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Divorce

First of all, contacting a St Louis divorce attorney who specializes in divorce law can provide you the details you need.  To begin, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Missouri for at least ninety (90) days prior to filing a petition for divorce.  Assuming that requirement is met, you can file in any county in which either one of the parties resides.  If circumstances change during the divorce, you can ask the court for a “change of venue” and those are often (but not always) granted if moving the case to another county would be more convenient.

Missouri is a “no-fault” divorce state which means that no specific reason or misconduct by either party is needed to file.  A dissolution (the legal word for “divorce” in Missouri) of marriage may be granted on the grounds that there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved and that therefore the marriage is irretrievably broken. If the respondent denies that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the petitioner (the person filing for divorce) must prove one or more of the following:

• The respondent committed adultery and to continue the marriage would be intolerable;

• The respondent has behaved in such a way that continuing the marriage would be intolerable;

• The respondent abandoned the petitioner for at least six months prior to the filing of the petition;

• That the parties have lived separate and apart by mutual consent for at least twelve (12) months prior to filing;

• That the parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least twenty-four (24) months before filing. 

In other words, if you file for divorce and your spouse (the respondent) contests the divorce, you must meet one of these conditions.  Therefore, if you still live with your spouse and there has been no adultery, then you must rely on the second condition (your spouse has behaved in such a way as to make staying together impossible to tolerate).  It is rare, but certainly not unheard of, for a spouse to contest a divorce.  However, if it does happen and the other factors are not present, then a case can usually be made using condition #2.  Courts generally don’t seek to make two people stay together against the wishes of one.

SPOUSE'S NAME:

Many women would like to change their name after a divorce.  This is a relatively simple process and anyone can petition the court for the change to be official.  This is often an important part of moving forward with your new life. Such requests are routinely granted by the courts and the new name can be included in the divorce decree.

MEDIATION OR COUNSELING REQUIREMENTS: 

When children are involved, the court might order some form of counseling. The court may also order you both to participate in mediation to resolve any disputed issues, except in cases where custody is agreed upon or if there is a finding of domestic abuse.  Note that these requirements are quite different depending on which county your case is heard (or even which judge is hearing it).