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How Does Divorce Work Across State Lines?

March 16, 2021

Rings on a broken paper hearDivorce or dissolution of marriage is difficult enough when the couple is living in the same house or the same town. It is all the more challenging if you and your spouse are not living in the same state. If you are living in different states, how will that affect the process?

Living in different states does not mean that you are unable to get a divorce, but it does affect where a divorce is filed and which state’s laws will govern the process.

At Rundberg Law, LLC, Ron Rundberg represents clients in both Kansas and Missouri, including Johnson County, Kansas, and Jackson County, Missouri. Divorce across state lines is fairly common in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The following is a summary of how divorce works across state lines.

Divorce/Dissolution Jurisdiction

Kansas uses the term "divorce" when one spouse no longer wants to be married. Missouri has decided that "dissolution of marriage" is less painful. When filing for divorce/ dissolution of marriage, at least one spouse must meet the residency requirements of the state in which the divorce/dissolution petition is being filed. In Kansas, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 60 days prior to filing. In Missouri, the residency requirement is 90 days.

Child Custody Jurisdiction

Both Kansas and Missouri have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. Although there are exceptions, the child must have resided in the state where the case was filed for at least six months.

Jurisdiction for Division
of Assets and Liabilities

Either state will have jurisdiction to divide assets and liabilities located in the state. For a court to have jurisdiction to divide assets and liabilities outside of the state, the couple must have resided together in the state.

Both Kansas and Missouri are equitable property division states. This means that assets and liabilities are not automatically divided 50/50 or “equally,” but instead are divided fairly or “equitably,” based on certain factors.

In Kansas the factors to be considered in the division of property include the following:

  1. Each spouse's age;

  2. The length of the marriage;

  3. Each spouse's present and future earning capacity;

  4. Each spouse's separate property;

  5. How and when the spouses acquired property;

  6. Each spouse's family responsibilities or ties;

  7. Whether a spouse is receiving maintenance (alimony);

  8. Either spouse's dissipation of assets; and

  9. Any tax consequences of the property division.

In Missouri, the following factors are considered in the division of property:

  1. The economic circumstances of each spouse;

  2. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.

  3. The value of any non-marital property set aside to each spouse;

  4. The conduct, or misconduct of the parties during the marriage; and

  5. The custody arrangements for any minor children.


Both Kansas and Missouri refer to spousal support as maintenance. Maintenance is what many people think of as alimony. The factors in determining whether or not maintenance will be paid are very different in Kansas and Missouri. In Kansas, the standard is simply the need for one spouse to receive maintenance compared to the other spouse's ability to pay maintenance. In Missouri, the standard is as follows:

  1. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance;

  2. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;

  3. The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;

  4. The standard of living established during the marriage;

  5. The obligations and assets apportioned to each party, including the separate property of each party;

  6. The duration of the marriage;

  7. The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

  8. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;

  9. The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and

  10. Any other relevant factors.

Experienced Divorce Attorney
in Kansas and Missouri

If you are considering divorce or dissolution of marriage, you need to talk to an experienced family law attorney about the advantages and disadvantages of filing for divorce in one state over another.

At Rundberg Law, LLC, Ron Rundberg has helped hundreds of clients in both Kansas and Missouri resolve the issues related to their marriage. Ron represents clients in counties throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. He can answer your questions about both Kansas and Missouri family law so that you can decide how filing in either state can affect your life after divorce or dissolution of marriage.

If you think you want to proceed with a divorce or dissolution of marriage, you need to know where your case should be filed. Don’t wait. Call me today.