It is an unfortunate reality that many marriages in Missouri and across the U.S. simply do not work out and the couple decides to divorce. The end of a marriage can be a difficult time rife with dispute over various issues, but it can also be a positive if the parties are able to move on. What is key to a successful divorce proceeding is understanding the requirements to complete the process.

Couples in Missouri must meet the residency requirement by living in the state for a minimum of 90 days. Missouri is a “no-fault” divorce state. That means that neither side must show that the other party did anything wrong to facilitate the divorce. Simply deciding to end the marriage is sufficient. But it is important to remember that there are factors that the court consider when determining if a divorce should be allowed to move forward.

If one of the spouses committed adultery during the marriage and the couple did not have an agreement that this would be acceptable, it is a factor. The behavior of the other spouse might have grown so intolerable that it is impossible for the spouse seeking the divorce to continue with the marriage. The couple might have lived separately for a minimum of two years prior to filing for divorce – this can be shortened to one year if the parties agree. Abandonment could have taken place and if it was for a minimum of six months before the case was filed, it is a consideration. A spouse could have been involved in criminal activity and that might have sparked the desire on the part of the other spouse to pursue an end to the marriage.

When using the no-fault process, simply saying that the marriage is irretrievably broken is enough. Courts can decide that the marriage is salvageable. If that is the case, then a legal separation will be granted in lieu of a divorce. Regardless of the reason a person or persons want a divorce, it is a foundational aspect to have legal advice throughout the process. A lawyer who understands how to help clients with a divorce whether it is amicable or contentious should be called for advice immediately.