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Missouri Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of divorce in the State of Missouri.

You can get more specific information regarding Missouri divorce laws using the links provided to Missouri divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Missouri Divorce Resources

Divorce in Missouri: The Ultimate Guide to a Show-Me State Divorce

by Keith Churchouse

The only divorce guide written just for Missourians. This easy to read and understand book explains the divorce laws of the Show-Me State and suggests strategies that can result in a successful settlement.


Residency Requirements One of the spouses must be a resident of Missouri for 90 days before filing for dissolution of marriage
Where to File The dissolution of marriage should be filed in the county in which the petitioner resides or in the county in which the respondent resides.
Grounds for Divorce Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
Voluntary or required mediation No
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution Missouri is an "equitable distribution" state. Each spouse retains his or her separate property obtained prior to the marriage, including any gifts or inheritances. In addition, any property exchanged for separate property or interest obtained from holding separate property remains as separate. Commingled property does not become marital solely by virtue of the act of commingling. Marital property and marital debts are divided in such proportions as the court deems just, after considering all relevant factors including:
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of any children;
  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
  • The value of the non-marital property set apart to each spouse;
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
  • Custodial arrangements for minor children.
Child Custody Joint or sole custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child and upon consideration of the following factors:
  • The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;
  • The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
  • The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved. If the court finds that a pattern of domestic violence as defined in section 455.010 has occurred, and, if the court also finds that awarding custody to the abusive parent is in the best interest of the child, then the court shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child and any other child or children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights, and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm;
  • The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and
  • The wishes of a child as to the child’s custodian. The fact that a parent sends his or her child or children to a home school, as defined in section 167.031, shall not be the sole factor that a court considers in determining custody of such child or children.
No preference is to be given because of parent's sex, age or financial status, or the child's age, or sex. A parent not granted custody is entitled to reasonable visitation.
Child Support In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for the support of the child, including an award retroactive to the date of filing the petition, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors including:
  • The financial needs and resources of the child;
  • The financial resources and needs of the parents;
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;
  • The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child’s educational needs;
  • The child’s physical and legal custody arrangements, including the amount of time the child spends with each parent and the reasonable expenses associated with the custody or visitation arrangements; and
  • The reasonable work-related child care expenses of each parent.
If when a child reaches age eighteen, the child is enrolled in and attending a secondary school program of instruction, the parental support obligation shall continue, if the child continues to attend and progresses toward completion of said program, until the child completes such program or reaches age twenty-one, whichever first occurs.
Spousal Support The court may grant a maintenance order to either spouse, but only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him, to provide for his reasonable needs; and is unable to support himself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home. The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, and after considering all relevant factors including:
  • The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
  • The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;
  • The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to him and the separate property of each party;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and
  • Any other relevant factors.


Missouri Divorce Attorneys by County

Missouri Divorce Mediators by County


DISCLAIMER:
This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within this web site without first consulting an attorney or an appropriate professional depending upon the content of the information.