Residency Requirements in Missouri Divorce


The Carson Law Firm can help you with every aspect of your divorce, from residency requirements in Missouri to child custody. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Can I File for a Divorce After Recently Moving to Missouri?

Are you considering a divorce in Missouri? Every state has its residency requirements for filing a divorce. You can file divorce proceedings in Missouri if one of the spouses is a resident of the state. This means that one of the spouses should be a state resident for at least 90 days before filing the divorce petition. Further, the judge can grant you a divorce only when at least 30 days have elapsed since the divorce petition was filed.

When dealing with divorce residency matters, the laws can be unclear. Yet, with the help of a knowledgeable divorce lawyer, you may be able to clear all concerns about Missouri divorce residency. They can explain the rules and help you decide how to go about your divorce proceedings in Missouri.


What Establishes Residency in Missouri?

A Missouri resident should live there, not for temporary purposes. They ought to have the intent to remain there permanently. Residency in Missouri is often earned by:

  • Being present there for the primary purpose of full-time employment or retirement

  • Residing consecutively for a minimum of twelve months with proof of the intention to make Missouri your permanent residence indefinitely.

What Are Missouri Divorce Laws on Residency?

For the court to approve your dissolution, you need to meet the following criteria:

  1. At least one party should be a resident of Missouri, or
  2. Suppose one spouse is a member of the armed services stationed in this state. They should have lived there for at least ninety days immediately preceding the beginning of the proceeding.
  3. Thirty days have elapsed since filing the petition to conclude the case.

These are the basic Missouri residency requirements for your divorce proceedings. Other requirements for a divorce that must be met include the following:

  • If the court finds no reasonable likelihood to preserve the marriage. Or if the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
  • The court has considered and made provisions for child custody and support. Also, they have considered spousal maintenance and the disposition of marital properties.

No-Fault Divorce Residency Requirements

Missouri is a no-fault state where one spouse can file for divorce when there is a mutual agreement to separate. Also, they do not need to prove the other spouse’s misconduct during marriage. The party filing the divorce does not have to wait for a specific period to do so.

However, one spouse should be a state resident to file for a no-fault divorce in Missouri. The residency laws need the petitioner to be a resident of Missouri for at least 90 days before filing the petition.


Fault-Based Divorce Residency Requirements

Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, but some divorces are based on the misconduct of one or both spouses. Take, for instance, a situation where a spouse committed adultery.

The party filing the petition has to prove the legal basis for filing the divorce. The evidence should show that the other spouse committed specific misconduct. Some examples of misconduct include marital affairs, abuse, or abandonment.

The petitioner should meet the exact residency requirements as in the no-fault divorce. The petitioner must also prove fault or the supposed misconduct when filing the divorce.


Residency Requirements for Uncontested Divorce in Missouri

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the divorce terms. The main terms for divorce include child support, custody, and property division. If the parties disagree on specific issues, it requires the court’s involvement.

In this type of divorce, both partners may submit a joint petition—one of the required Missouri divorce forms—along with a copy of their signed agreement. The couple skips the divorce procedure and goes straight to the final hearing in front of the court, making this the fastest divorce option in Missouri.

The residency requirement remains the same, and at least one spouse needs to have lived in Missouri for ninety days before filing for divorce.


Residency Requirements for Contested Divorce in Missouri

If spouses cannot agree on specific divorce terms, the court decides for them. Such a divorce is known as a contested divorce. Frequently, disagreements prolong the divorce process in Missouri. Some of the issues parties usually disagree on include the following:

  • Alimony/ spousal support
  • Issues about their minor children, such as child custody, visitation, and support
  • Division of debt
  • Marital property and asset division.

Finalizing the legal separation may take at least a year or more. The complexity of the property and asset issues affects the court proceedings’ timeline. Determining custody of any shared children can also affect the time taken in the proceedings. Yet, the residency requirements for filing a contested divorce remain exactly as discussed above.

Factors Other Than Residency Affecting Divorce in Missouri 

Besides Missouri residency requirements, other factors may affect your divorce decree in Missouri. Such factors include:

  • Settlement agreements
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Non-marital and marital property and debts
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.


What Should I Do if I Need to Relocate During My Divorce?

Different states have very different residency laws. Thus, the outcomes depend on the state with jurisdiction over your divorce. The state with jurisdiction has the power to decide on issues on:

  • Custody and visitation

  • Child support

  • Alimony

  • Division of marital assets and properties

  • Potential future disputes if either of you seeks to change arrangements. 

Missouri has specific laws on whether the parent with legal custody can move. In Missouri, relocation is a change of residence for 90 days or more. If the move lasts less than 90 days, that’s only considered a temporary change.

Suppose a custodial parent wants to move with the children. In that case, they should notify the other parent of their intent to move. That notice should be provided at least 60 days before the move happens. But, if there are urgent issues, the moving parent can request the court to reduce the 60-day rule.

Talk to a Family Law Attorney in Missouri Today!

Talking to an attorney during a Missouri divorce can be crucial. Your attorney can advise you on the residency requirements of your state. When the petition goes to court, they can help you go through the divorce court procedure to increase your chances of achieving a favorable outcome. 

We are ready to answer all your questions at The Carson Law Firm. This includes those on residency requirements in Missouri. Contact us today for more information on other aspects of the divorce process.

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