If you are a Missouri resident, you may be aware that Missouri is a modified no-fault divorce state. So what does this really mean?
It generally means that couples seeking a divorce in Missouri are not required to prove misconduct by their spouse to obtain a divorce.
In the past, a spouse who filed for divorce was required to prove some grounds for the divorce such as abandonment, adultery, or cruelty. Today, Missouri does not require a showing of fault in order for a couple to obtain a divorce. However, those seeking a divorce must demonstrate that the marriage is irretrievably broken. A Missouri court will require a filing spouse to show that there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage could be preserved and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Oftentimes, divorcing parties will agree in the filings that the marriage is irretrievably broken to avoid a more drawn out process.
The no-fault divorce allows couples to obtain a divorce without arguing over past behaviors. Divorcing couples can instead focus on moving forward and protecting their children’s best interests. However, a court may take misconduct such as adultery, drug abuse, or financial waste into account when dividing property, establishing a custody arrangement, and awarding spousal maintenance and child support. Although your spouse’s misconduct may have ultimately destroyed your marriage, there is no guarantee that a court will consider the misconduct serious enough to affect any of these factors.
The divorce process can be very complicated and emotionally exhausting.
If you are contemplating divorce, an experienced Missouri family law attorney at the Quitmeier Law Firm can provide the guidance and support you need as you navigate through this difficult time.