Divorce is stressful and the pressure increases with the lack of information on legal procedures. The Missouri laws term a divorce as the dissolution of a marriage. In this “modified no-fault state,” the only underlying reason for divorce is identified as irreconcilable differences between the husband and wife.
However, the conduct of the parties involved also plays an important role in the final decision of the court.
Here, we have consolidated a few important factors that influence the divorce proceedings in St. Louis.
What Are the Conditions to File for Divorce in St. Louis?
A dissolution of marriage can be filed in the State of Missouri if either of the parties involved has been a resident of the state for at least 90 days. The divorce can be filed with the Circuit Court in the county where any one of the parties resides.
How to File for Divorce?
The simplest procedure is an uncontested divorce using a joint petition for the Dissolution of Marriage. This is when you and your spouse file for divorce after agreeing upon the various aspects of the divorce. You may initiate this process by filing a joint petition with supporting documents like:
- Certificate of dissolution
- Petition for dissolution of marriage
- Income and expense statement
- Property statement
- Parenting plan
You and your spouse will need to attend a court hearing and if the judge finds all the paperwork in order, he may agree to enter the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
What Are the Grounds of Issuing a Divorce?
The State of Missouri has a no-fault ground for dissolution. This means the couple will need to mention in the divorce petition that the marriage is irretrievably broken without any likelihood for it to be preserved. But if denied, the petitioner will need to prove one or many of the following facts in court:
- The intolerable condition to continue living with the spouse due to his/her actions of adultery
- Inability to live with the spouse due to his/her behavior
- If anyone of the parties has been abandoned for six continuous months before filing for divorce
- If you and your spouse have separated by mutual consent and lived apart for at least 12 months before filing the divorce
- If you and your spouse have lived separately without mutual consent for 24 months before filing the divorce
The judge may need up to 30 days to evaluate your case. He/she may also recommend counseling. The final judgment may be provided without further investigation or proof.
How Is Property Divided in St. Louis Divorces?
The parties are allowed to keep their non-marital property with themselves. This includes property that is:
- Acquired before or after marriage as gift or inheritance
- Acquired in exchange for property earned before marriage or by gift/inheritance
- Acquired by anyone of the parties as a result of a decree of legal separation
- Excluded from the marital property by a valid written agreement by the parties
All the other property owned by the couple is considered marital property. If an agreement from the parties is missing, the court may divide the property based on the following factors:
- The contribution of the parties in acquiring the marital property
- The economic conditions of the parties involved. This includes the desire of one party to help the other who is the custodian of children.
- The value of non-marital property each party owns
- The conduct of the parties during the marriage
- Custodial arrangements for minor children involved in the marriage
How Is Alimony Granted in a St. Louis Divorce?
Alimony is provided to a party if he/she:
- Does not have sufficient financial resources for his/her needs
- Is not able to self-support through employment/could not seek employment due to child custody
If the parties involved do not have an agreement in place, the judge will consider one or many of the below-mentioned factors before granting alimony.
- Financial resources of the party seeking alimony, his/her ability to be self-sufficient, and the need to include child support and a sum for the custodian
- The time required by the party in need of alimony to obtain training/education and find appropriate employment
- Earning capabilities of the parties involved
- Standard of living established during the marriage
- Specific obligations and assets of the parties concerned
- The total duration of the marriage
- Age, physical, and emotional state of the party requesting for alimony
- Conduct of the couple during the term of the marriage
- The capability of the paying party to support alimony while taking care of his/her own needs
How Is Child Support Determined in St. Louis?
Child support is determined in the State of Missouri by considering the following factors:
- The financial requirements and sources that may support the child
- Individual needs of the parties and available financial resources
- The standard of living the child may have experienced if the marriage had not ended
- Child’s education needs, physical, and emotional condition of the child
- Work-related child care expenses of individual parties
- Amount of time the child will spend with each parent and the expenses for these custody arrangements
How Does a Divorce Work with a Child?
Aspects involving child custody can be defined either separately by the parties or as a joint plan. This parenting plan should be submitted within 30 days after the respondent is served with the petition of divorce. This plan should include the following:
- Schedule that details the time each parent will spend with the child
- Plan about how decision-making rights will be shared
- Plan about sharing the child’s expenses
If a mutual agreement of child custody is not possible, the judge will decide issues related to child custody by considering the following factors:
- Individual opinions of the parties involved in parenting plans
- Ability and willingness to perform parental duties
- Nature/quality of the relationship of the child with the parent and siblings involved
- Child’s adjustment towards home, school, and community
- Mental and physical health of the parties involved
- The intention of the parties to relocate for the child
- Consent from the child
If you have filed for divorce or have received a petition, you should know and understand your options. Hiring an experienced St. Louis divorce mediation attorney will help you know the legal intricacies of the divorce process. He/she will be able to provide the best representation and fight for the most favorable outcomes regarding alimony and child custody on your behalf.
Divorce can be emotionally disruptive. The best way to deal with divorce proceedings is to seek legal help. A divorce attorney will be able to take charge of your representation in court, thereby giving you time to look after the other aspects of your life. Hopefully, the points mentioned above will provide you with a detailed view of the several aspects to be considered when filing for divorce in St. Louis.