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Divorce in Missouri

For many people, the decision to get a divorce is a difficult one to make. But if you have reached the point where you want to end your marriage, chances are you want to get the process over and done with as quickly as possible. Missouri makes it fairly easy to divorce if you and your spouse are in agreement about ending the marriage. You may even qualify to divorce with the need for a lawyer. In this instance, once you complete the required divorce papers in Missouri, you can submit them to the county court in your area to start the divorce process.

Using an online divorce paper preparation service like CompleteCase.com can make the process even easier, helping you ensure that you are submitting the right divorce forms and that they are filled out correctly to prevent any unnecessary delays.

Read on to learn more about filing for divorce in Missouri, and how you can begin your own divorce process.

Missouri Divorce Facts

In 2011, According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the divorce rate in Missouri was 3.9 for every 1,000 residents. Compared to other states in the US, Missouri's divorce rate sits in the middle – higher than many states, lower than a number of other states.

The term that Missouri uses for divorce is “dissolution of marriage”. As the spouse seeking divorce, you will be referred to as the “petitioner”, while your spouse will be referred to as the “respondent”. Understanding these terms will be helpful when you are filling out all the various divorce papers that are required to proceed with the divorce.

Missouri requires that either you or your spouse have been a resident in the state for at least 90 days before you file for divorce. You and your spouse will also need to read or watch a video for Missouri's “litigant awareness program”. You will need to submit a certificate of completion for this program with your divorce documents.

Missouri is a no fault divorce state. In a no fault divorce, you do not have to prove that one spouse is responsible for the divorce. You only have to state that the marriage is 'irretrievably broken”.

Missouri Divorce Papers and Forms

To file for divorce in Missouri, you need to submit a “Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage”, along with any other divorce papers that are required for your specific circumstances. The Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage is the main divorce document. In this form you will provide information on you and your spouse, as well as your reason for getting a divorce.

If you have children, you will need to complete a parenting plan and a form that details all of the custody decisions that you and your spouse agree on. Ideally, you and your spouse will agree on everything and you can submit the form together. If you do not agree, you can both submit a parenting plan. Keep in mind, if you both submit a parenting plan, it will be the judge who decides the final terms of custody. Usually it is more satisfying for both spouses to come to an agreement together, rather than have the judge make these decisions.

You can find forms for filing for divorce on the Missouri courts website under “Representing Yourself”. Understand that the online divorce documents you get from the Missouri court site will require you to submit a lot of detailed information. Failure to fill out the appropriate forms for your circumstances, or failing to fill out the forms correctly, can cause substantial delays in the divorce.

You will also need to submit a “Confidential Case Filing Information Sheet” with your divorce documents.

Many people find it easier and faster to get their divorce forms online from from CompleteCase.com. At CompleteCase.com, you will be guided through the form selection process, and the form completion process. You will know that you are submitting every form that is needed for your divorce, and that you are filling these forms out correctly. Start your Missouri divorce papers today.

How to File Divorce Papers in Missouri

Missouri requires that you submit your divorce papers to the county court where you or your spouse have been a resident for at least 90 days. If you are unsure about which court to go to, you can find the information on the Circuit Courts of Missouri page of the Missouri Courts website.

When you have found the appropriate court, you can take your divorce forms to the county clerk and submit them. Make sure you make copies of the documents before you submit them. You will need copies to serve to your spouse.

The completed forms must be notarized by a notary public before they will be accepted. Many banks offer notary services. The court where you submit the documents may also have a notary available.

The cost for filing your petition will vary depending on the court. Some courts list their fees online while others do not. You can always call the county clerk at your local court to ask for the fee schedule before you submit the paperwork.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in Missouri

Missouri requires that you serve your spouse copies of your divorce paperwork. If your spouse is willing, he or she can fill out a “Waiver of Personal Service”. This form must be completed, notarized and submitted to the court by your spouse.

Typically, divorce papers are served using a sheriff, who will serve your spouse for a fee. You can also hire a private process server to do the same, although the cost is usually higher. With a private process server, you pay more, but your spouse will usually be served more quickly than with the sheriff.

If there is no way to determine where your spouse is located, the court will give you permission to publish a notice of the divorce in a local newspaper. If this is the situation you find yourself in, the Missouri Courts advise that you speak to an attorney, as choosing this route of service can affect your ability to collect child support and maintenance.

Do you qualify for an online divorce?

Do you know the location of your spouse?
Is your spouse in agreement regarding this divorce and willing to sign the divorce papers with you?
Do you and your spouse have any children under the age of 18 from this marriage?