How Long Does Divorce Take in Missouri?
Divorce is an emotional and complicated process, and one of the most frequently asked questions is, “How long will it take to get a divorce in Missouri?” The answer to this question is not straightforward, as the duration of a divorce case can vary depending on various factors. In this article, we will explore the timeline of a divorce in Missouri and some common FAQs related to the process.
Timeline of a Divorce in Missouri:
1. Filing the Petition: The divorce process begins with one spouse filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This legal document outlines the reasons for divorce and the desired resolutions regarding property division, child custody, and support. Once the petition is filed, the court assigns a case number and sets a hearing date.
2. Service of Process: After filing the petition, the other spouse must be served with a copy of the petition and a summons. This ensures that both parties are aware of the divorce proceedings. The non-filing spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition.
3. Discovery: The discovery phase allows both parties to gather and exchange relevant information, such as financial documents, property valuations, and any other evidence that may be important for the divorce settlement. This phase can vary in duration depending on the complexity of the case and the cooperation of both parties.
4. Negotiation and Mediation: In many cases, spouses try to reach a settlement agreement outside of court. This involves negotiation and mediation sessions, where both parties and their attorneys discuss and resolve the issues in a divorce. The duration of this phase depends on the willingness of both parties to cooperate and the complexity of the issues involved.
5. Trial: If the spouses are unable to reach a settlement agreement, the case proceeds to trial. During the trial, both parties present their arguments and evidence, and the judge makes the final decision regarding property division, child custody, and support. The duration of the trial varies depending on the complexity of the case and the court’s schedule.
6. Finalizing the Divorce: Once the trial is over, the judge issues a final judgment, which legally ends the marriage. The court then prepares the necessary paperwork, such as the divorce decree, to be signed by both parties and filed with the court. The time it takes to finalize the divorce can vary, but it typically ranges from a few weeks to a few months.
Q: Can I get a divorce without going to court in Missouri?
A: Yes, it is possible to get a divorce without going to court in Missouri. If both parties can reach a settlement agreement, they can submit a Joint Petition for Divorce along with the agreed-upon terms. The court will review the agreement and issue a divorce decree without the need for a trial.
Q: How long do I have to be a resident of Missouri before filing for divorce?
A: To file for divorce in Missouri, either spouse must be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing the petition.
Q: How long does it take to get a divorce if we have children?
A: The presence of children can complicate the divorce process, especially if child custody and support are contested. The duration of a divorce involving children can be longer due to the court’s focus on the best interests of the child. It is advisable to consult with an attorney to understand the specific factors that may affect the timeline.
Q: Can I remarry immediately after the divorce is finalized?
A: No, there is a mandatory 30-day waiting period in Missouri after the final judgment before either party can remarry.
In conclusion, the duration of a divorce in Missouri can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the willingness of both parties to cooperate, and the court’s schedule. While it is difficult to provide an exact timeline, understanding the general steps involved can help individuals navigate the process more effectively. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney is also crucial to ensure a smooth and timely divorce.