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If your spouse wants to end your marriage, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the entire process. Preparing for divorce in Missouri, as in any state, can be a complicated and emotionally taxing endeavor. In our previous article, “How To Prepare To File For Divorce In Missouri”, we covered ways to prepare if you plan to initiate, or file, for divorce in Missouri. In this blog post, we will discuss what to expect if your spouse wants a divorce and cover topics such as filing for divorce in Missouri, the procedures involved, and knowing your rights and responsibilities throughout the process.

‘No-Fault’ Divorce

When it comes to divorce, Missouri is a ‘no-fault’ state. This means that when a spouse decides to end their marriage, they can do so by informing the Court that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be preserved. There is no requirement to cite any particular reason or fault of their partner. The Court may, however, take any wrongdoings by a spouse into consideration when it comes to deciding the following:

  • Property Division
  • Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
  • Child Custody & Visitation
  • Child Support
  • Awards of Attorney Fees

If your spouse has already filed for divorce, or you believe that he or she plans to file, it’s important to protect your rights and be prepared, even if you don’t wish to end the marriage. Consult with a Missouri family law attorney who can help you understand your options and your rights and responsibilities throughout the proceedings.

Missouri Divorce Filing Procedures

If your spouse wants a divorce, he or she will have to file a petition for divorce in the county where one or both of you reside. When filing for divorce in Missouri, it’s important to understand what the process entails and how to best prepare for it. 

In Missouri family law court, the filing spouse is the Petitioner and the non-filing spouse is the Respondent. The Petitioner, with or without an attorney, begins the process by filing their Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Either the sheriff’s department in the county where the petition is filed or a court-approved special process server must provide the Respondent with the petition and the court summons in order for the divorce case to proceed. Once the Respondent has been served, he or she is given 30 days to respond to the petition before the Court moves forward with the proceedings. Depending on what information was provided by the Petitioner, the Respondent may be served the divorce papers at work, at home, or at another location where he or she is likely to be found. 

If your spouse has filed (or will be filing) for divorce, you may be able to bypass the process of being served by waiving service according to the rules of the Court in which your case is (or will be) filed. 

Gather Documentation

If your spouse has filed for divorce, you should start to gather documentation about both your and your spouse’s incomes, marital assets and debts, as follows:


Real Estate

Financial Accounts

Life Insurance

Marital Debts



Other Misc. Property

For more detailed information, see our previous article “How To Prepare To File For Divorce In Missouri”

If you hire an attorney to represent you, he or she may ask you to provide additional documentation, such as records of expenses related to your child(ren), parenting details, and/or a calendar of your parenting time and activities. What additional documentation your attorney requests is up to your attorney and the circumstances involved in your case. 

Contested Or Uncontested Divorce

Determining if your divorce will be contested or uncontested is helpful in any divorce case. If you and your spouse can reach a fair agreement on certain marital elements such as property division, maintenance, child support, or child custody, your case would be considered an uncontested divorce. This means that all you both need to do is complete the appropriate filings and documentation. When the proper documentation and filing procedures have been completed, the dissolution can move forward and presumably be granted by the judge. 

If you and your spouse are not in agreement regarding the marital elements, then your case would be considered a contested divorce and the court will be required to make the decisions regarding the outcome of your divorce. In either situation and especially if you have children, it is recommended that you speak with a qualified family law attorney to discuss your particular circumstances and determine the best way to proceed. 

Speak To An Experienced Family Law Attorney

In Missouri, it’s not required that you hire an attorney to represent you in a divorce case. That said, even a simple divorce can quickly become adversarial. The best way to ensure that your parental and financial rights are protected is by having skilled legal representation.

 If your spouse wants a divorce in Missouri, specifically in the Kansas City area, an experienced divorce lawyer representing you and protecting your rights can make a huge difference in the outcome.  The Law Firm of Kenneth L. Jamison, located in Liberty, Missouri,  has the experience, insight, and family law expertise to help you through your divorce proceedings. For a confidential consultation contact our firm at (816) 200-7436 or reach out via our website. We look forward to hearing from you. 

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