Are you a Missouri resident who is wondering, Can I file for an online divorce? Missouri does offer the option to file for divorce online. In most cases, these divorces are an affordable and easily accessible way to dissolve a marriage when parties agree to the terms.
Our comprehensive legal guide will help you understand the ‘uncontested divorce‘ and legal document preparation process, inform you of which court documents are needed, and help answer any questions you may have about the filing process for online divorce.
Missouri Requirements for an Online Divorce
To file for an online divorce, Missouri law requires that the divorce be uncontested. An uncontested divorce is one where the parties agree on all the terms of the divorce and believe there is no chance they can reconcile their differences. Then, the spouses create a written agreement to end their marriage with everything they have agreed to.
If the parties disagree on one or more of the divorce terms and the court needs to intervene to help them resolve the dispute, the divorce is “contested” and Missouri will not allow you to file online. Instead, you’ll have to go to court with your spouse to resolve any disputed issues.
If you want to represent yourself in divorce proceedings, Missouri requires that you complete the Litigant Awareness Program and file your completed certificate with the court. After you’ve completed this program, you can continue to file for an online divorce. Missouri law requires that parties provide the following information:
- The names, dates of birth, current addresses, addresses of properties owned, workplace details, driver’s licenses, and Social Security numbers of the parties
- Previous court cases
- Details of the marriage
- Any children or current pregnancy
- Property, taxes, and debts
Once the documents are prepared, either party can print, sign, and submit them to the local court clerk. Then, the filing party will serve the documents on the other party to communicate that they have started the divorce proceedings.
In Missouri, you can serve the ‘notice‘ on the other party in two ways: Via the county sheriff or a private process server. Both methods will start the divorce process.
Waiting Period for an Online Divorce: Missouri Rules
Once you have submitted the forms, documents, and separation agreement correctly, the 30-day waiting period from the filing date starts. During this “cooling-off period” the divorce is not yet granted, so the spouses have time to evaluate their decisions and thus avoid acting on impulse.
Once the 30-day period has passed, the parties will appear in court and the judge will review the settlement agreement before signing it. You may not be able to get a divorce precisely on the first day after the cooling-off period. Instead, the date your divorce is finalized depends on the judge’s availability and the number of pending cases they must hear.
Filing for an Online Divorce: Missouri Requirements
There are several requirements for filing an online divorce. Missouri’s are as follows:
- The petitioner must be a resident of Missouri for at least 90 days
- Parties must have lived separately for at least two years, or one year by mutual consent, before filing the petition
- Parties must agree to a settlement agreement including property, alimony, retirement plan, insurance, tax, child visitation, and a parenting plan
Missouri Parenting Plan Requirements
If you and your spouse need to create a parenting plan for your children, Missouri requires that it include:
- The dates and times each parent will have physical custody of the child
- How the parents will communicate with one another and who will make essential decisions about the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and healthcare
- Who will cover childcare, healthcare, and other everyday expenses
- How the child(ren) will be transported
File an Online Divorce: Missouri Documents to Fill Out and Submit
Once you meet the requirements, both parties must gather information on income and expenses and list all debts and assets.
To proceed with an online divorce, Missouri requires that you fill out several forms, including:
- Petition for dissolution of marriage. This document is filed in court and begins the divorce process
- Parenting plan. This plan contains the duties and responsibilities of both parties related to child visitation, the child’s education, and parenting time allocation
- Confidential case filing information sheet. This document enters all the information about the parties and the case itself into the court filing system
- Statement of property and debt. This statement is part of the settlement agreement, and indicates the distribution of property and debts
- Divorce decree. This is the final step in the divorce process, and identifies the court’s final and binding order
- Settlement agreement. A contract between two parties that outlines how they will handle property, debt, alimony, insurance, etc. in the future
- Certificate of divorce. A divorce certificate is an official document issued by Missouri vital records; it details the date and place of divorce and identifying information for the former spouses
In some instances, you may need to file different or additional forms.
Fees for Filing an Online Divorce in Missouri
The processing fees for an uncontested online divorce vary from county to county. For instance, the fees in Cass County differ from those in Oregon County. Here’s the average cost you might incur for processing fees:
- Online document preparation fees. $135 or more
- County filing fees. $200 or more
- Sheriff’s fees. $25 or more
- Notary fees. $2 or more (depending on the number of pages)
If you can’t afford the divorce fee, you may be able to get a free divorce in Missouri by filing a ‘forma pauperis.’ This document lets you request a free divorce from the court. You’ll include details related to income, expense, debts, and assets, showing that you can’t afford the filing fees. The court will determine whether the fees are waived.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Missouri Divorce Process
Who Is Eligible for an Online Divorce?
If both parties agree on the divorce terms and are ready to work out a settlement agreement, they may file an online divorce. To begin the procedure, they must complete the Litigant Awareness Program, fill out and submit the relevant forms on the Missouri state court’s official website, and pay the required fees.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online Divorce in Missouri?
The minimum time to get a divorce is 30 days; this includes a “cooling off period.” However, the exact time depends on the judge’s availability. The Missouri divorce finalization process can take anywhere from one to six months.
Can I Obtain a Divorce in Missouri if a Spouse Is Pregnant?
It’s not possible to get a divorce in Missouri if one of the spouses is pregnant. The court wants the presumptive father (if applicable) to prove paternity and the couple to determine if the husband is the child’s biological parent. Therefore, the court can’t grant or finalize the divorce unless the child is born and the above requirements are met.
Can I File for Divorce in Missouri Online Without an Attorney?
While it’s not mandatory to hire a divorce lawyer when filing a divorce, it may be advisable to ensure that there are no mistakes in the documents and that they’re filed on time. Plus, a lawyer can help you resolve complicated issues involving child custody and the division of pensions, retirement accounts, family businesses, and other assets.
Need Help Filing Documents? Get the Legal Help You Need Today
Obtaining a divorce isn’t an easy process. Although you can complete an online divorce without legal representation, Missouri residents might benefit from an online divorce firm. This firm will help you complete all paperwork and ensure that it is filed according to Missouri’s strict divorce filing requirements.