By: Attorney Shira Truitt
Divorce is a legal process that dissolves a marriage and determines the rights and responsibilities of each spouse. While the general process of divorce is similar across the United States, each state has its own unique laws and regulations that govern the process. In this article, we will explore the differences between Illinois and Missouri divorce laws and procedures.
First, it's important to understand that both Illinois and Missouri are "no-fault" divorce states, which means that either spouse can initiate a divorce without having to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. Instead, the spouse seeking the divorce must only show that there are irreconcilable differences between the two parties.
One significant difference between Illinois and Missouri divorce laws is the required length of separation before filing for divorce. In Illinois, a couple must live separate and apart for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. In Missouri, the required separation period is ninety days.
Another difference is the way that property is divided in the event of a divorce. In Illinois, the court follows a principle of "equitable distribution," which means that the court will divide the couple's property in a way that it believes is fair, but not necessarily equal. In Missouri, the court follows the principle of "equitable division," which means that the court will divide the couple's property as equally as possible.
Child custody and support are also governed differently in Illinois and Missouri. In Illinois, the court will consider the best interests of the child when making a custody determination. This includes factors such as the child's relationship with each parent, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, and the physical and mental health of the parents. In Missouri, the court will consider the best interests of the child and will also consider the child's preference if the child is twelve years of age or older.
Finally, Illinois and Missouri have different requirements for the divorce process itself. In Illinois, the spouse seeking the divorce must file a petition for dissolution of marriage and serve it on the other spouse. The other spouse has thirty days to respond, and the court will schedule a hearing if necessary. In Missouri, the spouse seeking the divorce must file a petition for dissolution of marriage and serve it on the other spouse. The other spouse has thirty days to respond, and the court will schedule a hearing if necessary.
While the general process of divorce is similar in Illinois and Missouri, there are significant differences in the laws and procedures that govern the process. It is important to understand these differences if you are considering a divorce in either state.
Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/
Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 452
If you need legal advice or a lawyer in Illinois or Missouri, please contact The Truitt Law Firm, LLC for assistance. For more information on The Truitt Law Firm, LLC or to schedule an appointment, please go to www.thetruittlawfirm.com.