Missouri Divorce Procedures

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Preparation is extremely necessary while implementing any final decision. The decision may be regarding your career, education, job or marriage. However, you must try hard to make good preparations that will yield good results for you. Divorce is an important decision that affects your life in many ways. If you choose divorce as the only way to end your marriage, you must start preparing for the court proceedings, and knowing the divorce procedures of your state should be the very first step of your preparation. Similarly when you are willing to go for a divorce in Missouri, you must learn about some Missouri divorce tips.

For a successful divorce, you must identify the critical areas of your case. Then you must know what the processes for a contested or an uncontested divorce are, requirements like residential requirements, all the rules and laws regarding child support and child custody, alimony and distribution of property, etc. A divorce has so many factors to consider. You should know some, if not all the divorce processes that are relevant in your case. To help you in this pursuit, we are providing a list of important divorce processes prevalent in this state.

Some of the basic divorce proceedings from the time one files for a case till the time the divorce decree is signed are described here:

Getting started with Missouri Divorce Procedure

New Missouri Laws were made effective on 28th August 1998 as per which the divorce procedure in this state can be defined as follows.

  • A petition must be filed. This contains the following data
    • Who is the petitioner?
    • Who is the Respondent?
    • Location of their marriage
    • Other details regarding their circumstances
    • As per Section 452.310.2, this document must be signed by the petitioner and the signature must be notarized
  • In cases where minor children are involved, the petitioner has to file a parenting plan as per Section 452.310.7
  • A majority of counties in this state demand a Family Court information sheet also known as Form 17
  • The court issues a Summons. This is a document that intimates the Respondent that the divorce case has been initiated and provides the Respondent basic data regarding the case. A copy of all documents that have been filed in the court are forwarded to the Respondent as per Section 452.311
  • While filing the documents in the court, the Petitioner ought to disburse a filing fee. The circuit court wherein the case is filed sets local rules regarding the payment of this fee
  • As per Section 452.300, the divorce case should be filed by the Petitioner in the county wherein the Petitioner resides or in which the Respondent resides
  • On receiving the divorce documents, the Respondent is expected to file an Answer. In this Answer, the Respondent can deny or admit the issues mentioned in the petition
  • The Answer must bear the signature of the Respondent and this signature must be notarized
  • In cases where the Respondent fails to file an Answer, the court reserves the right to enter a default judgment
    • It is not practical to procure a money judgment in a default judgment. In other words, the Petitioner cannot get an order from the court as per which the Respondent has to pay the petitioner any money
    • If the Respondent defaults within the stipulated period, but approaches the court at a latter stage and requests that the default judgment should be neglected, it is very likely that the court may accept this request.
    • If the Respondent default but proves in the court that the Respondent was not at fault in the default, the court sets aside a default dissolution.

Missouri Divorce Procedure if the Respondent cannot be located

  • The service can be done by publication, or
  • A private investigator can be hired. In July 2004, such an investigator charged approximately 150 USD to locate the Respondent, or
  • The Petitioner can perform a records check on the Internet. This work can also be done by the Private investigator or an attorney

Divorce is also known as 'dissolution of marriage' in Missouri. During the divorce process, from the date when the divorce documents are served to the Respondent, the divorce needs at least 6 months for completion. This duration is increased if the case is a contested one.

Reading the Missouri divorce procedures will help you in preparing for the courtroom sessions. Focus on your rights and hire a lawyer who will avoid creating conflict of interests. This way you can win your case legally and easily.

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