How uncontested divorce works in Missouri

Are you and your spouse ready to call it quits on your marriage? Do you want to avoid the drama and hassle of going to court? Do you already pretty much agree on how you want to split your assets and debts, handle financial support and -- if applicable -- split time with your children? If the answer is yes to all of the above, an uncontested divorce may work for you.

There are a lot of benefits to pursuing an uncontested divorce in Missouri. Of course, you still need to be careful and make sure the final settlement serves your best interests.

How does an uncontested divorce work?

All marital dissolution cases start the same; one spouse has to file the divorce petition. The court then serves the petition to the other party. Serving of the petition must happen within a specific time frame -- typically 30 days, though the courts may grant an extension if your spouse has moved out of state. After your spouse receives the petition, he or she has so many days to respond. After he or she responds, both parties must:

  • Sit through the waiting period
  • Sign and file consent divorce forms
  • Pay any filing fees
  • Wait for the court to approve the filing

As long as both parties agree to the terms laid out in the divorce petition, there is usually no issue achieving court approval. If, however, you or your spouse disagree with any of the terms, the courts will not grant an uncontested divorce, and you will need to utilize other dissolution methods -- such as mediation or litigation.

Advantages and disadvantages

The most significant advantage of filing an uncontested divorce is that it saves time and money. The biggest disadvantage is that settlement terms may end up lopsided. Complex issues may not be easy to resolve, and you might end up walking away with less than you could.

It's okay to seek help

Some people assume that an uncontested divorce means a couple does not seek help with the dissolution process. However, each party can and is likely to benefit by doing so. With the right assistance, you can ensure your settlement terms are fair and balanced, your divorce petition can be properly drafted, you can meet timelines, and your marital dissolution can receive court approval as quickly as possible.

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