Missouri Divorce Laws, Attorneys & Family Lawyers MO


According to an estimate the divorce rate of Missouri is 4.3% per 1,000 of the total population of the state. In Missouri a spouse can bring a petition to the court on both no-fault and fault divorce grounds when seeking a divorce. The judge shall not proceed with any declaration in decision and would dismiss the case if no evidence and justifiable ground is shown.

Annulment in this state is difficult to prove and thus rarely happens. Annulment is considered not an option by most of the people, because their marriage is considered null and void. Whereas divorce is the preferred alternative in which certain awards are possible to attain.

A qualified lawyer is a best guide, obtaining whose assistance can guide you to the right channel.

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Divorce Grounds in Missouri

The divorce grounds of Missouri are divided into:

No-Fault Divorce Grounds in Missouri:

There is only one no-fault divorce ground in Missouri, which is:

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage:

This ground is commonly found in almost all states of the US. Under this no-fault divorce ground in Missouri, if there remains no likelihood of marriage’s preservation, the court announces divorce.

Fault Divorce Grounds in Missouri:

The fault divorce grounds in Missouri are:


Adultery is a common fault divorce ground in Missouri. The court shall grant the divorce if the blame is proved.


Incompatibility means that both the spouses are unable to get along. There is miss match in the interests and can’t stay happily together, therefore they can divorce each other under this divorce ground in Missouri.

Abandonment for Three Months:

If a spouse pulls back support for three months or more, in spite of all required loyalty at the part of the petitioner, other spouse can obtain divorce under this divorce ground in Missouri.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in Missouri.

Missouri Divorce Laws

Missouri has following divorce laws:

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Under Missouri divorce laws, the petition for divorce shall not be considered if the residency requirements are not met. In such a situation the court shall dismiss the request. The following residency requirements are mandatory:

  • One of the spouses should be a resident of the state of Missouri for ninety days immediately at the commencement of proceeding.
  • About thirty days should have been passed since the filing of case and before dissolution of marriage is granted.
  • One of the members could be in the armed forces that have stayed in this state.

An original proceeding shall be commenced in the county in which the petitioner resides or in the county in which the respondent resides.

Documents Required for Filing Divorce

According to Missouri divorce laws, the important documents needed for the decision of dissolution of marriage are:

  • Petition for dissolution of marriage
  • Declaration of dissolution of marriage

Other documents which you may need are:

  • Marital settlement agreement
  • Income and expenses statement
  • Affidavit concerning children
  • Waiver of service

Property Distribution

As Missouri is an equitable state, therefore, according to Missouri divorce laws the marital property is distributed in a fair proportion.

For the distribution of property the divorce court takes in account:

  • Financial circumstances of each party
  • The value of the non-marital property of each party
  • Conduct during married life
  • Arrangements for minor children

Change of Name or Restoration of Name

Both the spouses are entitled to request change of name, in the divorce court. Missouri divorce laws require this change of name to be published in the local newspaper too.

Mediation Counseling

The Missouri divorce laws encourage mediation support, if one of the spouses doesn’t accept the dissolution of marriage. The time span given for counseling is not less than thirty days and not more than six months and after that the divorce court will decide whether marriage is irretrievably broken or not.


The Missouri divorce court orders such an amount for maintenance, which court deems just, and after considering all relevant factors. The conduct of the parties during the marriage and any other relevant factors are also taken in account for determining it.

Child Custody

Child custody is a major issue in dissolution of marriage. Missouri divorce laws require the divorce court to make every effort to prevent the child from any kind of disturbance and trauma. The decision will be made more in the interests of child by taking care of the children’s emotions, their wishes and will.

Child Support

Child support in Missouri divorce courts is decided in the light of Income shares model. The support given monthly is assessed by applying few important guidelines and dividing them proportionally to each parent’s income. The parents support is ceased when either child dies, gets married, earns him/her self or turns eighteen.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information of your state.

Missouri Annulment Laws

Missouri annulment laws define annulment as a decree passed for a marriage which is void or a marriage which never was. In Missouri, annulment decree is very rare. There are two reasons for this, i.e. the Missouri annulment grounds are few and divorce is no longer considered a social stigma. Due to the rarity in Missouri annulment, laws recognize the following grounds:


Duress is, compelling someone to get married under violence or threat. A forced marriage can be annulled under Missouri annulment laws.

Mental Illness

Missouri annulment laws allow you to file for annulment if your spouse is mentally incapacitated.

Lack of Assent to the Marriage

The most essential part of a marriage is the assent. Missouri annulment laws state that both the parties must marry with mutual assent. Otherwise the marriage is not valid.


The spouse claiming an annulment must legally prove that the defendant is impotent and beyond cure.

Underage Marriage

According to Missouri annulment laws, annulment becomes legal if the person is under the age of 15 years and enters into marriage without the consent of the parents.

Same-Sex Marriage

Marriages between same sex partners are not recognized by Missouri state laws. Such marriages can also be annulled under the Missouri annulment laws.


One person can not be married to two according to Missouri state laws. Such marriages are considered bigamous. If you did not know your spouse was already married at the time s/he married you, you are entitled to file for annulment under the Missouri annulment laws.

Missouri Divorce Laws-Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it necessary to be a resident of Missouri to file a divorce?

    Each state has different divorce laws. To file a divorce in Missouri divorce, one of the spouses must be a resident of the state for at least a period of 6 months.

  2. What is mediation?

    Mediation is the act of negotiation between you and your spouse in the presence of a mediator to solve various divorce related issues. It wont be necessary if you and your spouse are going for an uncontested divorce.

  3. Is custody of a child always granted to one parent only?

    No, court gives minimum partial custody to parents called joint custody. There are three types of joint custodies according to Missouri divorce laws:
    * Joint physical custody: children spend equal time with both parents.
    * Joint legal custody: parents jointly decide educational and health issues of a child.
    * Both legal and physical custody of the children.

  4. Can Missouri divorce court grant child custody to someone else other than parents?

    In case of mental problems, incarceration or any other legal crisis, the Missouri divorce court may grant the custody of children to someone else other than the parents.

  5. Is it compulsory for both the spouses to be residents of the state to get divorce in Missouri?

    According to Missouri divorce laws, one spouse must be a resident of the state to claim a Missouri divorce. If one spouse has moved away from the state and the other one is residing in Missouri, then the divorce filed by him/her is valid.

  6. Can grandparents visit the child?

    According to the Missouri divorce laws, grandparents can visit a child, but they have to file a request in the Missouri divorce court for permission. The court will look into the matter and the reason before it grants them permission to visit.

  7. Is there any Missouri divorce law stating me and my spouse can not hire the same divorce lawyer?

    Yes, you and your spouse cannot hire the same divorce lawyer because one lawyer can not defend you and your spouse at the same time.

  8. I want to represent myself in the court, can I?

    Obviously, you can represent yourself in the divorce court, but recommendation is not to take any risk and hire a professional divorce lawyer for getting a divorce in Missouri.

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