Divorce In Missouri – Your Complete Starter Guide

divorce in missouri
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | Jul 30th, 2019

The prospect and process of divorce is almost always painful and overwhelming, but knowing what to expect as you make your way through the system can help. Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, so there is no need to provide grounds for divorce when filing. Here’s a basic outline of the Missouri divorce procedure.

Missouri Divorce Requirements

Missouri’s requirements for divorce are simple and straightforward. To receive a divorce in Missouri, at least one of the parties must have been a resident of the state for at least 90 days. There is no need to provide grounds for divorce however extenuating circumstances such as infidelity, abuse, or addiction are taken into consideration.

There is a 12 month waiting period before filing for divorce if both parties can agree to the divorce. During this time, the parties must live separate and apart. The waiting period is extended to 24 months if either party does not wish to divorce. During this two-year timespan, the parties must live separate and apart.

In cases of spousal abandonment, the waiting period is shortened to 6 months. If you were abandoned by your spouse for six continuous months or longer, you may file for divorce in Missouri.

While defenses to divorce filings have been abolished, Missouri courts still have the option of granting legal separations rather than divorces in cases where the court believes that the marriage has a chance of working.

Basic Divorce Proceedings In Missouri

When filing for divorce in Missouri, most people opt to work with an attorney. In the event that you cannot afford an attorney, it’s possible to find basic divorce forms online at the State of Missouri website. You should also check with your local circuit court to find out whether you need additional forms.

Whether you hire a divorce attorney or not, here’s what to expect as you work your way through Missouri divorce proceedings.

One Spouse Files a Petition: As in most states, Missouri divorce petitions are legal documents that must be filed at the local courthouse in the county where either the petitioner and/or the respondent lives. The petition includes basic information including your name and your spouse’s name, whether you’ll need child custody hearings, whether property will need to be divided, and what your desired outcome is.

After filling out the divorce petition, the petitioner must visit a notary public and verify that all information contained in the petition is factual.

Additional Forms May Be Required: Every divorce is different. In most cases though, the court will need additional information to proceed. Some common Missouri divorce forms include the Statement of Property and Debt as well as the Income and Expense Statement.

Respondent is Notified: There are a few different ways to notify the respondent of divorce filing in Missouri. These include:

After being served with divorce papers, Missouri respondents have 30 days to file their own written response, which is called an “answer.” The answer is an acknowledgment of receipt as well as an opportunity to agree or disagree with the filing. Agreement or disagreement determines whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.

Missouri Uncontested Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, the respondent agrees with everything the petitioner has stated and requested in the petition. There are no disagreements over common issues including the division of debt, child custody, and the division of assets. The court is able to provide a ruling, which becomes final thirty days later unless there is an appeal. As you might imagine, uncontested divorces typically proceed far faster than those in which unresolved issues exist.

Missouri Contested Divorce

Most Missouri divorces are contested, as parties often have difficulty coming to terms on child support and custody as well as the division of property and/or debt. It’s best to obtain legal counsel if you have a contested divorce as an attorney will represent your best interests and try to ensure that you receive everything that you are entitled to.

Even if you cannot afford an attorney, you will have a divorce hearing. During a contested divorce hearing, each party presents documented evidence of all income and expenses as well as any extenuating circumstances and any other documentation, evidence, or testimony to support the arguments being made. After all evidence has been presented, the judge will provide a ruling. The ruling is usually presented verbally, and the divorce becomes final 30 days later so long as there is no appeal.

Whether your divorce is contested or not, the final judgment will stand once any appeals have been heard and decided upon. When the court makes its order of distribution of marital property, there is no second chance for modification.

Insights From Jumping In: Dating After Divorce in 2019

In 2019, Worthy conducted a study on how divorce women approach divorce and dating in today’s world.

Age of Today’s Divorced Woman
Of the women we surveyed, 42% divorced between the ages of 35-44 and 28% between 45-54, indicating that midlife is the most common time for marriages to break up. Only 9% divorced after the age of 55 and the younger women, 34 and under, made up 22%.

Divorce Proceedings in the 21st Century
We asked our participants to share what legal processes they were familiar with for divorce. Litigation (53%) and mediation (48%) were at the top of the list but many were also familiar with alternative routes such as low-conflict collaborative divorce (25%). Services like working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst are much less well-known (5%).

Divorce Finances 101
When it came to the big issues, the majority of women felt sufficiently informed to make decisions. This included issues like health insurance (60%) and the marital house (56%). However, when it came to issues outside of the immediate household, such as taxes, the participants felt less informed.Reusable Block

Dating After Divorce
Dating is at the forefront of many divorcees’ minds. 78% of the women have already started thinking about dating by the time the divorce papers are signed. 40% of women feel confident about dating after divorce, 68% feel excited and hopeful. 59% of divorced women meet dates on online dating websites or apps.

Getting Divorced The Better Way

Divorce can be a complicated, draining and expensive process, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking to file for an uncontested divorce in
Missouri, do it the easy way with our friends at It’s Over Easy, the only online divorce solution that guides you through every aspect of your case, founded by celebrity divorce lawyer Laura A. Wasser. 

“After practicing Family Law for over 20 years I came to realize that people deserve a better way to get divorced. I founded It’s Over Easy to give people a high-quality, less expensive & more amicable option. Our platform takes the user through the entire dissolution process. We provide information and support along the way through our content on our Insights Blog, the Divorce Sucks! Podcast and The Index, our curated professional and lifestyle resource guide. Divorce is difficult but the legal part shouldn’t have to be.” 
–Laura A. Wasser

Divorce Resources in Missouri

Focus Area OrganizationWebsite

National Association of
Divorce Professionals


Certified Divorced


Association of
Financial Planners



Grounds For Divorce In Missouri

Even though Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, petitioners may provide additional grounds for divorce. These include:

What If I Cannot Afford Costs?

Missouri divorce laws allow for In Forma Pauperis Applications. Each judicial circuit court has its own rules, however, all offer the opportunity to file a “Motion and Affidavit in Support of Request to Proceed as a Poor Person.” This form provides the court with information on income and expenses, as well as total debts and assets. It allows the judge to make a well-informed decision about whether to waive court costs.

Divorce process guide for main US states

Worthy Staff

Worthy Staff

The Worthy Blog is a place for inspiration, insight, and advice for all things surrounding life's greatest transitions - divorce, losing a loved one, retirement, and so much more. You can find us on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.


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