Grounds For Divorce In Missouri And Their Implications

Divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage and divides the assets of the couple. It can be an emotionally draining and stressful process for both parties. Nonetheless, there are situations where divorce is inevitable, and it is best to be well-informed about the grounds for divorce in Missouri.

Missouri is a state that recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault-based grounds are reasons for divorce that implicate one spouse’s bad behavior, while no-fault grounds do not require any fault to be assigned to either party.

Fault-Based Grounds For Divorce in Missouri

In Missouri, there are several fault-based grounds for divorce:

1. Adultery

One spouse’s extramarital affair can be a basis for divorce in Missouri. However, proving adultery can be a challenge, and it requires evidence that shows that the accused spouse had sexual relations with another person.

2. Abandonment

Abandonment is a ground for divorce that occurs when one spouse willfully deserts the other spouse for at least six continuous months. This can be a physical abandonment, where the spouse leaves the marital home, or an emotional abandonment, where the spouse refuses to have any contact with the other spouse.

3. Abuse

Domestic violence is a serious issue, and it can also be a ground for divorce in Missouri. Abuse can be physical or emotional and can result in the issuance of a restraining order or criminal charges against the abusive spouse.

4. Impotence

Incapacity is a ground for divorce in Missouri when one spouse is unable to engage in sexual relations. The incapacity must have existed at the time of the marriage and be incurable.

5. Imprisonment

If one spouse is incarcerated for a felony, and the sentence is for an extended period, this can be a ground for divorce in Missouri. The imprisonment must have occurred after the marriage was consummated.

6. Bigamy

If one spouse was already married at the time of the Missouri marriage, the second marriage is void. The second spouse can seek a divorce on the grounds of bigamy.

No-Fault Grounds For Divorce in Missouri

1. Irretrievable Breakdown

The most common no-fault ground for divorce in Missouri is when the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means that the marriage is beyond repair, and there is no hope for reconciliation. The court will grant a divorce if both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken or if one spouse asserts that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and the other spouse does not contest it.

2. Separation

If the parties have lived separate and apart for at least 24 consecutive months before filing for divorce, this can be a ground for divorce in Missouri. The separation can be voluntary or involuntary.

Implications of Divorce in Missouri

Once a divorce is granted, the court will divide the assets and debts of the couple. Missouri is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court will divide the assets and debts in a manner it deems fair and equitable, taking into account various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the conduct of the parties during the marriage.

The court can also award spousal support, also known as maintenance or alimony, to the spouse who is at a financial disadvantage due to the divorce. The amount and duration of spousal support depend on various factors, such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the earning capacity of each spouse.

Apart from financial implications, divorce can also have emotional and psychological effects on the parties and the children of the marriage. It is important to seek professional counseling and support during this difficult time.

Conclusion

Divorce is a major life event that requires careful consideration and planning. In Missouri, there are both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. Whether it is due to infidelity, abandonment, or irretrievable breakdown, divorce can have significant financial, emotional, and psychological implications. It is important to seek legal and emotional support during this difficult time to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

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