Getting a divorce in Kansas City, MO

City of Fountains sprawls over parts of four counties

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Writing about divorce in Kansas City can be confusing. For example, the distinction first must be drawn between Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri: the grounds for divorce are different in the two states, for one thing.

Second county seat, but center of local government

Also, Kansas City, MO includes parts of four counties, primarily Jackson County; however the northwestern part of the city extends into Platte County, while north Kansas City is in Clay County and the south part of the city dips into Cass County. If that’s not enough, Jackson has two county seats. According to this Swarthmore College page, “Although Independence retains its status as the original county seat, Kansas City serves as a second county seat and the center of county government.” (For insight into more such oddities, read “Missouri’s County Seats Might As Well Be Musical Chairs.”)

Addressing domestic violence

Please see “Divorce in Missouri” for an overview of state law and to understand the importance of counseling for the potentially traumatic process that divorce entails, plus the urgent need to immediately address domestic violence if such is present in the relationship. Local domestic violence resources include (see linked article for statewide resources):

County courts contact info

In Missouri, Petitioner (the one who files) or Respondent (the one who gets filed on, with the opportunity to respond or ignore, thereby allowing petition to be granted by default) must have lived in the state at least 90 days before the filing, which can be made in the county where either party resides:

Respondent can ask for venue change for children’s sake

The residency requirements extend to military personnel who have been stationed in Missouri for at least 90 days. Applicable to civilian and military parties, according to section 452.300.5, the respondent has a provision for moving the venue to the respondent’s county.

If an original proceeding is commenced in the county in which the petitioner resides, upon motion by the respondent filed prior to the filing of a responsive pleading, the court in which the proceeding is commenced may transfer the proceeding to the county in which the respondent resides if:

  1. The county in which the respondent resides had been the county in which the children resided during the ninety days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding; or
  2. The best interest of the children will be served if the proceeding is transferred to the county in which the respondent resides because:
  3. (a) The children and at least one parent have a significant connection with the county; and

    (b) There is substantial evidence concerning the present or future care, protection and personal relationships of the children in the county.

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