How to Change My Divorce From Uncontested to Contested in Jackson County, Missouri

by Jennifer Williams Google
A divorce in any Missouri county starts as a contested proceeding.

A divorce in any Missouri county starts as a contested proceeding.

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Divorces in Missouri, including Jackson County, start as contested proceedings. The divorce is only considered uncontested after the spouses agree on all issues. This includes property division, spousal support, child custody, visitation and child support. This agreement is only valid once it is reduced to writing, signed by both parties and submitted to the court. However, if you change your mind after signing and submitting the agreement, you may change the proceeding back to contested by withdrawing the agreement.

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Step 1

Draft a Motion to Withdraw Marital Settlement Agreement. Sample motions withdrawing a court filing are available online for free and from online legal document providers. Enter the name of the court and Jackson as the county. Name it "Wife's (or Husband's) Motion to Withdraw Settlement Agreement." In the body of the motion state that you wish to withdraw the marital settlement agreement. Sign and date the motion.

Step 2

File the motion in Jackson County Family Court. File it as soon as you decide you want to change back to a contested proceeding, as Missouri courts can sign off on any marital settlement agreement as soon as 31 days after filing of the petition for divorce. Ask the court clerk for three file-stamped copies of the motion.

Step 3

Deliver one file-stamped copy of the motion directly to the judge's chambers as a "courtesy copy." This ensures that the judge sees the motion immediately and significantly reduces the risk that she will sign off on the marital settlement agreement before realizing a motion to withdraw it has been filed. Serve one copy on your spouse, and keep a copy for your records.

Step 4

Be prepared to explain why you've changed your mind about the agreement if the judge requires a hearing on your motion to withdraw the settlement agreement. Family courts favor agreements between the parties over dictating an outcome. Thus, the judge may be reluctant to throw out the agreement without a discussion.