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What issues can a Missouri court consider in a divorce?

Getting divorced in Missouri can be an emotional endeavor. When a couple gets married, they will overwhelmingly want it to work out so they can stay together and maintain the family unit. In reality, a significant proportion of marriages fail. There are a variety of reasons for this. When deciding to divorce in Missouri, it is important to remember the basics of completing the process. Knowing the state laws for a divorce is part of that.

Missouri is a no-fault state. This means it is generally not required that fault be shown before a divorce can be granted. Even with its no-fault status, there are certain factors that the state can consider when they are granting a divorce if the circumstances warrant it. If, for example, one spouse committed adultery and it was not a relationship in which relationships with others had been agreed upon, this can be considered by the court. Another issue the court can consider is if one spouse can no longer tolerate the other spouse's behavior. If the couple has lived separately for a minimum of 24 months - or 12 months if both parties agree - prior to the divorce being filed, this will be assessed by the court as the case moves forward. With abandonment for six or more consecutive months prior to the filing, this can be an important factor in the case. If one of the spouses was taking part in a criminal activity, the court can take that into account.

Residency requirements stipulate that either party live in the state for a minimum of 90 days before there can be a divorce. The "no fault" justification will be an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. A court can decide that the marriage can be salvaged. If that is the case, then it can grant a legal separation prior to the divorce. One spouse might deny that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Then it must be shown that there were adulterous acts, abuse or other issues that make it necessary to end the union.

Even relatively simple divorces in which the couple agrees to part ways in an amicable fashion can be complicated due to the state laws. More complicated divorces where there are children, property issues and other problems can be difficult. With any divorce, having legal assistance from an attorney is essential and should not be ignored.

Source: statelaws.findlaw.com, "Missouri Divorce Laws," accessed on Feb. 27, 2018

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Alan E. DeWoskin, P.C.
225 South Meramec Avenue, Suite 426
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