How The Divorce Process Works In Missouri

Divorce is full of unknowns. The more you know about what to expect from the divorce process, the better prepared you will be emotionally — and the better chance you will have of getting the outcome you want.

Here are the main steps of the divorce process. Because complications can arise at any point, it's important to have a lawyer you can trust by your side every step of the way.

1. One person will file a petition for divorce (dissolution of marriage). You will need to verify the form and file in either the county where you live or where your spouse lives.

2. The other person will be notified and have 30 days to respond. The response, calling the "answer" to the petition, will need to be in writing.

3. If your divorce is uncontested, you can ask the court to approve your divorce. If you and your spouse can agree to the terms of the divorce, including child custody and property division, the process can go fairly smoothly. At this point, you and your lawyer may negotiate with your spouse and their lawyer to see if you can reach an agreement. The court still needs to approve your dissolution and make sure you have met all the requirements, but if you are able to reach an agreement outside of court, you can save significant time and money.

4. If you don't agree, your case may go to mediation. In some cases, the court will appoint a mediator for you. The mediator is a neutral party who will try to help you and your spouse reach an agreement in a structured negotiation process.

5. If you still can't reach an agreement, you will have a hearing in court. The judge's ruling will determine the final terms of your divorce decree.

Start From A Position Of Strength

As soon as you think your marriage is headed toward divorce, you should find a lawyer you trust to represent you. I'm attorney Jackie Gonz, and I've been practicing family law in southeast Missouri since 1992, developing a reputation as someone who will fight hard for her clients. Get a free consultation to learn more about working together by calling 573-303-3015 or sending an email.