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6 Things to Know About Missouri Divorce Laws:

Updated: Mar 5, 2019


One of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make will be whether or not to dissolve your marriage. There are a plethora of emotions that will go into this decision making process but here are five things to consider when getting a divorce in the state of Missouri.


1-  What are acceptable grounds for divorce?

Missouri has limited “no fault” divorce, which means you do not have to prove cruelty, adultery, etc., if your marriage is “irretrievably broken” is grounds for a divorce or dissolution.


2-  What does the term dissolution mean?

The State of Missouri uses the term “Dissolution of Marriage” rather than “divorce”.  


3-  What type of time line can I expect?

Your dissolution request will not be reviewed for at least 31 days after its filing.  Most cases will typically be heard in Circuit Court between 60 – 90 days after the filing.  


4-  What does “uncontested” dissolution mean?

If your dissolution is uncontested, it means both spouses agree to all aspects of the dissolution such as custody, visitation, division of property, debt payment, etc. and a trail is not necessary.  If one spouse disputes any of the matters and an agreement cannot be reached, a trial will be necessary.


5-  What options do I have for custody of our children?

There are three forms of custody under Missouri Divorce Law; Joint Legal Custody, Joint Physical Custody and Sole Custody.  Joint Legal Custody mean both parents shall share in all important decisions for the well-being of the child or children.  A specific plan for this action must be included in the Court order. Joint Physical Custody means both parents shall have significant periods of time spent with the child or children, residing in their home or under care or supervision and does not require equal sharing of physical custody.  Sole Custody means one parent makes all the decisions regarding the child or children and they primarily live with that parent. The child can still have temporary custody or visitations with the other parent.


6- Will I be able to change my name back to my maiden name after the dissolution is finalized?

The spouse must petition the court during the divorce proceedings for a name change.  


If you or someone you know is considering getting a divorce, have them reach out to our office and set up a consultation today. Let Smith & Turley help you navigate these challenging and sometimes murky waters.



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