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How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce?

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If you’ve reached the end of your marriage, you likely want to finish the divorce process as quickly and painlessly as possible. So, how long does it take to get a divorce? While Missouri law allows a divorce to be granted in as little as 30 days after the petition is filed, the reality is that divorce cases typically take much longer. Scroll down to learn about the factors that might influence the length of your divorce process.

Two wedding rings on felt broken heart on table

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in Missouri?

While divorce can be emotionally painful, the process doesn’t always take a long time. How long does it take to get a divorce in Missouri? It depends on several factors: the length of the required waiting period, the issues at hand, whether the divorce is contested, court scheduling issues, and more.

Residency Requirements and When to File

To file for a divorce in Missouri, you or your spouse must have been a resident of the state for a minimum of 90 days if you don’t share minor children. However, if you share children, the residency requirement is six months to address child custody issues. Military service members can file for divorce in Missouri if they have been stationed in the state for at least 90 days.

Divorce Waiting Period

Under R.S.Mo. 452.320(2), the court can’t grant a divorce until at least 30 days following the date of the filing of the divorce petition. When the parties agree the marriage is irretrievably broken and agree on all issues, it’s possible to get a divorce in 31 days. However, the court will need to schedule a hearing, and it is often impossible to set the hearing within that time. In most cases involving divorces in which the parties agree on everything, it will take at least 90 days to get divorced. However, if the divorce is contested, meaning the parties don’t agree on one or more issues, this time frame may be significantly extended.

Duration of an Uncontested Divorce

As mentioned above, an uncontested divorce must take at least 30 days but will likely take around three months. For an uncontested divorce to proceed quickly, the parties will need to negotiate a settlement agreement on the following issues that apply:

  • Division of debt and marital property
  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Child support
  • Spousal support

In some divorce cases, resolving these issues can be fairly straightforward. In others, it might take time to negotiate how to address some of these issues. For example, parents might agree to share custody but have different ideas about how to handle holidays and summer vacations. When there are points in contention, the parties will need to compromise to reach an agreement that is fair to both.

Length of a Contested Divorce

A contested divorce can take months or even longer to resolve, depending on the court’s calendar and whether the spouses have to litigate their issues at a divorce trial. Contested divorce cases might require multiple hearings, the filing of motions, interrogatories, and more. If the parties refuse to compromise, their divorce can drag on for a long time. In addition to a lengthy divorce process, a contested divorce can become very expensive because of the costs of litigation.

Some of the factors that can lead to a lengthy divorce process include the following:

  • A spouse pursues divorce based on fault grounds instead of seeking a no-fault divorce
  • The parties have extensive assets and must retain professionals to value their property
  • Allegations of child abuse or neglect with the appointment of a guardian ad litem
  • One spouse hiding assets, requiring the help of a forensic accountant
  • One or both spouses refusing to agree

If the issues can’t be resolved, the case will be scheduled for trial. The court’s docket will control when a trial can be scheduled. In some cases, scheduling a divorce trial could mean waiting for months.

Consult a Divorce Lawyer

Even if you think you and your spouse will be able to agree on everything, it’s a good idea to consult an experienced divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave. Minor disagreements can become major issues when a divorce is pending, and an attorney can work to secure an agreement that protects your interests. Call us today to schedule a consultation at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.

Files under: Family Law