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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contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.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 where the Plaintiff resides.
Grounds for Divorce Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved is the only grounds for dissolution of marriage in Missouri.
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.
Child Custody Joint or sole custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child and upon consideration of the following factors:
  • The preference of the child
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • Any history of child or spouse abuse
  • The child's need for a continuing relationship with both parents
  • Both parents willingness and ability to perform parental obligations
  • The intention of either parent to relocate his or her residence outside Missouri
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent
  • The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members
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 Either or both parents may be ordered to provide child support. The following factors are considered:
  • The father's primary responsibility for the support of his child
  • The financial resources and needs of the child
  • The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved
  • The physical and emotional conditions and educational needs of the child
  • The financial resources, needs, and obligations of both the noncustodial and the custodial parent
Spousal Support Either spouse may be awarded maintenance if that spouse can show: (1) an inability to support his or herself; and (2) a lack of sufficient property (including his or her share of any marital property) to provide for his or her own needs; or (3) that the spouse seeking support is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate for that spouse not to seek outside employment. The following factors are considered: (1) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education and training to enable the spouse to find appropriate employment, and that spouse's future earning capacity; (2) the standard of living established during the marriage; (3) the duration of the marriage; (4) the ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support; (5) the financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to such spouse and such spouse's ability to meet his or her needs independently; (6) the age of the spouses; (7) the physical and emotional conditions of the spouses; (8) the obligations, assets, and separate property of the spouses; (9) the comparative earning capacities of each spouse; and (10) the conduct of the spouses during the marriage.

Missouri Divorce Attorneys by County

Missouri Divorce Mediators by County

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.