I read an interesting blog post earlier this week posted by a colleague whom I hold in high regard, although I disagree with her on this point. She answered the above question by saying, in part, that the dissolution of marriage action or divorce must be filed in the county where both people live or if they live in different counties, in either of those counties. That answer is correct as far as it goes, but it is also true that if you meet the jurisdictional requirements to file for divorce in Missouri (essentially you are both residents of the state and have lived here for more than 90 days – with some exceptions that are beyond the scope of this article), you may file anywhere in the State so long as both of you agree.
Now that case filings are available on the internet (casenet) as well as being published in legal newspapers that only a very small number of people read and paper case files on shelves open to the public no longer exist, the primary reason that people do not wish to file in their home county is to avoid contact with neighbors and friends when they are at the courthouse for court appearances. I know that several years ago, the mother of one of my daughter’s friends saw me at the courthouse and was quite unnerved and upset. I did not see her but her attorney told me later that she asked in reference to me “what is she doing here” and her attorney replied, “she works here.” I had seen her husband in thee courthouse earlier that day and simply greeted him and went on with my day.
Folks who are filing for divorce and have privacy concerns should talk to their attorney. I myself was living in St. Louis County when I filed for divorce, as was my ex-husband, but I filed in St. Charles County and he did not object, so the divorce was granted there.
If you have questions about where you can file for divorce in Missouri or any other family law matter, please call our office (314-721-2422) to schedule a virtual, telephone, or in-person consultation