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Missouri Dissolution of Marriage Definitions

This collection of definitions will help clarify some unique characteristics to the Missouri Dissolution of Marriage laws, process and paperwork which is filed with the court.

Filing Party Title:
Petitioner

The spouse who will initiate the Dissolution of Marriage by filing the required paperwork with the court.

Non-Filing Party Title:
Respondent

The spouse who does not initiate the Dissolution of Marriage with the court.

Court Name:
In the Circuit Court of __________ County, Missouri

The proper name of the court in which a Dissolution of Marriage is filed in the state of Missouri. Each jurisdictional court typically has a domestic relations or a family law department or division.

Child Support Enforcement Website:
http://www.dss.state.mo.us/cse/

The state run office devoted to enforcing existing child support orders and collecting any past due child support.

Document Introduction:
In Re the Marriage of:

The lead-in verbiage used in the legal caption or header of the documents filed with the court. The introduction typically prefaces both spouse’s names.

Initial Dissolution of Marriage Document:
Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The title and name of the legal document that will initiate the Missouri Dissolution of Marriage process. The filing spouse is also required to provide the non-filing spouse a copy of this document.

Final Dissolution of Marriage Document:
Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

The title and name of the legal document that will finalize the Missouri Dissolution of Marriage process. This document will be signed by the judge, master, or referee of the court to declare your marriage officially terminated.

Clerk’s Office Name:
Office of the Clerk of the County Circuit Court

The office of the clerk that will facilitate the Dissolution of Marriage process. This is the title you would address letters to or ask for when contacting the courthouse.

Legal Separation:

The grounds for legal separation in Missouri are an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which may include the following factors: (1) adultery; (2) abandonment; (3) separation caused by misconduct in the 12 months before filing the petition; (4) spousal behavior that the other spouse cannot reasonably be expected to live with; and (5) living separate and apart continuously for 24 months. One of the spouses must be a resident of Missouri for 90 days before filing for legal separation. [Annotated Missouri Statutes; Title 30, Chapter 452, Sections 305 and 320].

Property Distribution:
Equitable Distribution

The applicable Missouri law that will dictate how property and debt is to be divided upon Dissolution of Marriage.