Missouri is a ‘no fault’ state, but there are still requirements that must be met during a divorce.
There are two different types of divorce laws in this country. There are states that have an “at fault” law, which means that to obtain a divorce one party has to be “at fault” for the dissolution of marriage. Other states, like Missouri, abide by something called “no fault”. But, unlike other states, the no fault divorce laws in St. Louis are more limited.
Understanding Divorce in Missouri
It is necessary, if you want to get a divorce in Missouri, to prove that there is a reason that the marriage is irreparable. Even though it is a no fault state, there still needs to be “grounds” for the dissolution of marriage. Dissolution of marriage is a legal term for divorce. For you to file a petition for the dissolution of marriage in St. Louis, you have to be a resident of the state for more than 90 days. Only the petitioning party needs to be a resident for more than 90 days, however.
The best way to initiate a petition for divorce is by consulting a St. Louis divorce attorney to walk you through the complexities of filing and the process that will follow. There is no waiting period in the state of Missouri for a couple to divorce. Unlike other states that can have waiting periods as long as three years, Missouri allows the dissolution to be granted as quickly as 31 days after the petition is filed. The only waiting period is a 30 day period for your spouse to officially receive the petition before a divorce can be granted.
It is not only a good idea that you and your spouse obtain different St. Louis divorce lawyers, but it is also required by law. Because having one lawyer represent you both would represent a conflict of interest, each partner should have their own counsel to represent their best interests. The best way for a dissolution to go smoothly is if the petition is “uncontested” by the other spouse. That means that the other spouse agrees to all aspects outlined in the petition including spousal or child support, custody matters, division of property and who pays for the St. Louis divorce attorney fees, which is why having the right St. Louis divorce attorney is so important.
A typical case will be heard in court approximately 90 days after the petition is filed. The minimum is 31 days. For most cases, you will not need to have any character witnesses present. The case should be a simple formality unless there are any disputes about custody or other matters. If there are, then it is even more critical for you to hire the right lawyer to protect your rights. Once the dissolution is granted, you can go back to court if you have problems or wish to change specifics about the divorce decree, but it is not an easy or inexpensive proposition. That is why it is so critical to have it done correctly up front and to ensure that both parties are getting what they want so that there is no contest.
Contact a St. Louis Divorce Attorney
Hundreds of questions come to mind as the stark reality of divorce settles in. As a firm, our goal is to help you find the answers to those questions and to begin the next phase of your life with as much ease as possible. We are dedicated to providing our clients and their families with kind, personalized, and professional legal representation throughout the entire divorce process.