Legal Articles
Get Started Finding a Local Attorney Now

Simply fill out this form to connect with an Attorney serving your area.

The Basics of St. Louis Divorce

If you are planning on filing for a St. Louis divorce, you will want to know about the basics of the St. Louis divorce process. Because divorce law can be very complex, you should consider researching St. Louis divorce attorneys. Divorce attorneys in St. Louis can advocate for you in court, inform you of your legal options and provide you with guidance throughout your case.

St. Louis Divorce Requirements

To get a St. Louis divorce, you have to meet certain requirements. One of these is a residency requirement.

To divorce in St. Louis, one spouse must either be a resident of the state or a member of the armed services who has been stationed in the state for 90 days prior to the divorce filing.

Additionally, you must also cite proper grounds, or reason, for the divorce. In St. Louis, the grounds are simple. Either spouse can claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Even if the other spouse disagrees with this claim, the judge can grant the divorce.

In some circumstances, however, a spouse may have to provide proof that the marriage is irretrievably broken if the other spouse disagrees. This usually is the case when there are disagreements regarding such things as child custody and spousal support. To prove the marriage is in fact irretrievably broken, the spouse may have to prove one of the following:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment for at least six months
  • Voluntary separation for a year
  • Involuntary separation for two years
  • Incompatibility

St. Louis Divorce Courts

To initiate the divorce process, you and your St. Louis divorce attorney will need to prepare a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the document that states you are requesting a divorce.

This petition must be filed with the proper court. The St. Louis court system is divided into two separate courts.

The first court covers all of St. Louis County. This means it handles divorce in Kirkwood, Hazelwood, Eureka and other St. Louis County communities. This court is called the St. Louis County Circuit Court.

The other court covers all of St. Louis City. It is called the St. Louis City Circuit Court.

Once you file your divorce paperwork with the court, your spouse will be served with a copy of the petition and given a chance to respond.

If you need assistance filing your petition with the proper court, contact a St. Louis divorce lawyer.

St. Louis Child Custody Issues

If you and your spouse share custody of minor children, you will have to come up with a parenting plan as part of the divorce. A parenting plan details the custody rights of both parents, including issues related to visitation rights and child support.

All parents of minor children in St. Louis must attend a court-sponsored Parent Education Class. The class focuses on facilitating cooperation between the parents to reduce the potential trauma for children. The goal is for parents to come up with their own parenting program outside of court. However, if the parents cannot agree on a parenting program, they will have to settle unresolved issues before a judge.

Finalizing the St. Louis Divorce

Once all divorce issues, including child custody, spousal support and property division, have been settled, the judge can grant the divorce. The shortest amount of time a judge in St. Louis can take to grant a divorce is 30 days from the date the petition is filed. This mainly only applies to divorces where the couple had no children together, shared very little property and agree on the terms of the divorce. Otherwise, the divorce proceedings can take months.

When the divorce is made final, the judge will issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This is the legal document that states the couple has divorced.