Filing for divorce may not be as easy as many couples might think. Our goal is to help make it as easy as possible.
A number of procedures and legalities surround the decision of divorce, and it is important to be aware of these procedures and of certain key legal terms that are involved. In this post, we will highlight the key steps involved in filing for divorce.
Divorce is defined as a legal dissolution of marriage and refers to ending a marriage between two parties, establishing that the marriage was legal in the past and maintaining all records that prove the marriage existed. In a divorce case, the spouse filing the divorce is referred to as the petitioner and the other spouse is referred to as the respondent.
According to Missouri laws, there are certain procedures that couples filing for divorce have to follow:
- It is mandatory that at one spouse has to be a resident in Missouri for a minimum period of 90 days, before filing for divorce.
- All spouses representing themselves in divorce have to complete a “litigant awareness program,” that can be completed by watching an online video or reading the available online materials.
- Post completing the program, self-representing parties should fill a certificate of completion and file it with their nearest circuit court.
The divorce procedures in Missouri officially start when the “Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage” form is filled by either spouse. Along with this legal document that requests divorce filing, names of all children – essentially children under 18 years of age and attending high school, or those under 21 attending college – should be included for the commencement of procedures for custody and financial support.
Servicing the Divorce Petition
A copy of the divorce petition and dissolution should be sent to the respondent spouse in either of the following ways:
- Serving the divorce petition to the respondent via the county sheriff where the respondent works or lives
- Serving the divorce petition to the respondent via a private process server available in some counties
A service fee is charged by both, the process server as well as the sheriff.
The next step is for the respondent spouse to complete an ‘answer’ form available online. This form can be used when a respondent spouse does not want to be served directly or as an official response to the divorce petition stating whether the respondent agrees with or disputes any part of the petitioner’s statement.
Apart from the initiating forms, both the spouses should complete the ‘statement of income and expenses’ form that is used by the judge in the course of the divorce case trial to decide on critical matters of alimony, maintenance and child support. For couples with children, a parenting plan form that outlines a plan for raising the child, the child’s schedule and custody matters should be filed.
Contact a St. Louis Divorce Attorney
Our legal practice is focused exclusively on family law and consists of a staff of experienced professionals who have immense knowledge of all the legal issues that can arise during a divorce. Hundreds of clients have been assisted with the issues of child custody, visitation, and support, as well as alimony, division of joint assets, and much more.
Call The Betz Law Firm today at (314) 801-8488 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a private consultation.