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How Long Do You Have to Be Separated to Get a Divorce in Missouri?
There are no official separation requirements for divorcing couples in Missouri. They must, however, undergo a 30-day wait period after filing for divorce. The couple must live apart from each other during this wait period.
The court sets the minimal requirements on what makes up “living apart.” In some cases, it is possible for couples to actually live apart in the same house provided that they live and sleep separately.
Separation comes in several forms. Some are temporary and short-term while others take years. It may be an informal separation with the spouses making their own agreements.
Separation and divorce
It is often true that some couples decide not to get divorced while they are separated. They are still convinced that their marriage can be saved even though it’s broken. Thus, they opt for legal separation instead of a divorce to ensure that marital assets, debts, child custody, child support, alimony and other issues are straightened out during their separation.
In some cases, the couple then reconcile and dismiss the legal separation option. In other cases, efforts to reconcile fall through and divorce is chosen over legal separation
A legal separation is a court-decreed right for a couple to live apart. It carries the rights and obligations of divorced persons, without actually ending the marriage.
Missouri recognizes legal separation and, in fact, encourages couples to choose it before filing for divorce. Missouri law states that legal separation is designed to give couples the opportunity to resolve their differences while apart.
Legal separation is not always a popular option. A couple has to sign a separation agreement that is nearly like a settlement agreement that one signs in a divorce. You must, in essence, define all issues such as alimony and child support like you would in a divorce. Many couples simply settle for an uncontested divorce since the amount of work required is basically the same for either a separation or divorce.
Missouri separation Laws
Matters involving marital property, debts, alimony, child custody, and child support need to be settled by couples who are parting ways. This makes a separation agreement absolutely necessary whether a couple is seeking a legal separation or a divorce.
The terms of a separation agreement have a substantial impact on a divorce once they have been put in place. Which is why they must be taken seriously. Talk with an experienced divorce attorney who is familiar with Missouri separation laws.
Legal separations are official and final, but do not provide a lasting solution since they do not dissolve a marriage. The separation order may cover issues similarly found in a divorce decree, including division of assets, child custody, and spousal support. Parties, however, are not allowed to sell their property, incur large debts, or remarry. They will need to convert their separation order into a divorce order to resolve their case.
A Missouri judge can convert a separation order into a final divorce decree after 90 days have passed from when the couple separated. Either party can request the court to convert the legal separation to a divorce order, if they are unable to resolve their marital problems. If, after 90 days, they decide that they still aren’t ready to get back together, they can extend the separation period if they are satisfied with the conditions currently in place. Either spouse, as an alternative, may file a motion to cancel the separation order.
Consult an experienced Missouri divorce attorney
You must hire an experienced divorce attorney to represent you. If you would rather represent yourself, you will surely be at a disadvantage in the courtroom and in settlement negotiations. If you own a significant amount of assets, or if you have children, consult an attorney to protect your interests.
Contact Shea Kohl Law, LC and talk to us about your situation. Let us help you make the right choices in your case. Call us today at (636) 946-9999 for a free consultation or email us through our online contact form.
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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.