Online Divorce in Missouri
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Valid Grounds To Get A Divorce
The legal term for divorce in the state of Missouri is the dissolution of marriage. Missouri allows no-fault divorces. In other words, there is no need to prove and blame one of the spouses that he/she is responsible for the divorce. The only statement that partners need to declare is that marriage is irretrievably broken.
How to Get a Divorce in Missouri
Sometimes couples struggle too much to maintain their marriage. However, if things do not work, both parties’ best option is to file for divorce. The length and difficulties in the process of getting a divorce can depend only on the partners. If they can not overcome the issues they have by themselves, the process will last longer, and the third parties need to get involved in the process.
When the partners attempt to file for divorce, they need to understand some terminology. The spouse that files for divorce is the petitioner, and the respondent is the one who gets the documents and responds. Understanding the terms will be helpful when you file the divorce papers.
The process of dissolving the marriage without children is less stressful than the one which includes children. If the partners are cooperative and have good communication, they can resolve all the divorce issues by themselves. In that way, the process will be quicker, and there is no need for court involvement. The main problem in these kinds of divorces is property division. The partners need to divide some debts and assets as well.
The main goal in the cases where the partners have kids is to make things as easy as possible for them. The fact that their parents are getting a divorce is hard enough for the kids. For that reason, the kids need to be spared the stress about custody and family issues. Despite that, the child must continue with the life he/she had before the separation. The parents need to establish an agreement about custody, visitation, and child support. If the parents can not do it by themselves, the court will do that for them. Despite this, if the child is old enough, his/her opinion will matter to the court.
Missouri Family Laws
Missouri is an equitable distribution state, which means that everything that spouses have will be divided equitably and fairly.
Missouri Statutes contain everything relevant for family laws that will be considered while dissolving the marriage.
Spousal Support, Maintenance, or Alimony
The court will not award alimony to one of the spouses in every case. There are some requests that a spouse needs to fulfill. One of the partners, that does not have enough martial property received in the dissolution of marriage can request alimony to cover financial needs.
Despite that, the partner can also request financial assistance if he/she does not have enough income or when he/she is unemployed. The final request for getting the alimony is that the other spousal can pay it. Once the court makes the final decision, the next step is determining the amount of the alimony. The court will take into consideration some factors before giving the final order. The court needs to have an insight into the financials of both spouses and their debts and assets. The court will also consider if the spouse who requests alimony needs a job or some education improvement and retraining. The standard of living during their marriage is also relevant to the final decision.
Custody And Visitation
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.025 includes every order related to child custody and support. The child’s best interest is the key term when it comes to deciding who will get custody in Missouri. In general, the law in Missouri prefers a joint custody arrangement. In that way, both parents will share legal and physical custody. The parents will be cooperative and share every decision. Legal custody means that person will make every decision referring to the child’s life and welfare. However, physical custody indicates where the child will live. In the case where spouses can’t set the agreement and work together, the procedure is different. Both parents need to suggest the parenting plan to the court. In the parenting plan, they need to present their wishes for visitation and custody. The court will reconsider both suggestions and set the custody arrangement, which will be in the child’s best interest. In other words, the parents will get a schedule and orders on how they will care for the child after the divorce.
Missouri law has child support guidelines to help parents and the judge to establish the support awards. The judge will need to have an insight into the financial picture of both parents. That means the child’s needs and the time that parents spend with the child are essential factors for final maintenance decisions. Logically, the parent who lives with the child will receive child support. That parent is also called the custodial parent. An online child support calculator for Missouri can help you find out the support awards in your case.
Divorce Papers and Forms
If you want to file for divorce, you need to submit a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage that is the essential divorce document with all the information about spouses. If you and your partner have children, you two need to complete the Parenting plan. In this form, you and your partner will fill all the details and information about the custody decisions. If the spouses agree on the key terms about the child, they can submit this document together. On the other hand, if their opinions differ, they will give the Parenting plan to the court individually. One more necessary form that you need to submit with your divorce documents is a Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet. Additionally, both spouses need to fill the form Financial statement, as well as, Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement.
To conclude, some of the necessary divorce papers and forms you need are
- Parenting Plan (Filling the details together or individually if their opinions differ)
- Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet
- Financial Statement
- Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement
Of course, the list of the necessary forms and documents does not end here. We will analyze them more in the further text.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Missouri
There are no specific requirements for conducting an uncontested divorce. It is always better for spousals to have good communication and cooperate and unite to solve the existing problems. In that way, they can finish the divorce process in the recent period. Once they settle the agreements about all the key terms in the divorce, they can deliver the forms to the court. The court will not have reason to conduct hearings, and everything will be over soon. The only requirement is that one of the spouses has been the resident for at least 90 days before filing for divorce.
Also, the partners need to watch or read a video for the Missouri litigant awareness program. There is a certificate of completing this program that you need to attach when you file the divorce documents. The program will provide essential information on how to protect yourself in the process of divorce.
In Annotated Missouri Statutes – Mo. Rev. Stat. 452.305 you can find everything about legal grounds for getting a divorce in the state.
What If I Have Contested Divorce?
In divorce cases where couples can not reach an agreement on every problem they have, they need to go to court. The first option that partners have is to go on meditation. Sometimes, this method helps spouses to reach a fair agreement between them. If this does not help, the spouses will need to hire attorneys and go to court.
After the hearing, the judge will make the final decision about their marriage. The process in these cases lasts longer.
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Property Division in Missouri
Missouri is an equitable distribution state. That means the material property will be divided equitably and fairly. However, that does not mean that it will be necessarily equal. There are some factors that the court will take into consideration when making the final decision about property division in Missouri. The economic picture of both parties and each person’s property’s value is essential for the final court’s order. Also, the court will ask where the children live if the spouses have them. In that case, the person who gets the kids will get the house. The court will take into consideration the behavior of the partners as well. Once the court pronounces the final decision, the spouse’s property will be divided. In Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.330 you can see everything about property division in the state of Missouri and find more about different circumstances that have an impact on the final orders.
How to File Divorce Papers in Missouri
It is essential to submit the divorce papers in the county court where you or your partner have been a resident for at least 90 days.
There are separate judicial circuits, so you need to find the appropriate one for your case.
Once you find the appropriate local court, you need to submit your documents to the country clerk. First, make copies of the divorce papers because you will need to serve them to your partner. After you do that, you need to notarize the forms that you completed. The court where you submit the documents may also have a notary. If you are wondering how much they will charge you for the form fees, the answer will depend on the court. You can find form fees on the court website or to call the country clerk at your local court and ask.
File your Divorce Paperwork
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – the main form that requires the ground for divorce. The Missouri state allows no-fault divorces. The only request is to cite that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no possibility of saving it.
- Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage – this document will stay in the clerk’s office when your divorce is over as evidence.
- Statement of Income and Expenses – the form which is necessary because, based on them, the court will give the financial orders
- Statement of Property and Debt and Proposed Separation Agreement – the form where the partners need to state all details about material property and debts. Based on this document, the court can divide the property that partners had during the marriage.
- Filing Information Sheet- form is required by the court to enter information about your case into the court’s system.
- Parenting Plan – a form that partners who have children complete. That document contains all essential information about the child’s legal and physical custody.
- Answer to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage – a form that is completed only by the respondent after he gets the divorce paperwork. He/she has 30 days to answer the divorce petition. If the spouse does not answer, the divorce will be considered a default divorce. In that kind of divorce, only the petitioner will be involved.
Serve your Spouse
Generally, the Sheriff will serve your divorce papers to your partner.
However, there is an option to hire some private service to finish the job. In both cases, they will charge them a certain fee.
However, you must serve the copies of your divorce documents to your partner. When your partner gets the documents, he/she needs to complete the Answer form.
The state of Missouri has 46 circuit courts. Through the Missouri Judicial Branch website, you can locate your local Missouri circuit court.
Generally, both partners need to complete a document called Statement of Income and Expenses. When the court has an insight into this form, they can see all the essential information about the spouse’s financials. All incomes, expenses, assets, and debts are included here. The Judge will use this form to make financial disclosures regarding alimony and child support.
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Missouri
Missouri has different Family courts. For that reason, it is essential to file your divorce papers in the right location. Some courts work with dissolution procedures and cases that include children. If you are a petitioner, you need to file your divorce case in the Family Court that is located in the state where your or your partner resides.
How to Get A Divorce In Missouri Without a Lawyer
The decision to get a divorce is sometimes very stressful. You need to start your life from the new beginning and to move on. However, if things do not work between the partners anymore, the best decision is to file for divorce. In the situation where you reached this point and want to end your marriage, the best option is to take into consideration all the options you have and make things as easy as possible. The good thing is that Missouri allows no-fault divorces and makes the process easier. There is an option to conduct a divorce without hiring a lawyer. Using an online divorce paper preparation service, you can easily complete all the forms by yourself. A step-by-step guide that these services have will help you submit all the right forms for your case. Also, they will help you fill them correctly and in detail.
File Missouri Divorce Papers Online
Technology makes our lives more comfortable. With the progress of technology, different things are available to us. For instance, even finishing the process of divorce can be done online. For that reason, many people are deciding on this option to save time, money, and energy. As you see, beginning your divorce process online has many benefits. You can complete all the forms and be guided through the process of divorce with the online method. You can ensure that you will fill all the forms correctly. Not only that you do not need to hire a lawyer and spend so much money on him, but you will also spare yourself from stress about collecting all the necessary documents. From the comfort of your chair, you can file your divorce paperwork today.
Check if You Qualify
How much does a divorce cost in Missouri?
The costs will vary from the circumstances in your case. For instance, if the partners handle their divorce by themselves, they can save lots of money because they don’t have to hire an attorney. On the other hand, if the partners can not reach an agreement about the key terms in their case, they will need to pay costs for attorneys.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Missouri?
The period for getting the divorce will depend on different factors in your case. The minimum period that you need to wait to get the divorce is 30 days. However, it can take longer. Some cases last from 6 months to even a year if they are complex, and the spouses do not want to be cooperative.
How can I get a copy of my divorce in Missouri?
The court clerk will give you a copy when you file for divorce.
Do my spouse and I need to live in Missouri to get a divorce?
The Missouri divorce process requires that you or your partner live in Missouri for at least 90 days before filing a divorce petition. If you try to avoid the residency requirement and file your divorce papers before you have lived in the state for 90 days, a judge can throw out your case.
Can I still get a divorce if my spouse does not want to get one?
If you are a petitioner, you need to serve the documents to your partner. He/she must submit the Answer document to the court. The respondent has 30 days to answer after he gets the divorce papers. If the respondent does not file an answer, the court will enter a default judgment against your partner, allowing the divorce according to the terms you listed in the petition.