Missouri Divorce Law Frequently Asked Questions
Many clients in Columbia, MO who are seeking a divorce often have a number of questions about the process. Bezler Law Firm has compiled a list of some of those questions and answers as a way to help you begin to understand the process involved in a divorce in Missouri. This is not legal advice. The facts and circumstances of every case are different. Consult your attorney!
What are the grounds for divorce in Missouri?
To obtain a divorce in Missouri, the Court only needs to determine that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be preserved. No other grounds, such as abuse, adultery, or other misconduct is required.
How long must I be a resident in Missouri in order to get a divorce?
You and your spouse must have been a resident of Missouri for the 90 days immediately preceding filing the petition for a dissolution.
What is an “uncontested” divorce?
An “uncontested” divorce is when both spouses agree to all aspects of custody, visitation, child and spousal support, division of assets and debts, and payment of attorney fees and costs.
How does my spouse learn that I am filing for divorce?
Hopefully, the two of you have discussed it and made some tentative plans and agreements. If not, he/she will either receive a letter and documents from your attorney or he/she will be served with the Petition and Summons, and possibly other documents, by law enforcement or a special process server.
Will we have to go to court?
It depends on the circuit where your case is filed, whether or not your case is contested, you have children, both parties are represented by attorneys and whether or not all of your documents are signed prior to the trial date. There could be matters during the course of your case that require a court appearance.
What about dating while my divorce is pending?
This is a very personal decision that each person should make with their attorney. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes it can increase the hostility between the parties, cause additional issues for children, increase the litigation and consequently, the financial cost of the divorce.
How do we divide our property?
If you own real estate and/or have substantial assets, you need the guidance and assistance of your attorney and possibly your CPA in order to avoid what could be a very costly error. If you only own personal property, i.e. automobiles, household goods, personal possessions, you and your spouse should be able to equitably divide those items.
How do we share time with the children?
If the parents can agree to an arrangement that they both feel is in the children’s best interest, then the court likely will grant that order. If the parents cannot agree to an arrangement or cannot agree on what’s in the children’s best interest, then they are essentially asking someone else to make the decision for them. This could lead to protracted litigation involving therapists, a Guardian ad Litem, mediation, and multiple court hearings. The cost for a custody/visitation dispute can easily be in the tens-of-thousands.
Will someone pay child support? If so, which parent and how much?
There are a number of factors to be considered in the determination of whether either party will pay child support to the other, which party shall pay support, and how much the child support payment shall be. Those factors include but are not limited to: the needs of the children, the parenting schedule, what expenses are incurred on behalf of the children and how those expenses are being paid, and the parents respective incomes.
If you or a loved one have any other questions or concerns about divorce in Missouri, feel free to contact Bezler Law Firm. The facts and circumstances are different in every case. Be sure to consult with your attorney to receive the best guidance for your divorce.