How to Complete a Contested Divorce in Missouri


Every state has certain guidelines in place for divorce. In a contested divorce, both spouses are unable to come to a satisfactory agreement regarding pertinent issues, such as child custody and asset distribution, or because of the unwillingness of one spouse to dissolve the marriage. In Missouri, there are certain laws in place, and you must follow all steps to completing a contested divorce according to those laws. Proof of accusations and cause as to why the marriage should be ended are all required.

  • File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage through a family law attorney or directly with your local clerk of court. The petition will be placed on file and a court date will be scheduled to hear your side and your spouse's side of any disagreements regarding your divorce.

  • Serve divorce papers to your spouse or hire a due process server to serve them for you. Your spouse is entitled to copies of all paperwork, summonses and petitions pertaining to your desire for divorce. He will have opportunity to answer the summons within 30 days by submitting a counter petition.

  • Attend case management with your spouse. This helps you and your spouse come to some form of agreement regarding marital assets, child custody, spousal support and child support. If agreements are made, then you must file additional papers, such as Marital Settlement Agreement, Income and Expense Statement and Affidavit Regarding the Children. When children are involved, you will be required to attend parenting classes with your spouse.

  • Meet with a mediator at the court-appointed time. This will lay the groundwork for your case by addressing any additional disagreements and agreements. You will also discuss any Information that both parties wish to take to court.

  • Attend pretrial conferences as directed by the judge and your attorney. These conferences involve you and your spouse, your attorneys, case workers and any other affected party to the divorce proceedings. You cannot move forward with your divorce until you have attended.

  • Arrive at your final hearing early to discuss any questions you may have with your attorney. During the hearing, a judge will decide whether to approve agreements made and will rule how assets will be divided in the case of a disagreement. Your divorce will then be granted once all issues have been resolved by judgment.

  • Sign any final paperwork before your final divorce papers are entered into the clerk of court's database. You will be given a copy of the judge's final decree once the clerk has filed the necessary paperwork and has obtained all signatures.


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