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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

How Long Do I Have to Live in Missouri to File for Dissolution of Marriage?

A:

In order for a dissolution of marriage action to be filed in Missouri, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the State of Missouri for at least 90 days prior to filing the dissolution petition. A dissolution action must be filed in the county in which one of the spouses resides. Missouri law does not require that either party continue to live in Missouri after the filing of the dissolution petition, although it may be advisable.

Q:

How Long Does a Kansas Divorce Take?

A:

Unless the judge determines there is an emergency, there is a minimum 60-day waiting period for a divorce to be granted. How long your divorce will actually take depends on how long it takes to resolve all issues with your spouse. Contested divorces often take 12 months or more to finalize, when a trial is necessary.

Q:

How Long Do I Have to Live in Kansas to File for Divorce?

A:

In order for a divorce action to be filed in Kansas, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the State of Kansas for at least 60 days prior to filing the petition for divorce. Typically, a divorce action is filed in the county in which either spouse resides. Kansas law does not require that either party continue to live in Kansas after the filing of the petition for divorce, although it may be advisable.

Q:

How Long Does a Missouri Dissolution Take?

A:

There is a minimum 30-day waiting period for a Missouri dissolution of marriage to be granted. How long your dissolution will actually take depends on how long it takes to resolve all issues with your spouse. Contested dissolutions can often take 12 months or more to finalize, when a trial is necessary.

Q:

What if My Spouse or I Don’t Want a Divorce/Dissolution?

A:

Kansas is a “no fault” state, which means incompatibility is usually the grounds for divorce. Incompatibility means the relationship is broken to a point that on one of the spouses does not want to be married any longer. This means the divorce will be granted even though the other spouse does not want a divorce or thinks the couple’s problems can be worked out.

In Missouri, if your spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, you must prove on of the following:

  • Your spouse committed adultery and you cannot live with your spouse;

  • Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot live with your spouse;

  • Your spouse has abandoned you for at least six months prior to the dissolution being filed;

  • You and your spouse have agreed to live separately and have done so for at least 12 months prior to the dissolution being filed; or

  • You and your spouse have lived separately for at least 24 months prior to the dissolution being filed.

Q:

Do I Have to Physically Separate From My Spouse to file for Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage?

A:

Kansas law does not require that married persons be physically separated prior to filing for divorce.

In Missouri, you do not have to be physically separated if your spouse does not dispute that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If your spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, the dissolution of marriage can still be granted if your spouse has abandoned you for at least six continuous months, you and your spouse have agreed to live separately and have done so for at least 12 months, or you and your spouse have lived separately for at least 24 months.

Q:

What is an Uncontested Divorce/Dissolution?

A:

An uncontested divorce/dissolution is a court action where the spouses have already finalized a written agreement on how everything related to the marriage should be settled. Issues that must be settled include maintenance, division of assets/liabilities, what assets are not marital assets, legal custody, parenting time, and child support. If you and your spouse have not finalized a written agreement, the divorce/dissolution is not uncontested just because both parties agree that the marriage should be terminated.

Q:

What is an Annulment?

A:

In Kansas, a marriage can be annulled if the marriage is either void or voidable. A marriage cannot be annulled merely because the spouses have only been married for a short time. Likewise, a marriage cannot be annulled because one or both spouses decide the marriage is not what they expected or that it was a mistake. If an annulment is granted, legally it is as if the marriage never occurred.

A void marriage is a marriage that was prohibited by the laws of the state where the couple was married. Examples of a void marriage are marriages where the couple is too closely related (first cousins or closer) or when one spouse is still married to another person. Kansas courts must grant the annulment of a void marriage.A voidable marriage is a marriage that may be invalidated by one of the spouses because of some undisclosed material fact that existed at the time of the marriage. Examples of voidable marriages include those in which one or both spouses did not know a material fact that existed when they were married and would have led them to not enter into the marriage it they had known (mistake of fact), or when a spouse entered into the marriage based on a fraudulent misrepresentation. If a marriage is voidable, a Kansas court may, but is not required to grant an annulment.

In Missouri, an annulment will only be granted under limited circumstances. First, the marriage generally must be of very sort duration and produce not children. Second, the marriage must have been entered into based on a material misrepresentation by the other spouse regarding an essential core of the marital relationship. Missouri courts have recognized several common types of fraud including concealing a medical condition, misrepresenting the ability to consummate the marriage, and even lying that you were about to be released from prison. It must be proven that the spouse made the misrepresentation knowing it was false, the intentional misrepresentation was made for the purpose inducting the other person to marry, and that the marriage would not have taken place if the misrepresentation was known.

Q:

What is a Common Law Marriage?

A:

Kansas is one of only a few states that allows people to become married at common law. However, all states recognize a common law marriage entered into in another state. There is no such thing as a common law divorce. A couple who has a common law marriage can only be divorced in a court action.

In Kansas, a common law marriage is valid if:

  • The couple is of sufficient age and mental capacity (18 years old and understands what it means to be married);

  • The couple has a current intent to be married (not an intent to be married in the future); and

  • The couple holds themselves out to the public as being married (they don’t keep the marriage a secret).

Missouri does not allow people to become married at common law.

Q:

What are the Grounds for Dissolution/Divorce in Missouri?

A:

In Missouri, a dissolution/divorce may be granted based that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and the relationship cannot be saved. However, fault (including dissipation of marital assets, improperly increasing marital debt, and extramarital affairs) can be factors considered by the court in deciding other issues including maintenance and division of marital assets.

In Missouri, if your spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, you will have to prove one of the following:

  • Your spouse committed adultery and you cannot live with your spouse;

  • Your spouse has behaved in such a way that you cannot live with your spouse;

  • You and your spouse have agreed to live separately and have done so for at least 12 months prior to the dissolution being filed; or

  • You and your spouse have lived separately for at least 24 months prior to the dissolution being filed.