April 12

Missouri Divorce FAQs: Answers for Navigating Your Separation


Divorce is a complex legal process, and navigating it can feel overwhelming, especially when emotions run high. If you're facing divorce in Missouri, the following can help answer some of your initial questions and guide you through a smoother process.

Residency Requirements and Grounds for Divorce

Q: How long do I need to live in Missouri to file for divorce?

A: Missouri requires residency for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. There's also a waiting period of 30 days after filing before the court can grant the divorce.

Q: What are the grounds for divorce in Missouri?

A: Missouri is a "no-fault" divorce state. This means you don't need to prove your spouse's fault (adultery, cruelty, etc.) to get a divorce. The only requirement is to demonstrate that the marriage is "irretrievably broken," meaning there's no reasonable chance of reconciliation.

Types of Divorce and Legal Representation

Q: What are my options for filing for divorce?

A: There are two main options:

  • Uncontested Divorce: This is the faster and cheaper option when both spouses agree on all aspects of the divorce, including property division, child custody (if applicable), and spousal support.
  • Contested Divorce: If you and your spouse disagree on any aspect, the process becomes more complex and requires court appearances.

Q: Do I need a lawyer for a divorce?

A: While it's not mandatory, having an experienced divorce attorney is highly recommended. They can guide you through the legal process, represent you in court if necessary, and protect your rights.

Financial Issues and Property Division

Q: How is marital property divided in Missouri?

A: Missouri follows equitable distribution, meaning marital property (assets and debts acquired during the marriage) is divided fairly, not necessarily equally, between the spouses. Factors like each spouse's contribution to the property acquisition, income, and needs are considered.

Q: What about separate property?

A: Assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance generally remain separate property and are not subject to division.

Q: How are debts handled in a divorce?

A: Debts incurred during the marriage are also considered marital debt and are divided equitably along with assets. Separate debts (pre-marital or individual credit cards) may be treated differently.

Child Custody and Support

Q: How is child custody determined?

A: The court prioritizes the "best interests of the child" when determining custody arrangements. This involves considering factors like the child's age, relationship with each parent, living situation, and stability. There are two main custody options:

  • Sole Custody: One parent has primary physical custody, and the other has visitation rights.
  • Joint Custody: Both parents share physical and decision-making responsibility for the child. 

Q: How is child support calculated?

A: Missouri uses child support guidelines that consider both parents' income and the number of children. These guidelines provide a starting point, but the court can deviate based on specific circumstances.

Spousal Support (Alimony)

Q: What is spousal support, and how is it determined?

A: Spousal support (alimony) is financial assistance paid from one spouse to the other after the divorce. The court considers factors like the length of the marriage, income disparity, and each spouse's earning capacity when determining eligibility and amount.

Additional Considerations

Q: What happens to retirement accounts?

A: Retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage are generally considered marital property. The court may order a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide these assets.

Q: What about taxes?

A: Tax implications can accompany divorce settlements, such as property division and alimony payments. It is recommended that you consult a tax advisor.

Q: How long does a divorce typically take?

A: Uncontested divorces can be finalized in a few months, while contested cases can take much longer, depending on the complexity of the issues and the court's backlog.

Finding Help and Resources

Q: Where can I find more information and resources?

A: The Missouri Bar Association (https://mobar.org/) website offers resources and referrals for legal services. You can also search for local legal aid organizations that assist low-income individuals.

Q: What about emotional support during a divorce?

A: Divorce can be emotionally challenging. Consider individual counseling or support groups to help you navigate the emotional aspects of separation.

Remember: This provides a general overview, and it's crucial to consult with an attorney specializing in family law for personalized advice specific to your situation. They can guide you through the legal process, represent you in court if necessary, and ensure your rights are protected.

Lecour Family Law Cares

At Lecour Family Law, we understand that going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. That's why we're here to help. Lecour Family Law is committed to guiding you through the complexities of the divorce process with empathy and understanding.

Our experienced divorce attorneys will take the time to listen to your unique situation and develop a strategic plan tailored to your goals and needs. We will be by your side every step of the way, advocating for your rights in and out of the courtroom.

We know that child custody, spousal support, and property division can be particularly difficult issues to navigate. That's why we offer expert advice and resources to help you achieve a fair and equitable outcome. Our goal is to protect your interests and ensure that your voice is heard throughout the divorce proceedings.

We understand that choosing the right divorce attorney is crucial to the outcome of your case. That's why we prioritize your well-being and fight for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a brighter future.

Lecour Family Law Is Here To Help

Are you facing legal issues related to divorce, child custody, parental relocation, or paternity in St. Charles, Missouri, and surrounding areas? Look no further than Lecour Family Law. Our experienced team of family law attorneys is dedicated to providing you with the representation you deserve. We understand the stress and emotional turmoil that can come with family law issues, which is why we work tirelessly to ensure your rights are protected and your needs are met. Don't face these challenges on your own – let us help. Contact us today at (636) 685-0440 to schedule a consultation and see how we can assist you.


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