Uncontested Divorce in Missouri
There are two options for divorcing spouses in Missouri to terminate their marriage: a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce.
- In an uncontested divorce, spouses typically manage to settle all their divorce-related issues outside the court amicable, which significantly shortens the overall divorce process and reduces the divorce cost.
- Otherwise, contested divorce implies that the spouses failed to agree on such issues as marital property division, child custody, Missouri child support, debt allocations, retirement funds, etc., and may need legal assistance from a lawyer. Thus, all their issues will be handled by the court.
It’s common for divorcing spouses to proceed with a much more simple and affordable uncontested divorce as they can deal with it themselves and save time, money, and nerves on expensive law firm’s services.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
Those spouses who don’t have any legal training and find the paperwork challenging may still handle their divorce forms without an expensive divorce attorney. DivorceOnline is a unique online platform that helps divorcing spouses select and fill out the appropriate divorce forms in just 2 business days for a reasonable price.
All you need to do is complete our simple questionnaire about your marriage and divorce, and we will help you get your completed divorce forms ready for filing. With a DivorceOnline, you can forget about divorce paperwork hassle for as little as $139. Our service also provides soon-to-be-ex spouses with simple filing instructions.
DivorceOnline is not only a fast and affordable online divorce service; it’s specifically designed to allow spouses to handle their divorce papers from the comfort of their own homes.
However, keep in mind that if you proceed with a contested divorce and still have unresolved divorce-related issues in your case, you should consider hiring an attorney as we do not provide legal advice.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Missouri
There are several consecutive steps residents of Missouri have to follow to get a divorce.
According to Missouri law, the spouses have to meet the residency requirements, meaning that either spouse must be a resident of Missouri for no less than 90 days prior to the divorce filing and proceeding.
The divorce papers must be filed in the Missouri county where either of the spouses resides.
As a no-fault state, spouses in Missouri can state that their marriage is irretrievably broken due to irreconcilable differences to get a divorce.
However, the spouses may also proceed with a fault-based divorce using one of the following fault-based grounds:
- Abandonment for no less than 6 months;
- Living separate and apart for no less than 12 months before filing for a divorce with a mutual agreement to such an arrangement;
- Living separate and apart for no less than 24 months without a mutual agreement to such an arrangement; or
- The spouse behaving in such a way makes it impossible to live with them.
According to Missouri law, the spouses can also file for legal separation. With a legal separation, the spouses have to take the same steps as with a dissolution of marriage (divorce) and allow the court to decide marital property division, child custody, Missouri child support, etc. However, a legal separation will not terminate the marriage.
To initiate a divorce process in Missouri, the plaintiff has to submit Missouri divorce papers with the court of the county where either spouse resides.
Divorce Papers in Missouri
To initiate a divorce process in Missouri, the spouses must submit divorce forms to the court. The forms may vary as each divorce case is unique.
However, basic divorce forms in Missouri include:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage;
- Statement of Income and Expenses; and
- Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement.
Another crucial document is the Marital Settlement Agreement, which may significantly influence the procedure and cost. Yet, the spouses unable to resolve their divorce-related issues may request the court to handle those.
Those spouses unable to handle their divorce paperwork should check out the online divorce service DivorceOnline, which is specifically designed to assist couples in sorting out their divorce papers.
According to Missouri law, the plaintiff has to pay the filing fees as they submit the paperwork. The average filing fee in Missouri is about $163. However, the exact amount may vary slightly depending on the county where either spouse resides.
The plaintiff may also request the court to waive the filing fees if they cannot afford to pay them.
After the paperwork has been submitted to the court, the spouses must wait for at least 30 days before the divorce is granted.
After the divorce documents are filed, the plaintiff must serve the other spouse with copies of their divorce paperwork. Typically, the plaintiff hires a sheriff or a private process server to handle the serving.
However, a plaintiff may have the other spouse fill out a “Waiver of Personal Service” document and submit it to the court to avoid the serving procedure.
After the service is acknowledged, the clerk may schedule a final hearing. Luckily, some counties in Missouri allow the judge to grant the divorce based on the paperwork and Marital Settlement Agreement with no need to arrange the hearing.
After the hearing or a thorough revision of all the submitted paperwork, the final divorce decree is signed, and the divorce process is finalized.
Getting a Divorce With Children
When minor children are involved in the divorce process in Missouri, several issues must be tackled, such as child custody, child support, and visitation.
The judge can grant sole or joint child custody when determining physical and legal custody. While considering joint custody, the judge needs to see the parents willing to cooperate for the sake of their child’s wellbeing.
The Missouri custody decisions are based on the judge’s evaluation of the following:
- Child’s wished for custody;
- Each parent’s wishes for custody;
- Ability and willingness to fulfill the child’s needs;
- Child’s relationship with each parent and close family members;
- Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
- Mental and physical health of all the parties involved;
- History of domestic violence of each parent;
- Each parent’s relocation plan, if any; and
- The willingness of a parent to allow frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact of a child with the other parent.
The court has to consider the child’s best interests while handling the custody case.
As for child support in Missouri, the custodial parent tends to receive child support payments until the child reaches the age of 18.
To help the parents estimate their share of support, the Missouri court typically provides a child support calculator based on the Missouri support guidelines.
Missouri’s child support calculator is a form (Form No. 14 Child Support Amount Calculation Worksheet) that includes the following information:
- Both parents’ incomes;
- Support costs;
- Alimony paid or received;
- Percent of custody; and
- All the other expenses involved in raising the child.
There is also an option to modify a child support order if one of the parents faces a substantial change in circumstances making it unreasonable to continue the payments. For example, unemployment of either parent may become one of the reasons to change the support order. However, it may depend significantly on the circumstances of such a case.
Filing for Divorce in Missouri Without a Lawyer
In Missouri, divorcing couples may choose to proceed with their divorce without a lawyer to save money on costly law firms. And yet, while dealing with a divorce without legal help may allow the spouses to reduce the overall divorce cost, it only works for uncontested divorce cases.
If the spouses have any unsettled issues, they can participate in mediation. Divorce mediation allows the divorcing spouses to get help from a neutral third party to resolve their divorce-related issues without litigation.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Missouri
which allows them to terminate their marriage without any legal assistance.
Do-it-yourself divorce is a great and affordable alternative to hiring costly attorneys. However, couples who find the divorce process and the requirements challenging to handle without any legal training can consider online divorce services.
For example, DivorceOnline is explicitly designed to assist soon-to-be-ex couples in sorting out and completing their divorce forms. It helps the spouses prepare their paperwork and provides them with a simple filing guide.
For as little as $139, DivorceOnline assists spouses handle their divorce papers in two business days. That allows spouses to get their divorce papers fast and simple.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The length of a divorce process depends significantly on the complexity of the case and its attendant circumstances. However, at a minimum, uncontested divorce cases may take around 90 days since the petition is filed.
An uncontested divorce case in Missouri doesn’t typically cost a fortune as the spouses don’t have to pay much more than filing fees, which are about $163 in Missouri.
However, complicated cases with minor children usually require the lawyer’s services, making the overall divorce cost a lot higher.
A free divorce is not an option in Missouri. Yet, there are still several options to reduce the divorce cost.
Plaintiffs may request the court to waive filing fees proving to the judge that they are unable to pay them. Or another option to save money is to proceed with an inexpensive DIY divorce without legal help. The spouses can try to settle all their divorce-related issues amicably without costly attorney fees.
The petitioner in Missouri has to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Statement of Income and Expenses, and Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement to file for a divorce. There may be other forms required for the case, which depend on the attendant circumstances and the case's complexity.
To check what forms are needed, the spouses should contact the court’s clerk or use the online divorce service DivorceOnine.