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How Long Does It Take To Get Divorce in Missouri


How Long Does It Take To Get Divorce in Missouri?

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process for all parties involved. One of the most common questions individuals have when contemplating divorce is how long the process will take. While the duration of a divorce can vary depending on various factors, understanding the general timeline can help manage expectations during this difficult time. In this article, we will explore the process of getting a divorce in Missouri and answer some frequently asked questions.

The Divorce Process in Missouri:

1. Filing the Petition: The divorce process begins with one spouse filing a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” with the local circuit court. The petitioner must provide a valid reason for seeking a divorce, which can be either “no-fault” or “fault-based,” such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment.

2. Serving the Petition: After filing the petition, the petitioner must serve a copy of the document to the other spouse. This can be done through a process server or by certified mail with return receipt requested. The respondent is then given a specific timeframe to respond to the petition.

3. Response and Counterpetition: The respondent has thirty days to file a response to the divorce petition. They can either agree with the terms outlined in the petition or file a counterpetition, stating their own terms for the divorce.

4. Discovery and Negotiation: Both parties engage in the process of discovery, which involves gathering information and documents related to the divorce. This includes financial records, property deeds, and other relevant materials. After the discovery phase, negotiations between the spouses and their respective attorneys may begin to reach a fair settlement agreement.

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5. Mediation: If the parties are unable to reach an agreement through negotiation, they may choose to engage in mediation. A neutral third-party mediator helps facilitate discussions and assists the couple in reaching a mutually acceptable resolution.

6. Trial and Judgment: If mediation fails, the case will proceed to trial. A judge will hear both sides’ arguments and make a final determination on the issues in dispute, such as division of assets, child custody, and alimony. Once the judge issues a judgment, the divorce becomes final.

How Long Does It Take To Get Divorce in Missouri?

The length of time it takes to complete a divorce in Missouri can vary depending on several factors, including:

1. Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce: An uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on all issues, can be finalized relatively quickly. In contrast, a contested divorce, where the couple is unable to agree on certain matters, can take significantly longer.

2. Complexity of Issues: The complexity of the issues at hand, such as child custody, property division, and alimony, can impact the duration of the divorce. Resolving these matters amicably can expedite the process.

3. Court’s Schedule: The availability of the court and the judge assigned to the case can also affect the timeline. Busy court dockets may result in delays, especially in heavily populated areas.

4. Legal Representation: Hiring experienced divorce attorneys can streamline the process and ensure that all legal requirements are met promptly. Attorneys can also help negotiate settlements and advocate for their clients’ best interests.

FAQs:

1. Can I get a divorce without my spouse’s consent in Missouri?
Yes, Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, which means that either spouse can seek a divorce without the other party’s consent. However, the other spouse must be properly served with the divorce petition.

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2. Is there a mandatory waiting period for divorce in Missouri?
Yes, Missouri requires a 30-day waiting period after filing the petition before the court can grant the divorce. This waiting period allows time for the respondent to respond to the petition or file a counterpetition.

3. How long does an uncontested divorce take in Missouri?
If both parties agree on all issues and there are no complications, an uncontested divorce can be finalized as early as 30 days after filing the petition.

4. Can the divorce process be expedited in Missouri?
In some cases, a divorce can be expedited, especially if there are extenuating circumstances such as domestic violence or financial hardship. Consulting with an experienced divorce attorney can help determine if expedited proceedings are possible in your situation.

Conclusion:

While the duration of a divorce in Missouri can vary depending on various factors, it typically takes a minimum of 30 days from the filing of the petition to finalize the process. However, contested divorces or those involving complex issues may take significantly longer. It is crucial for individuals going through a divorce to seek legal counsel to navigate the process efficiently and ensure their rights are protected.

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