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Missouri Divorce Laws

When one or both parties in a marriage decide it is no longer working out, they may file a petition with the court to dissolve the marriage. This is commonly called divorce. All states have their own laws and procedures for divorce proceedings, which may differ from one another in a few subtle ways (such as waiting periods and legal grounds for divorce).

This article provides a brief overview of divorce laws in the state of Missouri.

Missouri Divorce Laws: At a Glance

In Missouri, legal requirements for divorce include residency in the state for at least 90 days. Also, as a no-fault state (as all 50 states are), there is no need to prove fault in order to be granted a divorce. However, the court may consider (but is not limited to) any of the following when deciding whether the marriage should be dissolved:

  • Spouse committed adultery (and it is not an "open" relationship)
  • One spouse is unable to tolerate the behavior of the other spouse
  • The couple lived apart for at least 24 months (12 months if both parties agree) before the divorce was filed
  • You were abandoned by your spouse for six or more continuous months prior to the divorce filing

Some details about Missouri's divorce laws are listed below. See FindLaw's Divorce section for more articles, sample forms, and state-specific information.

Code Section

Chap. 452 of the Missouri Revised Statutes

Residency Requirements

Either party must be a resident for 90 days

Waiting Period

Final when entered, subject to appeal. The court's order of distribution of marital property is not subject to modification

'No-Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Irretrievable breakdown

Defenses to a Divorce Filing


Other Grounds for Divorce

It is not necessary to prove fault, only that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the court decides that the marriage still has a chance at working, it will grant a legal separation

If the defendant spouse denies the marriage is irretrievably broken, the plaintiff may choose to prove acts of adultery, abuse, or other factors that would help the court make a proper decision on the matter

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Missouri Divorce Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About Missouri Divorce Laws from a Lawyer

If you're getting divorced, you will undoubtedly have a lot on your plate, especially if there are child custody matters to resolve. Help ease your burden by contacting a divorce attorney in Missouri who will work hard to protect your interests and ensure the best outcome possible.

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