St. Louis Divorce Attorney Explains: Filing for Divorce in Missouri

Filing for divorce may not be as easy as many couples might think. However, at The Betz Law Firm, we aim to help make it as easy as possible.

Embarking on the journey of divorce is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging chapters. In Missouri, couples traversing this difficult path must adhere to specific legal procedures. At The Betz Law Firm, we understand that each divorce case is unique, and our commitment to providing empathetic, personalized legal guidance remains unwavering.

St. Louis Divorce Attorney

Defining Divorce

Divorce is defined as a legal dissolution of marriage. It 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.

Filing for Divorce in Missouri

According to Missouri laws, there are specific procedures that couples filing for divorce have to follow:

  • Before filing for divorce in Missouri, one or both spouses must meet the residency requirements. Typically, either spouse must have been a resident of Missouri for at least 90 days before filing.
  • Missouri allows for both fault and no-fault divorces. Couples can file for a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, or they can file on fault-based grounds, such as adultery, abandonment, or cruelty.
  • One spouse (the petitioner) initiates the divorce process by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the appropriate circuit court in the county where either spouse resides. The petition outlines the reasons for the divorce and requests specific relief.
  • The non-filing spouse (respondent) must be served with a copy of the divorce petition and summons. This can be done through personal service or other methods as Missouri law allows.
  • Missouri has a mandatory waiting period after filing for divorce. The length of the waiting period can vary but is typically 30 days from the date of filing.
  • The respondent has a specific amount of time to file a response to the petition. This document may include their agreement or disagreement with the terms proposed in the petition.
  • Both spouses may negotiate or mediate to reach a settlement on issues such as property division, child custody, spousal support, and child support. If an agreement is reached, it can be submitted to the court for approval.
  • If there are unresolved issues, the court may schedule hearings to address these matters. This may include a trial if the spouses cannot reach an agreement.
  • Once all issues are resolved, the court issues a final judgment of dissolution of marriage. This judgment outlines the divorce terms, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and support.
  • Either party may have the right to appeal the court’s decision within a specified time frame.

St. Louis Divorce Attorneys

At The Betz Law Firm, we recognize that navigating the legal intricacies of divorce can be overwhelming. While we are a team of successful litigators, we will set a tone that minimizes animosity and promotes cooperation. Our experience has been that mediation is a preferred alternative to court trials and litigation.

Speak With an Experienced Attorney

Our firm uses experience, good communication, and availability to help families navigate life-changing events.