CMH tries to provide an accurate, organized, and up-to-date FAQ page to answer basic questions on family law issues and other law related topics in Missouri. This website and FAQ’s are to be used for information only. They are not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice and/or a consultation, please contact Christine Miller Hendrix to schedule your no obligation consultation.


  • Should I move out of the marital residence?

    You should consult with an attorney before moving out of the family residence. Factors you should consider and discuss with an attorney should include the following: 1. Whether your name is on the deed to the family residence 2. Whether you pay (or contribute toward) the mortgage on the family residence 3. Whether you and your spouse have minor children who reside in the family residence
  • What if I don’t want a divorce?

    Your spouse has a legal right to be divorced, even if you want to remain married. You might suggest that you and your spouse try marriage counseling, before your spouse files a Petition for Dissolution.
  • Must I have my spouse’s cooperation?

    Having your spouse’s cooperation will simplify the divorce process. A contested ("adversarial”) divorce can be time consuming and difficult.
  • Is there a residency requirement to get divorced in Missouri?

    One of the spouses must have been a resident of the State of Missouri for at least 90 days prior to the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. However, there are additional concerns that must be addressed if the other spouse is not a resident of the State of Missouri, which should be discussed with an attorney prior to filing.
  • What grounds do I need to get a divorce?

    o In Missouri, a party need only allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved, in order to petition for a Dissolution of Marriage.
  • How do I get a divorce?

    To start the divorce (dissolution) process, you or your spouse will need to file a Petition for Dissolution with the court, and will need to pay a filing fee when filing the Petition. The Petition and accompanying documents will then need to be served on your spouse. You should consult with an attorney before filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.


  • Can I modify child support?

    Yes. Child Support can be modified at any time until the child is emancipated. You must establish that there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances since the prior order.
  • Will my ex’s new spouse’s income be used for determining child support?

    No. A spouse’s income is not used to determine child support.
  • Can I modify child custody and/or visitation?

    Yes. Child custody and/or visitation can be modified if there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances and/or is necessary to serve the best interests of the child

Legal separation

  • What is a legal separation?

    A legal separation is a cause of action that results in a judgment from a court of law, and is more than simply living in separate residences.
  • What is the difference between Legal Separation and Divorce?

    The simple answer is that at the end of a Legal Separation, you are still married. On the other hand, your marital status is terminated and you are “single” at the end of a divorce. Other than this very important difference, the process, laws, and legal system that you must navigate are identical. It is also important to note that a Legal Separation is not a mandatory step in the process of Divorce.

Maintenance (aka alimony)

  • How is spousal support taxed?

    Usually, spousal support is tax deductible for the paying spouse and taxable income for the person receiving maintenance.
  • Can we work out a support agreement without going to court?

    Yes. Mediation can help you solve disagreements about money issues, like spousal or partner and child support and property. Once an agreement is reached through mediation, however, the document must still be properly presented to a court for approval and entry of a Judgment.
  • What if my employer threatens to fire me because of a wage assignment?

    It is illegal for any employer to discriminate, retaliate, or fire an employee because of the existence of a wage

Child Custody

  • How does a judge decide whom to award custody to and whether it will be sole or joint custody?

    When determining to whom to award custody and whether it is sole custody or joint custody, the judge presiding over your case will consider the following factors: • The wishes of the parents and their proposed parenting plans • The child's need to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, as well as the parents' willingness and abilities to facilitate that • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings and others who may impact the child's best interests • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent • The child's adjustment to school, home and community • Any history of abuse • The wishes of the child • The intention of either parent to relocate

Child Support

  • How is child support calculated in the state of Missouri?

    The Missouri Supreme Court has established a Rule that governs the calculation of child support, and a specific form that is used in this calculation. There are multiple factors that must be considered when calculating child support. Christine Miller Hendrix has the experience to ensure that possible relevant factors are considered in achieving a fair and accurate child support amount.
  • What do I do if my ex-spouse won’t pay child support?

    If a parent obligated by court order to pay child support, is refusing to pay child support, then the parent entitled to receive child support can take action to enforce the child support order. If you are having problems collecting child support, you can hire a Missouri family law attorney to assist you or you can contact the Family Support Division of the Missouri Department of Social Services, also known as the FSD.


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