Monday, February 7, 2011

Missouri Divorce Laws

The parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least 24 months before filing.

[Based on Missouri revised statutes, section 452.305.1 and 452320]


A legal separation may be granted for the same reasons as a dissolution of marriage. In a legal separation, the Court may make the arrangements for the custody and support of every child, the maintenance of a spouse is and disposition of properties. The parties may also reach a mutual agreement on the maintenance of the spouses, the Division of any property owned by one of them and the care, support and Visitation of their children. Custody, child support and visitation is subject to change. [Based on Missouri revised statutes, section 452.305.1 and 452.325.1]


When children are involved, the Court may order counselling for children. The Court may also order the parties to participate in the mediation to resolve any issues in dispute, except in cases of uncontested case or if there is a finding of domestic abuse. [Based on Missouri revised statutes, section 452318 and 452372]


Missouri was a fair distribution, that is, if the parties cannot reach agreement on the Division of matrimonial assets, the Court will distribute your property and liabilities in a fair, but not necessarily equal fashion. The Court will take the following factors into account when making the decision: the economic situation of each spouse, including the appropriateness of allocating the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods for a spouse having custody of children. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker. The value of non-marital property are characterized by each spouse. The conduct of the parties during the marriage. Custodial agreements for minor children.

Property not subject to Division is considered to be separate property and includes:

Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent. Assets acquired in return of property acquired before marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise or descent. Property acquired after a decree of legal separation. Property excluded from a valid written agreement of the parties. Increasing the value of the property acquired before marriage, unless the marital property, including work, contributed to this increase and then only to the extent such contributions.

[Based on Missouri revised statutes, section 452330]


Maintenance can be assigned to each spouse, if the Court finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, provide its reasonable needs and is able to support herself through appropriate employment is the guardian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the guardian is not required to seek employment outside the home. In awarding the duration and the amount of maintenance, the Court takes into account all relevant factors, including:

The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including the marital property is assigned to him and his ability to meet its needs independently, including provisions for the support of the child to that party as the guardian; The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to find suitable employment; The comparative earning ability of each spouse; The standard of living established during the marriage; Obligations and resources of each of the parties; The duration of the marriage; The age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; The ability of the spouse required to meet its needs and the needs of the spouse seeking maintenance; The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and other factors that the Court considers relevant.

Remarriage of the spouse receiving maintenance exempts the other spouse from the obligation to pay cheques. [Based on Missouri revised statutes, sections 452075 and 452335]


Although there is no specific statute that addresses the change of a name of spouses as part of a petition for dissolution of marriage, a person may petition the circuit court for a change of name. The petition shall set forth the full name of the signer, the desired new name and a concise statement of the reason for requesting the change. The Court will grant that the change of name if that judge is satisfied that the change you want would be incorrect and not detrimental to the interests of any other person. [Based on Missouri revised statutes, section 527270]

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