Divorce & Legal Separation
Divorce in Missouri
A divorce in Missouri is known as a “dissolution of marriage.” A dissolution of marriage in Missouri is limited “no-fault,” meaning that a spouse only needs to show that a marriage is irretrievably broken to be granted a dissolution. The process of a dissolution of marriage involves dividing assets and debts, possibly awarding maintenance (alimony), determining custody and parenting time for children, creating a parenting plan and calculating child support.
Legal Separation in Missouri
The process for a legal separation is very similar to the process for a dissolution of marriage. You will still address the division of marital assets and debts, determine custody and parenting time and orders for child support and/or maintenance. The primary difference is that following a legal separation, you are still married. Some couples choose to file for a legal separation rather than for divorce because of religious beliefs, moral values, or financial reasons.
Divorce and Legal Separation Process and Timeframe
There are generally two types of cases dissolution or legal separation cases: contested and uncontested. In an uncontested case, you and your spouse have reached at least a general agreement on how you want to resolve your divorce. In a contested case, you are not in agreement.
In both cases, the process of a divorce or legal separation starts by one spouse filing a petition with the court. The petition must be on file for a minimum of thirty days before the case can be concluded, however, the length of time it will take for your divorce to be final will depend on many factors including the complexity of the issues in your case, how contested your case is, and the court’s docket. An uncontested case will take much less time to finish than a contested case.