Sometimes a marriage just does not work out. It could be the fault of one spouse but more often it is both of spouses that are no longer a good fit. A marriage could break down over time or it could be traced to a singular event. Whatever the reason for deciding to get a divorce, the spouse filing for divorce should not have to stay in a marriage once that marriage is broken.
No fault divorce in Missouri allows either spouse to file for and obtain a divorce without needing the permission or consent of the other spouse. If you want to file for divorce in Missouri, talk to your experienced family law attorney to make sure you are prepared to protect your rights. If you need experienced representation for any family legal issues in the Cass County area, contact the Higher Level Legal Law Firm today at 816-331-9968.
Missouri is a No-Fault Divorce State
Missouri is a no-fault divorce state. This means that one spouse can file for divorce for any reason or for no specific reason. A spouse does not have to wait out a specific waiting period and does not have to prove that the spouse committed some form of misconduct during the marriage.
Filing for divorce generally requires that at least one party is a resident of the State of Missouri for at least 90 days. A divorce filing in Missouri begins with the Petition of Dissolution of Marriage.
Reason For Filing for Divorce
The divorce petition does not require entering a specific reason for filing for divorce. The standard form only has a couple of questions about the future of the marriage:
- Is there any reasonable likelihood that your marriage can be preserved?
- Is your marriage irretrievably broken?
If both parties state that the marriage is irretrievably broken or neither spouse denies it, the court can make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken and enter an order of dissolution of marriage. However, it can delay the divorce if one spouse claims the divorce is not broken.
One Spouse Denies the Marriage is Broken
Under Missouri Revised Statute § 452.320.2, “if one of the parties has denied under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to the filing of the petition and the prospect of reconciliation. ”
Factors in determining whether the marriage is broken and the divorce should be granted include:
- That the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;
- That the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;
- That the respondent has abandoned the petitioner for a continuous period of at least six months preceding the presentation of the petition;
- That the parties to the marriage have lived separate and apart by mutual consent for a continuous period of twelve months immediately preceding the filing of the petition; or
- That the parties to the marriage have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least twenty-four months preceding the filing of the petition.
Alternatively, the court can put off the decision for a period of 30 days to 6 months, and then reconsider the matter. During this time, the court may suggest the parties to seek counseling.
Historical Requirements for Divorce
In the past, getting a divorce was a lot more complicated, especially when one spouse did not agree to the divorce. A spouse may have to meet certain requirements or show that the other spouse did something wrong before the court would grant a divorce. This left a lot of unhappy couples waiting out marriages or living separately while still legally married.
Some of the historic requirements for a divorce in different states included showing:
- Adultery or marital misconduct,
- Excessive drug or alcohol use, or
- Criminal imprisonment.
Over the 1970s and 1980s, many states began changing their divorce laws to allow for divorce based on the marriage being irretrievably broken, even if it was not the fault of any one spouse. Now, like Missouri, most states are considered “no-fault” divorce states.
Filing for Divorce in Missouri
If you want a divorce in Missouri but your spouse does not, they can generally only delay the process but not stop you from getting divorced. If you have any questions about divorce in Missouri, contact the Higher Level Legal Law Firm in Raymore today. Contact us online or by calling (816) 331-9968.