How To Get A Divorce In Missouri Without A Lawyer: A Comprehensive Guide

Getting a divorce is a difficult decision, but the process of getting one doesn’t have to be as difficult. If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage in Missouri, you may be wondering how to get a divorce without hiring a lawyer. Luckily, it is possible to handle your divorce on your own, but it is important to understand the process and requirements for filing for a divorce in Missouri.

Requirements for Divorce in Missouri

Before you start the process of filing for divorce, it is important to ensure that you meet the basic eligibility requirements for divorce in Missouri. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Missouri residency: Either you or your spouse must have been a resident of Missouri for at least 90 days before filing for divorce.
  2. Grounds for divorce: You must have grounds for divorce, which in Missouri can either be "no-fault" or "fault-based" grounds.
  3. Child support and custody: You must have a plan for any children that may result from the marriage, including child support and custody arrangements.
  4. Division of property and assets: You must also have a plan for the division of property and debts accumulated during the marriage.

No-Fault Divorce

In Missouri, couples can file for a "no-fault" divorce, which means you don’t have to prove any wrongdoing on the part of your spouse. This is the easiest and most common way to file for divorce in Missouri, and it does not require a lawyer.

To file for a no-fault divorce in Missouri, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Prepare the petition: Start by drafting a petition for divorce, which is a legal document that outlines the basic terms of your divorce. This includes your request for a divorce itself, as well as any arrangements you’ve made in terms of child custody, child support, and division of assets.
  2. File the petition: Once the petition is completed, you must file it with the Missouri Circuit Court in the county where you or your spouse resides.
  3. Serve the petition: After filing the petition for divorce, you must "serve" your spouse with a copy of the divorce papers, either in-person or by certified mail. If your spouse refuses to accept the papers, you may need to hire a professional to serve them on your behalf.
  4. Wait for a response: Your spouse has 30 days from the date of service to file a response to your petition for divorce. If they fail to respond, you can ask the court to enter a default judgment for the divorce.
  5. Attend court hearings: If your spouse does respond, it may be necessary to attend court hearings to resolve any disputes or finalize the divorce.

Fault-Based Divorce

In Missouri, you can also file for a fault-based divorce if there has been any wrongdoing or misconduct by your spouse. However, fault-based divorces are more difficult to obtain, and the process can be longer and more complicated.

Some common grounds for fault-based divorce in Missouri include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, or drug or alcohol addiction. It is important to note that proving fault is difficult and requires evidence, which is why it’s usually best to file for a no-fault divorce instead.

If you decide to file for a fault-based divorce, the process is similar to a no-fault divorce, with the added step of presenting evidence of the alleged wrongdoing.


While it is possible to get a divorce in Missouri without a lawyer, it is important to remember that each divorce is unique, and the process can be complicated even with a no-fault divorce. It’s always best to hire an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and help ensure that your rights are protected. However, if you do choose to represent yourself, make sure you understand the requirements and procedures for divorce in Missouri. With patience, persistence, and the right attitude, you can successfully navigate the divorce process and move forward with your life.

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