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Understanding Divorce in Missouri


Our goal is to help you find the answers to your questions and to begin the next phase of your life with as much ease as possible.

Every divorce case is unique and has its own complications and complexities. There are certain procedures and legalities that need to be followed as per Missouri law. In this article, we will discuss the various types of divorces that can be filed in Missouri.

Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorce refers to cases where the married couple agrees on the contents of the divorce and ideally do not require the assistance of the court for division of assets, spouse and child support and custody.

Many couples seeking uncontested divorce think that they can proceed without the assistance of a lawyer. However, there are many facets to uncontested divorce in Missouri, and an experienced divorce lawyer is ideally the best person to help the process go easily and more quickly.

Procedure for Uncontested Divorce in Missouri

In order to be able to file an uncontested divorce:

  • One of the parties must be a resident of Missouri for a minimum of 90 days
  • The petition for divorce should be filed in the county circuit court where the petitioner lives
  • A 30-day waiting period has to be observed post-filing

Legal Separation

Legal separations in Missouri are permitted when a marriage is deemed irretrievable under the following grounds:

  1. Adultery
  2. Abandonment
  3. Misconduct by either partied in the year preceding the petition filing
  4. Behavior that is deemed unreasonable enough for separation
  5. Living apart and separate for  two or more years
  6. One of the parties is a resident of Missouri for a minimum of 90 days.

Missouri Simplified Divorce

The state of Missouri provides for a simplified divorce, in which, the spouses file for divorce jointly. This eases the divorce process and pre-printed forms are available in certain counties.

Filing for Divorce Individually

In cases where one spouse (the Petitioner) files for divorce individually, the following forms need to be filled:

  • PSC001 – The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage form states that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The form includes the date and location of marriage, date of separation, addresses of residence and workplace, minors/children involved and their residence, custody arrangement information
  • PSC050 – The Statement of Income and Expense form lists the income and expenses of both parties.
  • PSC040 – Statement of Property and Debt and the Proposed Separation Agreement Form profiles assets and liabilities of the couple and states the division and distribution the petitioner request.
  • PSC065 – The Missouri Department of Health Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage form is a record of the divorce for record-keeping.
  • PSC067 – The Family Court Filing Certificate form lists pending actions of the petition
  • PSC070 – The Judgement of Dissolution form is signed by the court and ends the marriage.
  • PSC501- the Parenting Plan form discusses child and minor custody and support, visitation rights, and parenting plan.
  • PSC 010 – Answer to the Petition of Dissolution form is to be filled by the second spouse (the respondent) when they agree to the terms and conditions of the petition filed for divorce.

Servicing the Petition

In all cases, once the petition has been filed, the petition needs to be serviced. The servicing process can take place in four ways:

  1. The Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service, where the petitioner gives the respondent a copy and the respondent verifies and signs it.
  2. Personal Service, where the service is delivered by the county sheriff or court officer
  3. Private or Special Process Server, which is used in cases the Respondent either disagrees or is difficult to approach
  4. Service by Publication, which involves the permission to publish a notice of dissolution in the newspaper incise all of the three methods above fail. Failure to service gives a Respondent 45 days from publication to file an answer or the Petitioner can file for default judgment.

Obtaining a Divorce in St. Louis

Our team of experienced divorce attorneys and aides assist our clients with these difficult decisions and help them choose the grounds that are most relevant to their case. In the midst of so much emotional upheaval, it can be difficult for the petitioner to face these types of choices. Our team of considerate attorneys will be there to help see you through these rough times.

Call The Betz Law Firm today at (314) 801-8488 or fill out our online contact form to request a free and private consultation.