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Legal Information: Missouri


December 8, 2020

What are the grounds for divorce in Missouri?

Grounds are legally acceptable reasons for divorce. You can get a no-fault divorce in Missouri if a judge finds there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be saved, and therefore the marriage is irretrievably broken (cannot be fixed).1

If both you and your spouse agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken or if one of you tells the judge your marriage is irretrievably broken and the other person does not deny it, the judge may grant you a divorce after considering the petition and holding a hearing.2

If your spouse tells the court that s/he does not believe the marriage is irretrievably broken, the judge can only grant a fault-based divorce if you can prove at least one of the following things is true:

  1. your spouse has committed adultery, and you can’t tolerate living with him/her;
  2. your spouse has behaved in such a way that you can’t be reasonably expected to live with him/her;
  3. your spouse abandoned you for at least six uninterrupted (continuous) months before you filed for divorce;
  4. you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least 12 straight months before filing for divorce, and there was a “mutual agreement” to do so – in other words, you both agreed to the arrangement; or
  5. you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least 24 months straight before you or your spouse filed for divorce but there was not a “mutual agreement” to do so – in other words, one spouse didn’t agree to the arrangement.3

1 MO ST § 452.305
2 MO ST § 452.320(1)
3 MO ST § 452.320(2)