Legal Separation

When two people are married, they expect to remain together for the rest of their lives. However, their love for each other can grow cold for each other over time. Once this happens, a married couple can end up living apart as a separated married couple. The state of Missouri provides legal separation agreements for married couples.

Missouri courts do not support or encourage separation. However, they do allow this legal state for married couples because they realize that most marriages will eventually encounter some serious problems. Ultimately, the Missouri court system provides separation agreements to help couples reconcile their differences and to avoid divorce.

legal separation

What is the difference between separation and divorce?

Once a married couple file a separation agreement, they are expected to live apart while still married. Again, Missouri courts will give married couples this option to prevent further harm to the marriage and to each other. Also, it will provide the couple a chance of finding solutions to their marital problems.

When a couple is legally separated for at least 90 days (or 3 months), they can then legally file for a divorce. Spouses might decide to go through with a divorce if they believe that their marriage cannot be saved or if they no longer want to be married.

Just keep in mind that a legal separation order in the state of Missouri is not a divorce decree. In other words, a legally separated couple is still husband and wife. Also, a legally separated couple is still obligated to their children (if they have any) in terms of support and responsibility, namely child support. A legally separated couple in Missouri is also responsible for their spouses even though they still live apart. So, the debts, bills, assets, and any other expense or credit that each spouse has; is the responsibility of the other spouse.

For example, A spouse can start a relationship with another person during their separation if they choose. However, their actions would be considered adultery within the Missouri courts. This would provide the other spouse with legal grounds for divorce. Married couples in Missouri should remember that a legal separation agreement is not a divorce decree or dissolution. The separation agreement continues their obligation toward the marriage while they try to find solutions to their problems.

What factors are relevant in a legal separation agreement within the state of Missouri?

The judge who is presiding over the case will issue a separation agreement based on specific factors. These factors include division of property, determination of custody for minor children, and division of assets and debts. The separation agreement often includes a child custody agreement. Missouri courts will use the best interest of the child standard to determine where the kids live.

A judge will examine each parent’s relationship with their child, a parent’s mental health condition, age, ability to provide support, a child‘s routine, evaluate each parent’s history with domestic abuse, and other factors related to the care and support of a child.

How will a legal separation order impact a divorce?

Truthfully, a married couple can look at a legal separation agreement like an informal divorce decree. While they are different, a separation agreement is the exact same thing as a divorce decree. The only difference between the two is that a separation order doesn’t terminate the legal standard of marriage for each spouse. However, a divorce decree does terminate the legal standard of marriage and the spouses are no longer responsible for each other.

Why should you consider a legal separation agreement?

Married couples who reside within the state of Missouri should consider a separation order or trial separation when their marriage encounters some serious problems. This legal condition between spouses allows a couple to remain married while they try to figure out some solutions to their problems. Also, a legal separation order will give both spouses a snapshot of how life will be as a divorced couple.

Again, no married couple expects to live apart or to get divorced. Sometimes, a separation order can help to provide clarity and focus. This in turn could help a couple to reconcile. If not, a legal separation agreement will foreshadow a divorce by preparing both spouses to accept this reality in their lives. Legal separation can help both spouses to correct deficiencies within their lives. Making this type of decision could make things better for couples and help to keep their marriage intact.

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