When a spouse or a couple decides to get a divorce, it is often a hard decision to make. Many people want the process to go as quickly as possible. There are several things that affect the length of your divorce, depending on your unique situation and relationship. A Springfield divorce attorney can help you get through proceedings more efficiently, protecting you and your family’s interests during the divorce.

The Residency Requirements Before Filing

For some couples, the first thing that may lengthen the process of divorce is the residency requirement. At least one spouse must have been a resident of Missouri for at least 90 days before the divorce can be filed. An active member of the military can also file in the state if they have been stationed in Missouri for 90 days. You may have to wait until you meet the requirements to file for divorce, which will lengthen the process.

Required Waiting Period

After a divorce petition is filed with the court, it cannot grant the divorce for 30 days. This is the state’s required waiting period, and it is the absolute minimum amount of time you can take to get a divorce. If you and your spouse are able to agree on a separation agreement, prepare it, and have a hearing with the judge, the divorce can be granted after those 30 days.

What Impacts the Length of a Divorce?

It is rare for a divorce to be finalized 30 days after it is filed. This is due to many factors, including:

Is the Divorce Contested?

Divorces in Missouri can be contested or uncontested. This depends on a couple’s ability to agree on aspects of divorce, such as spousal maintenance, division of marital property, child support, and child custody.

If a couple can agree on all these issues, or they need very little court involvement to negotiate these issues, their divorce is uncontested. An uncontested divorce typically takes a minimum of 30 days or a few months to resolve.

If spouses cannot reach an agreement on one or more of these aspects, or they do not even agree that they should be getting divorced, their divorce is contested. A contested divorce will take much longer than an uncontested divorce, especially if it goes to court. It may take several months or more than a year. Contested divorces are also much more expensive. If your divorce is litigated, it could even take several years to resolve.

Are Spouses Willing to Work Together?

Some contested divorces can be negotiated outside of court if spouses are willing to cooperate and work together. In both uncontested and contested divorces, the process will go more quickly when spouses are willing to compromise outside of court. Because a separation agreement requires the approval of both spouses, it will only be finalized when they both agree.

If spouses are unwilling to work together, or one spouse has more power over the other, and litigation is more effective at protecting the other spouse’s rights, the case will be litigated. This will take longer.

How Busy Is the Court?

Uncontested divorces must go to court for the granting and finalization of their separation agreement. Contested divorces often go to court for multiple hearings. Each court date will rely on the schedule of the court. Even if you and your spouse have a finalized agreement after the 30-day waiting period, you may have to wait longer due to the court being busy.

Does the Couple Have Children?

If you and your spouse have children, this makes the process longer. There are a lot of important and specific decisions that have to be made when creating a parenting plan and determining child support payments. Spouses can reach an agreement outside of court, but it must be approved by the court.


Q: How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce If Both Parties Agree in Missouri?

A: In an uncontested divorce, the shortest amount of time a divorce can take in Missouri is 30 days. However, this also relies on the schedule availability of the court. It also depends on whether a couple can reach an agreement on aspects such as property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance. Even when both parties agree on obtaining a divorce, the specifics of the separation agreement may require negotiation.

Q: Does Missouri Have a 30-Day Waiting Period for Divorce?

A: Yes, Missouri has a 30-day waiting period, starting from the day the divorce petition is filed until the day the divorce can be granted. You can only file the divorce petition if you or your spouse meet the state’s residency requirements. The waiting period may be longer if you and your spouse have to negotiate the terms of a separation agreement. A contested divorce or a litigated divorce will take much longer, possibly months or more than a year.

Q: Can a Spouse Refuse a Divorce in Missouri?

A: No, a spouse cannot refuse to get a divorce. A spouse can contest the divorce if they disagree with the terms of separation or disagree about getting a divorce. However, this will not prevent the divorce from occurring, as all the court must find is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In some cases, this will result in the court granting a legal separation, which can then be converted into a divorce.

If a spouse refuses to be served the divorce papers or respond to the petition, the filing spouse may be able to obtain a default divorce.

Q: How Long Does a Default Divorce Take in Missouri?

A: A default divorce may take 60 days or more to finalize. If you are the spouse filing for divorce, you must wait for at least 30 days after serving your spouse for their response. If there has been no response, and you have made a good-faith effort to obtain a response from them, you can request a default divorce.

The judge will set a date for this hearing, and your spouse will be informed of this hearing and be given time to appear at it. If your spouse does not appear, the judge will likely grant you the requests you made in the initial divorce petition and, in 30 days, it will be finalized.

Contact Stange Law Firm in Springfield

At Stange Law Firm, we want to help you efficiently resolve your divorce without compromising your interests and the needs of you and your family. Contact our team today.