Close Menu
Better Understand the Law
Home > Missouri Divorce Law

Divorce Law in Missouri

How to Find a Missouri Divorce Attorney

Have you heard this quote? Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. Missourian Mark Twain said it and while it has application to “normal” everyday life, it certainly applies to everyday life during divorce.

If you’re thinking about divorce and are interested in finding a Missouri divorce attorney, this article is for you. This article will show you how to benefit from doing what’s right during your divorce. (In fact, you’ll get more of what you want.)

We’ll discuss:

  • Missouri specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce; and
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Missouri divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find a qualified lawyer and how to prepare to work with him or her.

Missouri Divorce Law Specifics

  • Either you or your spouse must be a resident of (or, if in the military, “stationed in”) Missouri for at least 90 days prior to the divorce filing.
  • The divorce filings must state that the marriage is irretrievably broken, with no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
  • Missouri uses the terms, “petitioner” and “respondent” to describe the spouse who initially filed the divorce papers and the other spouse, respectively.
  • In Missouri, divorce papers are filed in the Circuit Court of a particular county.
  • In some cases, alimony is available.
  • In Missouri property distribution will be an equitable distribution. “Equitable” means “fair”, which may or may not also mean, “equal”.
  • Child support will be based upon the Income Shares Model.

What You Need to Know About Divorce (to Get More of What You Want)

If you’re interested in getting more of what you want (and who isn’t?) in your divorce, this section will show you how. Everything included is common sense, but challenging to implement during the emotional strain of divorce.

  • Throughout your divorce, your goal needs to be to compromise, communicate, cooperate, and collaborate. Each time you are faced with a challenge, a question, or a choice, base your response on these four principles.
    If you do anything but compromise, communicate, cooperate, and collaborate, you’ll further antagonize your spouse, which results in more stress for you and your children, more legal fees, and likely less in any property settlement.
    If you make your spouse angry and end up going to court, you lose control and the court will take over. This means lots of stress, no choice, and much higher legal fees.

  • Only hire an attorney who will respect and share the principles of compromise, communicate, cooperate, and collaborate.

  • Work with a therapist to work through the emotional part of your divorce. Never use your children or your attorney as a sounding board or therapist.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Missouri Divorce Lawyer?

Your best representative during your divorce is a professional who is experienced and well versed in Missouri family law and divorce law as well as someone who can negotiate assertively and view your personal situation objectively.

You likely aren’t an expert and can’t view your personal situation objectively. Even Missouri attorneys, who go through divorce, hire their own divorce lawyers.

Legally, you have the right to represent yourself throughout your divorce, support negotiations, property settlement, and child custody plan development; but that doesn’t mean self-representation is in your best interests – or those of your children.

After all, if you make a mistake and give up any marital rights during divorce, you lose them forever.

How to Find and Select a Missouri Divorce Attorney

Only hire an attorney who will respect and share the principles of compromise, communicate, cooperate, and collaborate.

Do a Google search for “How to Find a Missouri Divorce Attorney”. Then, check out each attorney website and narrow your list of potential attorneys down to a few who:

  • Focus their practice on divorce law and family law.
  • Emphasize mediation or otherwise working cooperatively with your spouse’s attorney.

Interview a few attorneys. It’s okay to ask questions about fees, procedures, what you can expect, the timeline, and anything else on your mind.

Then, hire the attorney you are most comfortable working with.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

Here’s your divorce preparation list. Check each item off the list when it has been completed.

  • I am sure that reconciliation efforts have been exhausted.
  • I have made an appointment with a therapist to deal with my emotions and upset related to the divorce.
  • I have collected financial documentation such as tax returns and financial statements.
  • If I have a prenuptial agreement, I have copied it for my attorney.
  • I have made a list of all assets, expenses, debts, and income.
  • I have made a list of everything that is important to me and prioritized those items.
    • Child custody schedule
    • Pet custody
    • Debt repayment responsibility
    • Spousal support
    • Child support
    • Personal property division
    • Residence
    • Financial asset division
  • I have made a list of questions and concerns.

Here is yet another line of good advice from Mark Twain. Though Mark Twain did not know the pain of divorce, he did know the pain of losing children to death, bankruptcy, illness, and day-to-day life. Perhaps, his insight will get you through today.

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn