Can I Challenge A Missouri Divorce Decree After It Has Been Finalized?


Going through a divorce is undoubtedly an overwhelming and emotionally charged process for everyone involved. It is a complex legal procedure that entails the termination of a marriage and the division of assets and debts. In the state of Missouri, the finality of the divorce is marked by the issuance of a divorce decree. Once this decree is finalized, both parties involved are legally bound by its provisions. However, there may be instances where one party seeks to challenge the divorce decree. This article aims to explore the viability of challenging a Missouri divorce decree even after it has been officially finalized.

What Defines a Divorce Decree?

A divorce decree is an authoritative legal document that delineates the terms and conditions of a divorce settlement. It serves as the conclusive court order that puts an end to the marital bond and effectively resolves all issues associated with the marriage. Matters covered within a divorce decree may encompass child custody arrangements, child support obligations, spousal support requirements, property distribution, and debt apportionment. It is imperative to recognize that the terms outlined in the divorce decree possess legal enforceability, thus both parties are obligated to adhere to them.

Circumstances Warranting a Divorce Decree Challenge

Various situations may arise in which an individual may contemplate challenging a divorce decree in Missouri. One frequently encountered circumstance involves instances of fraud or misrepresentation by one of the parties during the divorce proceedings. Another factor that may instigate a challenge arises from the identification of mistakes or errors in the divorce decree that necessitate rectification. Moreover, significant changes in circumstances subsequent to the finalization of the divorce might prompt one party to challenge the decree.

The Process of Challenging a Divorce Decree

When an individual desires to challenge a Missouri divorce decree, they must initiate the procedure by filing a formal motion with the court. This motion should comprehensively outline the grounds on which the party is basing their challenge, along with the specific relief sought. It is crucial to present compelling evidence supporting the claim, which may include pertinent documentation or witnesses’ testimony. Subsequently, the court will meticulously review the motion and accompanying evidence before rendering a decision regarding granting or denying the requested relief.

Time Constraints for Challenging a Divorce Decree

In the state of Missouri, there exists a limited time frame within which a divorce decree can be challenged. Specifically, a party has a thirty-day window, commencing from the date the divorce decree is officially entered, to file a motion aiming to set aside or modify the decree. Failure to meet this deadline may result in the forfeiture of the right to challenge the divorce decree.


To summarize, a Missouri divorce decree signifies the ultimate court order that legally dissolves a marriage while concurrently establishing the parameters of the divorce settlement. Upon finalization, both parties are compelled to abide by the terms within the divorce decree. Nevertheless, circumstances may arise where an individual seeks to challenge the provisions outlined in the decree. To initiate such a challenge, the concerned party must file a precise and compelling motion supported by substantiating evidence. Importantly, individuals must be aware of the limited timeframe available for challenging a Missouri divorce decree, as missing the deadline can forfeit this right.

Scroll to Top