File For Divorce in Springfield, MO

Understanding Divorce in Springfield: Laws & Costshuman shaped figurines of a family with a human hand holding each side to symbolize divorce in Missouri.

Are you considering a divorce? At the Shuler Law Firm, LLC, our Springfield, MO, divorce lawyers have over 20 years of experience representing clients facing complex family matters. Our decades of insight can help you make the best decision at every turn to ensure that your rights are protected, and your future is preserved.

Filing for Divorce in Missouri: Who Should File First?

Yes, it can matter who files for divorce first in Missouri. The person who files first is called the "petitioner," and the other person is called the "respondent." The petitioner has the initial advantage in the divorce process, as they are the one who sets the pace of the case and determines to address the divorce issues. But on the other hand, the respondent can respond to the petition and ask for changes to the divorce terms.

There are a few advantages to filing for divorce first in Missouri:

  1. The petitioner can choose the judge who will hear the case. Choosing a judge can be essential if the petitioner prefers a particular judge or believes a certain judge will be more sympathetic to their case.
  2. The petitioner can ask for temporary orders, such as restraining orders or orders for child custody, before finalizing the case.
  3. The petitioner can start the process of dividing assets and debts sooner.

However, there are also some disadvantages to filing for divorce first in Missouri:

  1. The petitioner may be required to pay the respondent's attorney fees if they cannot afford them.
  2. The petitioner may be more likely to pay alimony or child support.
  3. The petitioner may be less likely to get what they want in the divorce settlement if the respondent is willing to fight for what they want.

Ultimately, deciding whether to file for divorce first in Missouri is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer, and the best decision for someone may not be the best for another.

Therefore, it is essential to talk to our Springfield divorce attorneys to discuss your options and to get direction on how to proceed.

Whatever you face in a Missouri divorce, we are ready to be at your side to face those challenges. We understand this is an overwhelmingly emotional time in your life, and our team of divorce lawyers know how to help you secure the resolution you need.

Comprehensive Guide to Missouri Divorce FAQs

  1. What is a “dissolution of marriage”?
    This term is used in Missouri, but it’s synonymous with “divorce”. It technically means that the bonds of matrimony are dissolved.
  2. What are the grounds for divorce in Missouri?
    Missouri is a no-fault divorce state. This means that to get a divorce there doesn’t need to be any proof of fault. Instead, a divorce can be granted because the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.
  3. What other factors do the courts consider?
    Although Missouri is a no-fault divorce state, some factors the courts might still consider are:
    1. Adultery committed
    2. Living apart before filing divorce
      - 12 months (willingly) OR
      - 24 months (unwillingly)
    3. Criminal activity
    4. Spouse abandoned for 6+ months
  4. Are there any residency requirements?
    Yes. One of the spouses must have established residency for at least 90 days before the couple can file for divorce.
  5. How is property split during a divorce?
    Missouri divides property based on “equitable distribution”. The courts will split the property based on what they determine is fair, but they will not use a 50/50 standard. Some factors involved in this decision include:
    1. Each spouse’s financial situation
    2. How much each spouse contributed to the attained property
    3. Value of non-marital property
    4. Spouse’s conduct
    5. Where are the children going to live

Contact Our Springfield Divorce Lawyers for a Free Consultation

From uncontested divorces to contested child custody disputes, our Springfield divorce lawyer knows how to handle it all. We are well-prepared to protect your interests and help you preserve your right to build a stronger, brighter future. Discover how our dedicated legal team can help you.


Call (417) 288-4433 or contact us online to request your free phone consultation today.