Many couples find it difficult to sustain their marriage. This can be due to various different factors. However, if you think that it is time to part ways and live life separately, then Dissolution of Marriage is the only option. While the process can be a bit challenging, the right information and guidance can make it easier.
If both you and your partner consent to the separation, the divorce process can become more manageable. In Missouri, couples can apply for no-fault divorce, which is also called Dissolution of Marriage. For this, a couple can get separated without blaming each other for the situation or taking responsibility. All you have to do is to provide a statement that the marriage can’t be saved.
Requirements for Divorce
Couples from Missouri have to apply for divorce to get a complete dissolution, like every other state. However, there is an eligibility guideline that couples must comply with.
- The petitioner or the defendant must live in Missouri for at least 3 months (90 days).
- You must file for divorce in the country where either spouse resides.
Once the petition has been filed, you will have to wait for 1 month before the court provides the final decision for the case.
Grounds for a Divorce
Missouri is considered a modified no-fault state. As such, the court will not consider evidence of fault when granting a divorce. The only grounds of divorce accepted is “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.” Therefore, to apply for a no-fault uncontested divorce, you simply state the marriage is broken beyond repair without having to submit any proof that the relationship is over.
Though bad behavior such as cruelty, adultery, abuse, etc., can’t be used as separate grounds, they can be used as evidence that the marriage is broken and can play a part in how maintenance and custody/visitation is determined.
Quickest Way: Online Divorce Services
The process of getting a divorce can be extensively time-consuming and tiresome. The best way to avoid this is to opt for a DIY divorce. This option is most appropriate when you and your spouse are applying for the separation voluntarily and have agreed on all terms. It is a cost-effective and quicker solution for both sides. The process is quite similar to an uncontested divorce.
All necessary forms are available online on the official court websites. You can download them and complete them yourself, or you can use an online divorce service for all your paperwork preparation needs. The online service will have you do a questionnaire. Based on the answers you provide, they will select the proper divorce papers and complete them for you. Most sites make your completed documents available electronically in around two days and provide you with filing instructions. After filing these forms with the court, you will have to serve a copy to your spouse.
For couples with a busy lifestyle or poor financial condition, applying for divorce online can be a savior. You will not have to spend extra money on getting a legal advisor or attending hearings. Moreover, it is a great choice for couples planning on getting an uncontested divorce case. Following the right steps can help you in completing this process easily.
Child Custody: Another Requisite
A divorce is not just about two partners seeking marriage dissolution. It also affects their children, as they have to experience so many things at a tender age. Therefore, you must keep the following in mind:
- Without Children
Dissolution of Marriage for a couple with no children is comparatively less difficult or problematic. Furthermore, in this case, the partners need to communicate and cooperate in dissolving the situation. They do not have to worry about the effect of their separation on the children. Also, getting an online divorce will make the process quicker without attorneys and court involvement. However, property division is a significant concern in such cases.
- With Children
When the couple has children, they have to undergo the proper process of child custody and consultation. This topic should be discussed and planned thoroughly to make the separation easier for the child. The partners have to continually communicate with them to offer them complete support.
The main aim should be to make the divorce as stress-free as possible for the children. If the couple has a clear plan for custody and visitation, this phase becomes much faster and simpler. But, if they fail to make any decision, the court will take the decision-making into their hands. If the child is old enough, their opinion on the custody will be taken into consideration.
Steps to Get Started
Preparing the Divorce Paperwork
The first step in filing an online divorce is to collect the required documents. You can find them on the local court website along with lots of other useful information to improve your knowledge. If you don’t want to deal with the hassles of finding and completing the forms on your own, several third-party websites offer document preparation services at a low price. Regardless of which method you use for document preparation, it is essential to make sure they are filled out correctly. Any mistakes could result in the court rejecting the documents, forcing you to repeat the process. Therefore, consider having a divorce lawyer review your documents if you did them yourself. If using an online service for your document preparation, make sure you use a reliable site with a good reputation.
Filing the Forms
In Missouri, couples can file their divorce papers in the local Circuit Courts. Since the state has 45 regional circuit courts, you will have to pick the one closest to you.
The following is a quick list of forms that you are likely to encounter in your divorce:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: By filling this form out, you will assure that your marriage is “broken irretrievably” with no expectation of reconciliation. The form covers required information about the children, the residence of the spouse and petitioner, and more. You will also have to include child custody related arrangements.
- Answer to the Petition of Dissolution: The respondent files this to answer the divorce filed by their partner. The form will allow them to present their side of the case, including their agreement to the grounds of divorce.
- Missouri Department of Health Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage: This particular form is for the record-keeping purposes of the legal bodies.
- Income and Expenses Statement: The form includes every detail about the income and expenses of the spouses.
- Property and Debt Statement and Proposed Separation Agreement: In this form, you will have to provide every detail about the marital liabilities and assets. It will also cover the property division and alimony that the petitioner requests.
- Parenting Plan: As the name suggests, this form will contain information about the child custody and visitation and the support requirements of the couple.
- Family Court Filing Certificate: Further pending actions and statements related to your spouse should be included in this form.
- Judgment of Dissolution: This is one of the most important documents in the divorce process. Once the judge signs this, after the final hearing, it will automatically dissolve your marriage.
If the partners disagree on child support, property division, and alimony matters, you might need a few extra forms.
Notifying Your Spouse
After filing the forms to initiate your case, you will have to provide the defendant with a copy of every form and document used for the application. You can either appoint the County Sheriff to serve your spouse or a Private Process Server.
The respondent will have to answer once the documents have been served. This is done to prove that they have received the documents and acknowledge the case. Their response must contain their approval or disagreement on the grounds of divorce, alimony, child custody, and other requisites.
Finalizing the Divorce
After the defendant’s response, there will be a mandatory 30-day waiting period before the court can grant the divorce. Couples with minor children might have to attend a parenting class if the court finds it fitting. If the couple still has disagreements about any aspects of the divorce, the could be additional hearing or mediation sessions, which will extend the length of the case.
It might require you to pay additional charges apart from the filing fees. In contested cases, it is recommended that you hire an attorney to protect your interests. Attorney fees can increase the divorce cost by several thousands of dollars. To save time and money, it is always best to reach an agreement before filing for divorce to make the process quick, clean, and affordable.
Getting an online divorce has become an easy task for any couple seeking a quick solution for their case. Couples from Missouri can also take advantage of this situation to get their marriage dissolved. The online divorce service will make the paperwork process easy. Furthermore, in getting DIY Divorce online, the couples can save lots of money by not hiring personal lawyers.