The decision to file for divorce is not one to be taken lightly. If you are considering filing for divorce, there are some things you should know. Read more to learn about Missouri divorce laws, waiting periods, and how to begin the process. 

separation in missouri

Do I Need to File for Separation Before Divorce in Missouri?

There is no requirement in Missouri that a married couple must be separated before divorce. Some couples choose to file for legal separation through court. The purpose of a legal separation in Missouri is to allow the couple to come to a resolution and hopefully avoid divorce. It’s similar to a trial period during which the couple lives apart and acts as if they are already divorced. After filing for separation, the couple must go through a 90-day waiting period before asking a judge to convert the separation to a divorce. On the other hand, couples who choose to stay married can ask a judge to dissolve the separation. 

Some married couples choose an informal separation period instead of a legal separation. It could be that the couple hopes to reconcile or they’d prefer not to spend time and money going over assets, child custody agreements, and other arrangements before deciding on divorce. Couples can stay separated for any amount of time. 

Waiting Period for Divorce in Missouri

In order for a judge to grant a divorce, both parties are required to live separately for 30 days after filing. The purpose of Missouri’s waiting period is to allow both spouses time apart to decide if divorce is the best course of action. During the 30 days of separation, each spouse may hire a divorce attorney to represent them during proceedings. 

However, that’s only if both parties mutually agree on the terms of the divorce. If one party believes that the marriage can be saved, there could be up to a 24 month waiting period before the divorce is granted. During that period, the couple can be informally or legally separated, depending on their preferences and circumstances. 

The residency requirements are the same for both legal separation and divorce in Missouri. In order to file for separation or divorce in the state, at least one spouse must live in the state for a minimum of 90 days. Paperwork must be filed in the county where the spouse lives. 

Types of Divorce

There are two types of divorce in Missouri: contested and uncontested. Each type has pros and cons depending on the relationship of the spouses and the circumstances surrounding the divorce.

Contested Divorce

Contested divorces happen when one or both spouses disagree on at least one aspect of the divorce, such as division of property or child custody agreements, leaving those decisions up to a judge. 

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses have a mutual agreement on the division of assets, debt, child custody, and spousal support. Uncontested divorces are typically less stressful, less expensive, and take less time to resolve. 

Divorce Lawyers in Missouri

Hiring a divorce lawyer will help you protect your interests and assets. At Mark Harford Law, we have years of experience handling divorces in Missouri. Whether contested or uncontested, our team is there to provide support and help you get through the divorce as smoothly and quickly as possible. Contact us today for a consultation.