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Missouri Court Records

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How to File For Divorce in Missouri

In the State of Missouri, the term divorce refers to “dissolution of marriage.” The partner that files for the dissolution of marriage is known as the “petitioner,” while the other is called the “respondent.” To file for a divorce in Missouri, one of the spouses must be living in the state for at least 90 days, according to A.M. S. § 452.305. Although the time it takes to complete a Missouri divorce process varies from case to case, the minimum length is 30 days. There are two types of divorce in Missouri; contested divorce and uncontested divorce. When both spouses agree to the divorce, then the divorce is uncontested. A contested divorce, on the other hand, is when either of the couples is not pleased with the terms involved in the divorce, such as sharing assets or matters concerning the children.

The cost for a divorce in Missouri consists of two significant expenses; attorney fees and filing fees. Filing for divorce in Missouri, spouses are to spend about $163. If an attorney is employed for the divorce, it may cost about $200 to $500 per hour, depending on the lawyer. In 2018, the rate of divorce in Missouri was 3.0%.

Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Missouri

Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, and this means that neither of the spouses has to provide grounds or give reasons for the marriage’s dissolution. However, one spouse is required to testify that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” and there is no way to repair the marriage, as stated in ~452.320.

It might seem like much trouble trying to convince a judge why the action of the other spouse led to the end of the marriage, but in Missouri, just a testimony will suffice. It is the job of the testifier to convince the judge during the testimony about why the spouse’s behaviors will make it impossible to continue the marriage. Since Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, there are no insufficient grounds for divorce.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?

The following reasons explain why divorce lawyers are necessary during divorce proceedings;

Expert Advice

Hiring an experienced attorney will help a person make certain decisions that will help receive everything deserved during the divorce. Divorce laws of the state do not support both parties evenly splitting assets, depending on the couple’s situation.

Reduce Stress

Dissolution of marriage can be quite stressful for persons trying to get divorced. Hiring an attorney can help reduce this stress by gathering the necessary information and taking care of most of the work while the party involved gets more time to take care of themselves and the family.

Make Clear and Bind Agreement

Although the court will go through every divorce document presented, the court may not be clear on what the person is doing at each point of the divorce. The result of this might be getting a divorce decree that was not what the person intended. Using an experienced attorney will ensure that the legal documents will be error-free and state the spouse’s accurate needs, and the divorce decree will be in the person’s favor. There will be no mistakes in language or communication that will result in the agreement being difficult to enforce.

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Missouri?

Persons interested in getting a divorce can get started by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage form alongside other necessary documents. One of the supporting documents will be the marital settlement agreement, which will incorporate the division of assets and stated agreement concerning the children (if there are any). Interested persons are to fill out the appropriate Family and Parenting documentation and file all these documents with the courts, and the spouse retains copies of the documents. After the filing, the other spouse will receive a summons along with the petition and official notice. The receiver is to send a written response, called the answer, within 30 days.

A court hearing will be scheduled where both spouses are required to attend, and the judge will ensure all necessary paperwork is in order. The spouses can choose to have an uncontested or contested divorce. The judge will ask a couple of questions before entering the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

How to File for Divorce in Missouri Without a Lawyer?

Partners can file for a divorce without the presence of an attorney in Missouri, especially during an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce in which both parties have agreed to all terms, including debt division, division of properties, child support, and custody. The State of Missouri has a specific form for individuals intending to file an uncontested divorce without an attorney.

The state requires all partners looking to represent themselves in a divorce to finish a “litigant awareness program.” Interested persons can complete the program in two ways; reading a written litigant awareness materials or watching a video online. The program gives the partner necessary details on how to protect oneself during a divorce. After completing the program, the spouse must fill a certificate of completion form and file the form with a circuit court in Missouri.

Divorce and marriage records may be available through government sources and organizations, though their availability cannot be guaranteed. This is also true of their availability through third-party websites and companies, as these organizations are not government-sponsored and record availability may vary further. Finally, marriage and divorce records are considered extremely private due to the information they contain, and are often sealed. Bearing these factors in mind, record availability for these types of records cannot be guaranteed.

How Does Missouri Divorce Mediation Work?

Mediation is a method used to negotiate settlement issues in a divorce. According to Missouri Rule 17.01, mediation is the process where a neutral third party is brought in to encourage communication between both spouses and promote settlement. A step-by-step procedure is put in place to guide both parties to agree on alimony, child support, and property division. The approach was devised to create a protected and neutral environment to understand both interests, options, and risks. The mediator cannot make decisions for the couple but will serve as a facilitator to help both parties reach an agreement that benefits everyone.

Studies prove that divorce mediation in the State of Missouri is about 85% successful, while mandatory mediation is at most 10% less effective. If one party is against the final verdict, the individual can appeal or may not fully comply with the court’s decision.

How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Missouri?

It takes at least 30 days for a divorce case to become final; this is after the divorce paperwork has been filed in court and the judge signs the final verdict unless one of the spouses files an appeal. The period in which the divorce starts to the period it finishes varies based on the severity of the case in the court and the judge’s availability to sign the final Decree of Dissolution. Spouses that want to file for an appeal must procure an attorney.

Are Divorce Records Public in Missouri?

According to Mo. Rev. Stat. § 610.023, all court records in the State of Missouri are considered public information, including divorce records. The general public can view, access, and copy all divorce court records in Missouri. There may not be much information in a divorce record if the couple settled amicably and there are no disputes concerning alimony, child custody, and division of assets. However, if the spouses are involved in disputes concerning child custody, property division, or one is required to pay child support fees, most of the information that should be private will be available for public access.

Generally, there may not be much information in a divorce record if the couple settled amicably and there are no disputes concerning alimony, child custody, and division of assets. However, if the spouses are involved in disputes concerning child custody, property division, or one is required to pay child support fees, most of the information that should be private will be available for public access.

If the spouses are concerned about privacy and do not wish to publicize the divorce information, the individuals can always opt for settling issues privately or seal the records to limit the amount of personal data in the court record. Spouses can discuss privacy rights and options with divorce attorneys.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Get Missouri Divorce Records?

Interested persons can obtain divorce records from the Circuit Clerk in the county where the divorce was granted. To get Certified Statements relating to divorce or marriage, members of the public must visit the Bureau of Vital Records in Jefferson City. Persons willing to request certified records should contact the Recorder of Deeds in the county.

In Missouri, divorce records cost $15 for the initial search and copy and $15 more for additional copies. Requesting in-person will require a state-approved form of photo identification that is still valid. To order by mail, interested members of the public must download and fill the Application for a Vital Record form. The completed form will then be sent with a check/money order for fitting fees and a self-addressed envelope to;

Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
Bureau of Vital Records
P. O. Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102–0570

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