Missouri is a mixed state regarding the grounds for divorce. You can file for divorce in Missouri using No-Fault or Fault grounds. A No-Fault ground for divorce is that there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved and that therefore the marriage is irretrievably broken.

If the defendant denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the plaintiff must prove one or more of the following: the respondent committed adultery and to continue the marriage would be intolerable; the respondent has behaved in such a way that continuing the marriage would be intolerable; the respondent abandoned the petitioner for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition; that the parties have lived separate and apart by mutual consent for at least 12 months prior to filing; or that the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least 24 months before filing.

Missouri divorce law also allows for legal separation on the same grounds as a divorce, but neither party is allowed to remarry. The court will also decide issues of child support, custody, visitation, and separate maintenance with a petition for legal separation.

Residency requirements for filing a divorce in Missouri are that one of the parties must have resided in the state for three months or 90 days.

Custody of children in Missouri divorces is determined by the best interest of the child standard. The court assumes that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain contact with both parents. Custody is usually given to the primary caregiver in cases involving young children; however, it is no longer true that the wife always gets custody of the children when they are older. Missouri law also requires mediation or counseling to lessen the impact of the divorce on minor children.

Missouri like every state in the union requires that both parents provide financial support for the child. The court attempts to maintain the standard of living the child enjoyed during the marriage. This is based on the notion that the child is the innocent party during a divorce and should not suffer because the parents can no longer maintain their relationship. The amount is determined by a formula that calculates the earning potential of each spouse.

Missouri is a community property state in determining marital assets, as opposed to dividing property on an equitable division basis. Community property means that all assets of the marital estate regardless of who earned them, the amount earned or the amount either spouse contributed to the estate are marital property if earned during the course of marriage. All marital assets are divided 50/50 between the spouses.


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