Each state has its own set of divorce laws enacted to provide uniformity and clarity about how and when to file for and obtain a divorce. In Missouri, divorce is also known as dissolution of marriage. The Missouri Domestic Relations Act governs marriage and divorce procedures within the state. The party that files for divorce is known as the petitioner and the other party is referred to as the respondent. The first step towards filing for divorce is satisfying state residency requirements. To be eligible to file for divorce in Missouri at least one spouse must have been a resident of the state for at least 90 days immediately prior to the filing. This also includes military personnel that have been stationed within the state for at least 90 days.
If residency requirements are satisfied, the court will grant a divorce based on one of a number of different grounds. The most common reason for dissolution is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, also known as irreconcilable differences. This ground is based on a lack of any reasonable likelihood of reconciliation. If both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken or if one party alleges so and that other fails to deny it, the divorce is granted once 30 days have elapsed since the date the petition was filed.
If one party contests the divorce and does not acquiesce to an irretrievable breakdown, the court may still order dissolution if:
- There is evidence of adultery;
- Living conditions are intolerable and unreasonable to a spouse;
- Abandonment for at least 6 months; or
- Separate living arrangements, apart from each other, for at least 12 months by mutual consent, or at least 24 months without mutual consent.
Once the court finds appropriate grounds with which to justify dissolution and all provisions for equitable property distribution, alimony and child support or custody (if applicable) are executed, a final decree of divorce is entered.
Divorce is one of the most common legal issues that many couples face and it is important to understand your options as well as the potential ramifications, both financial and personal, of dissolution. You need an experienced Missouri divorce attorney on your side to protect your best interests and place you in the best possible position for a successful new future. To discuss your options, turn to the respected Missouri family law attorney at Troy J. Leavitt Law Firm, LLC. Attorney Leavitt has a proven track record of achieving successful results for clients. Call 816-228-6000 or contact us online. Representing clients in Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Lee’s Summit, Oak Grove, Independence and Kansas City, Missouri.