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Grounds For Divorce In Missouri

Rundberg Law, LLC Oct. 18, 2023

Wife removing ring from hand after argument with husbandDivorce is among the possible options to dissolve a marital union legally. In the state of Missouri, the requesting spouse may be eligible to seek either a no-fault or fault-based divorce, based on certain conditions. In a no-fault divorce, the spouse seeking the divorce doesn't need to show that their estranged partner's action caused the marriage breakdown. In a fault-based divorce, the requesting spouse must provide evidence that the other party's actions led to the divorce. 

At Rundberg Law, LLC, I'm dedicated to offering knowledgeable and personalized legal counsel to clients in divorce-related matters. As a practiced family law attorney, I can tell you about the grounds for divorce in the state of Missouri, help file your petition, and guide you through the marital dissolution process. My firm proudly serves clients across Overland Park and Johnson County, Kansas. 

Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is a type of divorce where the requesting spouse isn't required by the court to state the reason for the marriage breakdown. In most no-fault divorces, the requesting spouse may simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no chance for reconciliation. Also, you can get a no-fault divorce without your partner's consent or approval. 

Conversely, a fault divorce is a type of divorce where the court requires the requesting spouse to state the specific reason or show evidence that the estranged partner's actions resulted in the marital breakdown. Common examples of faults that may result in a divorce include adultery, abandonment, insanity, incarceration, drug abuse, domestic violence, and cruel treatment. However, the other spouse can prevent a fault-based divorce by disputing the allegations for the divorce. 

Grounds for Divorce in Missouri

Missouri is a "no-fault" divorce state. As mentioned earlier, this means that there is no need for the requesting spouse to provide a reason for the marital breakdown or divorce. In a no-fault divorce in the state of Missouri, the spouse seeking the divorce only needs to state that the marriage is "irretrievably broken," and there is no chance for a reconciliation. Although, there are specific situations where the Missouri court may consider fault when requesting a divorce. 

Circumstances When Court May Take Fault into Account

At times, the other spouse may deny under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In such cases, the Missouri court may schedule a divorce hearing to consider fault. During the hearing, you (the requesting spouse or petitioner) must show one or more of the facts below: 

  • The respondent (your estranged spouse) abandoned you for at least six (6) consecutive months before you filed the divorce petition. 

  • Your estranged spouse has committed adultery, and you can't tolerate living with them. 

  • Your estranged partner has behaved in a way that you can't reasonably be expected to live with them. 

  • You and your estranged spouse have lived separate and apart based on a mutual agreement for at least twelve (12) continuous months before filing for divorce. 

  • You and your estranged partner have lived separate and apart for at least twenty-four (24) straight months consecutively before filing for divorce (Missouri Statutes Section 452.320). 

If you can successfully establish at least one of the facts above, the judge may grant a fault-based divorce in Missouri. An experienced attorney can evaluate all of the surrounding facts of your personal situation, help you decide the ideal option to choose, and represent you diligently in your divorce case. 

Knowing Which One to Choose

When trying to decide between fault and no-fault divorce, here are some things to consider: 

  • How long it will take to get the divorce

  • The expenses involved in getting a divorce

  • Whether you want to seek an uncontested divorce

  • Whether fault will be considered when awarding alimony

  • Whether you want to bypass the required waiting period

  • Whether fault will be considered when dividing marital assets

  • Emotional reasons – to seek closure or reassurance

A dedicated divorce lawyer can inform you about the benefits and drawbacks of no-fault and fault-based divorce and help determine the right one for your situation. 

Filing for Divorce

In order to get a divorce in Missouri, at least one party – you or your spouse – must have lived in the state for at least ninety (90) days before filing the divorce petition. Also, there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period after filing for a divorce petition before the Missouri court can grant the divorce. 

Find Your Best Path Forward

Filing for divorce in Missouri often involves a lot of complicated procedures and paperwork. At Rundberg Law, LLC, I'm ready and poised to advise and guide clients through the complexities of divorce. Using my extensive knowledge, I can help determine the right kind of divorce for you, negotiate a fair divorce settlement, divide marital assets, and establish alimony and child custody arrangements. Also, I will work diligently with all parties involved to settle other divorce issues amicably and quickly. 

Contact me at Rundberg Law, LLC, to schedule a simple case evaluation with a dedicated family law attorney. I can offer you the highly-personalized legal counsel and trusted advocacy you need to navigate crucial decisions in your divorce matters. My firm proudly serves clients across Overland Park and Johnson County, Kansas.