A Complete Guide to Grounds for Divorce


What are the grounds for divorce in a no-fault state like Missouri? Attorneys from The Carson Law Firm can answer your legal questions. Call us now!

What Are the Grounds for Divorce?


Marriage can be a beautiful bond, but not all love stories have happy endings. Sometimes, two once inseparable individuals can drift apart or face irreconcilable differences that lead to an unfortunate decision to divorce. While it’s never an easy choice, knowing the legal grounds for divorce could be crucial before taking this life-altering step.

The grounds for divorce specify the circumstances under which a divorce will be granted. During divorce proceedings, a petitioner must state their reason for wanting a divorce and prove that it is well-founded. It is important to note, however, that in the United States, each state has its own set of grounds. So, you should be aware of the different grounds that may apply to your divorce.

If you plan to file for divorce in Missouri, a skilled divorce attorney from a reputable law firm like The Carson Law Firm can discuss the various grounds for divorce. They can explain how the process for no-fault divorces works in Missouri and help you navigate one of life’s toughest challenges.

Grounds for Divorce in Missouri

Since Missouri is a no-fault state, you are not required to state a reason for your divorce or prove that the other party is at fault.

 If a judge finds that there is no reasonable likelihood of saving the marriage, then the divorce will be granted without fault because the marriage relationship has irretrievably broken down.


Missouri Divorce Process


Divorce proceedings begin with the petitioner filing a petition for dissolution of marriage in the circuit court of the county where the petitioner lives. The petition must state that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties causing an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further reconciliation attempts are impossible.

After filing the petition, the other spouse (the respondent) will be served with a summons to appear in court. They have 30 days to file an answer to the petition. Otherwise, they are in default, and the petitioner can proceed with obtaining a default judgment.

If both parties agree on all the issues, they can submit a written settlement agreement to the court for approval. Once approved, the settlement agreement will become part of the final divorce decree.

When Grounds for Divorce Are Considered

If minor children are involved, the court will require you to file a parenting plan with your written settlement. If one of the parties contests the divorce or a settlement agreement is not reached, each party will have to present their evidence and argument to a judge at a trial.

When deciding on property division, custody, and support payments, these factors may be weighed. After hearing the evidence, the judge will decide on all outstanding issues and issue a final divorce decree.


Common Grounds for Divorces

Several possible grounds for divorce may be presented to the court for determining support payments. Consulting with an experienced attorney may shed light on which of the following reasons apply.


    Adultery is engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than one’s spouse. This act can have devastating consequences for all the parties involved. Since the action can irreparably damage the relationship in a family, adultery can be a significant factor in the division of marital assets and alimony.

    The tendency to commit adultery may constitute cruel treatment in your eyes. Your lawyer may help the judge view the situation similarly. It could affect the outcome of your divorce settlement.



    Abandonment can significantly impact a divorce, especially when children are involved. To claim abandonment, the filing spouse will need to show that the respondent was absent for six continuous months prior to their filing.

    Plus, if one spouse leaves the marital property and refuses to provide financial support during that time, it can set the stage for one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Although the court generally bases child and spousal support orders on the need and ability to pay, abandonment may weigh heavily on the decision.


    Lived Apart for at Least One Year

    If both you and your spouse have chosen to live apart for at least one year and wish to continue living apart, the filing spouse may begin divorce proceedings. They can do this regardless of whether there was a separation agreement.

    If the living arrangements were not mutually agreed upon, the filing spouse would have to prove they had lived apart from the respondent for 24 months straight.


    Domestic Violence

    Domestic violence occurs when one person in a relationship uses physical, sexual, emotional, or economic abuse to control or harm the other person. It can be used as proof of extreme cruelty and inhuman treatment.

    When children are involved, the stakes are even higher. Missouri law recognizes that domestic violence can severely impact child custody decisions. Before the court grants a divorce, the judges will consider any past instances of domestic violence when making a custody determination.

      How Long Does the Divorce Process Take?

      The process of divorce varies greatly depending on the individual situation. Typically, a divorce can be finalized fairly quickly if both parties agree and there are no contested issues. However, if there are disagreements about child custody, property division, or other matters, the process can take longer.

      In Missouri, the divorce will become final 30 days after the judge signs the divorce decree.


      Legal Advice and Due Diligence Before Divorce

      Due diligence before the divorce is essential, even when it comes to no-fault divorce. Therefore, you might benefit from consulting with a skilled divorce lawyer to better understand the legal process and what to expect. Consider also gathering financial information to make informed decisions about property division, emotional impact, and child support.

      Contact us if you plan to file for a no-fault divorce in Missouri. At The Carson Law Firm, we have a team of divorce attorneys with vast experience to help during every stage of your divorce case. Visit our offices today to begin your process.

        Frequently Asked Questions

        The following are answers to a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding grounds for divorce.

        Will Cheating Affect Child Custody?

        Cheating typically has little impact on child custody. The courts usually believe that a kid’s time spent with both parents is in the youngster’s interest.


        What Are the Main Reasons for Divorce?

        The top reasons for divorce cases include adultery, desertion, cruelty, mental illness, and criminal convictions.


        What Are the Warning Signs of Divorce?

        The warnings for divorce that you need to pay attention to include communication breakdown, lack of respect, loss of intimacy, loss of trust, loss of happiness, poor conflict resolution, constant financial quarrels, and more.

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