Divorce Overview- How Does a Divorce Start?

January 29, 2014


ANSWER: A divorce starts with filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the proper county. The spouse who files the divorce action initially is called the Petitioner. The other party is the Respondent. A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is meant to give notice to your spouse, and the Court, that you are seeking a divorce. The Petition states general information about you, your spouse, and the marriage. Here are some typical things you will see in the Petition:

a. The names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of each spouse
b. The addresses and places of employment of each spouse
c. The date and place of marriage
d. The date of separation
e. The names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of any children
f. The desired custody arrangement for any children
g. The fact there is property and debt to divide
h. Whether either party is requesting maintenance (or what used to be called alimony)

When the Petition is filed, the Petitioner (filing party) is required to pay a filing fee to the circuit clerk in the county in which they are filing. Think of the filing fee as the fee required for the privilege of using the Court system. Each county has their own filing fee, so you will need to check with the circuit clerk in the county in which you are filing for the specific fee. The range for filing fees in Missouri is $90.00 to $200.00.

By Ann R. Littell Mills
phone 417-869-9888 or 1-888-844-7518

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