Missouri Divorce Laws

Dissolution of marriage is often a stressful and expensive process. It can last several months, depending on the case conditions and the ability of parties to reach an agreement. The divorce procedure can get complicated due to the ignorance of Missouri divorce laws, which can be confusing, especially for those with no legal background.

Regardless of whether you have a contested or an uncontested dissolution of marriage, you need to learn the main requirements and steps to divorce in Missouri. In this article, we have prepared a basic overview of divorce laws in Missouri and answered common questions to help you understand the process.

If you start an uncontested dissolution of marriage and need assistance with the paperwork, you can use our online document preparation service. You will receive a set of forms necessary for your case in a few days, so you will save time by avoiding the hassle of searching for and completing divorce papers on your own.


Missouri Divorce Requirements

When getting a divorce, couples must pay attention to the specifics of the process in the state and follow the Missouri divorce rules.

The main Missouri divorce requirements for spouses filing for dissolution of marriage are specified below:



  1. Before starting the divorce process, spouses should analyze their case to find out whether they have disagreements regarding child custody, maintenance, and assets division. An uncontested dissolution of marriage is usually less complicated than a contested one and takes less time to finalize.
  2. To file for divorce, spouses need to determine and fill out the necessary dissolution of marriage forms. Their number will depend on the circumstances of the case, e.g., if spouses have minor children together, can agree on divorce terms, have property to divide, etc. Mandatory documents, among others, are a petition, an information sheet, a statement of income and expenses, etc.
  3. If parties need to divide assets, liabilities, or debts during the dissolution of marriage in Missouri, they must share financial information and provide it to the court. To evaluate the property, spouses can involve professional appraisers.
  4. Couples filing for divorce with minor children need to agree on their custody, support, and visitation. If they have any disagreements, the judge can make a decision independently, taking into account many factors and children’s best interests.
  5. If one of the parties requests alimony, they should provide the court with reasons and evidence for awarding it; these can be the lack of property or financial inability to maintain the standard of living.


What are the Divorce Laws in Missouri

Spouses who have decided to file for dissolution of marriage and want to prepare for divorce on their own often ask, “What are the divorce laws in Missouri?”. The answer to this question is the Revised Statutes of Missouri, which contain most MO divorce laws.

Here are the basic rules that couples must follow according to divorce laws in Missouri:

  1. To file for divorce, one of the parties must have lived within the state for at least 90 days ( Rev. Stat. § 452.305.1).
  2. Spouses can get a divorce no earlier than 30 days after they submit documents to the court ( Rev. Stat. § 452.305.1).
  3. Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, so the grounds for divorce can be the fact that the marriage is irretrievably broken ( Rev. Stat. § 452.305.2).
  4. If one of the parties denies the irretrievable breakdown as a reason for divorce, the spouse can name and prove other grounds in court; these can be adultery, intolerable behavior, abandonment for 6 months or more, living separately for 12 months if both parties agree to the divorce or 24 months if one party disagrees ( Rev. Stat. § 452.320).
  5. Couples can file for a legal separation in Missouri in some cases, but it is not required for spouses who want to initiate a divorce. If the judge issued a judgment of legal separation, the court may convert it to a judgment of dissolution of marriage after 90 days ( Rev. Stat. § 452.360).
  6. When awarding custody of minor children, the court will be guided by the best interests of the child. The judge will consider the physical and psychological health of parents and children, the relationship between family members, etc. ( Rev. Stat. § 452.375).
  7. Marital property in Missouri is divided during a divorce by agreement of the parties or by the court based on equitable distribution. When making a decision, the judge will pay attention to the financial status of both spouses, child custody arrangements, the behavior of the spouses during the marriage, etc. ( Rev. Stat. § 452.330).
  8. If one of the spouses has significant reasons, the judge can order the other party to pay alimony to support the standard of living the requesting spouse used to have in a marriage; the court will analyze the income of the parties, their age, health, and other factors ( Rev. Stat. § 452.335).


Missouri is a no-fault state, meaning you do not have to prove the fault of the other party to get a divorce. However, if one of the spouses does not recognize that their marriage is irretrievably broken, they can name adultery, insufferable behavior, abandonment for 6 months, etc., as the grounds for their divorce if they can prove it in court.

Missouri is an equitable distribution state; this means that a judge will divide the property of spouses based on the fairness principle, which is not always 50/50.

In Missouri, spouses are not required to live separately for a specific period before filing for divorce.

Couples can get an annulment only in certain situations, for example, if it turns out that one of the spouses was officially married to another person when the new marriage was registered. Annulment declares that a marriage has never existed. It is better to consult a professional family law attorney who will help you determine if it can be an option in your case and navigate this complicated legal process.


We are not attorneys and cannot give legal advice. The information provided on the website or by the support team cannot be considered as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created by any use of this site or its contents, or by any communication facilitated by the site. The purpose of our service is providing legal forms for uncontested divorces only. If you believe you need lawyer’s help, it is best to get it.