Residency Requirements for Filing for Divorce in Missouri


Making the decision to divorce your spouse isn’t something you should take lightly. But if you and your spouse have grown apart or are unable to settle your differences, divorce may be the best option. Prior to filing for divorce in Missouri, you’ll need to satisfy the state’s residency requirements. Under Missouri law, at least one spouse is required to be a resident of the state to file for divorce. Here’s what your Missouri divorce lawyer wants you to know about residency requirements before you file.

Residency Requirements for Individuals

Under Missouri state law, at least one spouse must be a resident of Missouri for at least 90 days prior to filing a petition for divorce in the state. To establish residency, you or your spouse must satisfy the following:

  • You must maintain a permanent residence in Missouri.
  • You should not claim any other state as a permanent residence.

If you lived in another state within that 90-day period or claimed another state as your permanent residence, you may not be eligible to file for divorce in Missouri. This requirement is the same for spouses filing a no-fault or fault-based divorce. 

Residency Requirements for Military Service Members

The requirements for military service members are the same as those for civilians whether you’re filing a no-fault divorce or a fault-based divorce. You must be stationed in Missouri for at least 90 days prior to filing for divorce. If you haven’t been a resident of Missouri for at least three months, you’ll likely need to file in a different state.

What to Do if You Don’t Meet Those Requirements

If you fail to satisfy the residency requirements in Missouri, you’ll be unable to file for divorce in the state until you can satisfy the requirements. Here’s what to do if you don’t meet the residency requirements just yet.

Wait to File Until You Satisfy the Residency Requirements

The simplest option is to wait until you satisfy the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Missouri. Establish residency in the state by claiming Missouri as your permanent residence. This may involve registering your car, purchasing or renting housing, working in the state, and other similar tasks. Once you’ve been a resident for 90 days, you’ll be eligible to file for divorce.

File in a Different State

If you haven’t lived in Missouri for 90 days but want to file for divorce sooner, you may be able to file for divorce in your previous state of residence. You’ll want to look into local laws and regulations surrounding residency rules for divorce in your previous home state or consult with a divorce attorney based where you used to live. They’ll be able to help you navigate the process.

Informally From Your Spouse

Just because you haven’t lived in Missouri for 90 days doesn’t mean you and your spouse have to live together until you reach the 90-day mark. You can always choose to separate before filing for divorce. Keep in mind that this separation will not be a legal separation. Legal separations have the same residency requirements as filing for divorce. Instead, this will be an informal agreement between you and your spouse that may give you the space you need to enter into the divorce process on better terms.

What Happens Once You Meet the Residency Requirements

Once you’ve lived in Missouri for at least 90 days, you can work with an attorney to file for divorce from your spouse. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and help you compile all necessary documentation to get the ball rolling quickly.

Work With an Experienced Missouri Divorce Lawyer

At Columbia Family Law, we know that divorce can be stressful. Our experienced Missouri divorce lawyers are here to help you navigate the process with confidence. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.