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Missouri Divorce Laws Continued



Even though there is no specific statute that addresses changing a spouses name as part of a petition for dissolution of marriage, a person may petition the circuit court for a name change. The petition shall set forth the petitioner's full name, the new name desired, and a concise statement of the reason for such desired change. The court will grant the name change if such judge is satisfied that the desired change would be proper and not detrimental to the interests of any other person. [Based on Missouri Revised Statutes, Sections 527.270]


If the parents can't reach a mutual agreement concerning custody of the children, the court shall determine custody based on the best interests of the child, considering all relevant factors including:

  • The wishes of the parents concerning custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;
  • The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively involved in meeting the needs of the child;
  • The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
  • The adjustment of the child to the child's home, school, and community;
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved;
  • The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and
  • The wishes of a child as to the child's custodial parent.

When determining custody, there shall be no preference given to either parent in the awarding of custody because of that parent's age, sex, or financial status, nor because of the age or sex of the child. [Based on Missouri Revised Statutes, Sections 452.375]


The courts use the "Income Shares" model for child support, meaning that the level of support is based on the combined income of both parents. The Missouri child support guidelines contain specific, descriptive and numeric criteria which will result in a computation of the support obligation. Child support that will be ordered, based on the Schedule of Basic Child Support Obligation . [Based on Missouri Revised Statutes, Sections 452.340 and 452.335]

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