Family law is a legal practice area that addresses matters relating to familial relationships, including marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, and other related topics. This comprehensive guide aims to provide a detailed overview of family law in the context of Missouri statutes.

What is Family Law?

Family law is an area of the legal field that deals with a variety of issues related to family relationships. These can encompass a vast array of situations, ranging from marriage and cohabitation to divorce or separation, child custody and visitation rights, child and spousal support, paternity, and adoption. It also covers complex issues such as domestic violence, guardianship, and grandparents' rights.

Missouri Family Law: An Overview

In the State of Missouri, family law is governed by a specific set of statutes designed to regulate familial matters. These laws are primarily encompassed within the Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapters 452 and 453, which detail marriage, dissolution of marriage, child custody, support obligations, and the adoption process.

Marriage and Divorce in Missouri

Missouri law recognizes only marriages between two people, irrespective of gender. Missouri divorce law operates on a "no-fault" basis, meaning that neither spouse needs to prove the other did something wrong to get a divorce. The only requirement is that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Child Custody and Support in Missouri

When it comes to child custody and support, Missouri courts prioritize the best interests of the child. Several factors come into play when determining child custody, including the wishes of the child's parents, the child's needs, and the parents' ability to meet those needs. Child support is calculated using a formula set by Missouri law, considering the financial resources and needs of the child and the parents.

Adoption Laws in Missouri

Adoption laws in Missouri aim to protect the best interests of the child while respecting the rights of biological and adoptive parents. Prospective adoptive parents must undergo a home study and meet other requirements before adopting a child.

Spousal Support and Property Division

Missouri law allows for the award of spousal support or maintenance in certain cases after considering factors such as the financial resources of both parties, the standard of living during the marriage, and the time necessary for a spouse to acquire education or training for appropriate employment. Missouri follows an "equitable distribution" model for property division, meaning that the court will divide marital property in a manner that is fair, but not necessarily equal.


Understanding family law in Missouri is crucial for navigating familial disputes or changes effectively. From knowing the specifics of child custody law in Missouri to comprehending the intricate details of divorce proceedings, a thorough understanding can significantly impact the resolution of these matters. To best navigate these challenges, consider seeking the counsel of a skilled Missouri family law attorney who is knowledgeable about the unique nuances of Missouri's family law statutes.