The points elaborating the topic are discussed below.

Residency requirements for Missouri divorce

At least one spouse must be a resident of Missouri for 90 days, before filing a divorce case. There should be a time period of at least 30 days between the filing of the petition and the judge’s signing of the divorce decree granting the divorce. In order to provide time for the couples to have a chance to reconcile their differences, this 30 day waiting period is designed.

Commencement of Missouri divorce cases

To start any divorce case in Missouri, the petitioner should file a summons and petition for divorce. The petition is then served on the responding spouse. The responding spouse then has 20 days to reply to the petition. The court issues a “default” and gives the filing spouse everything that he/she requested in the petition, in case the responding spouse fails to respond.

Prior to the judge signing the “Decree of Dissolution of Marriage”, the summons and the petition must be filed with the court and served upon the other spouse. The decree formally ends the marriage and the divorce proceedings. The divorce is said to be officially legal or finalized, when the judge signs the decree.

Division of property

All the property and debts are distributed, in any Missouri divorce. The court divides all the property acquired during the marriage, except for inherited one, if the couple is not able to reach an agreement. During the marriage, all the property can be equally divided as per Missouri divorce law.


In Missouri, spousal support or maintenance may be awarded to either spouse by the court. A specific request seeking the maintenance must be given by the spouse in the divorce papers. The court considers the following factors while determining the need, duration and the amount of maintenance:

  • The finances of the spouse requesting support
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The duration of marriage
  • The standard of living of each spouse during the marriage
  • The age and health of both the spouses
  • The behavior of the spouses throughout the marriage and the divorce proceedings.

Child support

Missouri child support guidelines govern the rules for child support. The following factors are considered by the Missouri divorce court while determining the amount for child support:

  • Gross monthly income of the parents
  • Cost of health insurance and day care
  • Cost of providing support to others ( such as parents )

Missouri divorce cases can be filed either in the county where the petitioner resides or the county where the respondent spouse resides. As Missouri is a no fault state, a divorce can be granted if “the marriage is irretrievably broken” and “there is no likelihood that the marriage could be preserved”.

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