Legal Separation Missouri

Considering a Legal Separation Missouri? You may be wondering what the process for legal separation is like in Missouri, and how it is different than a divorce. A trusted Springfield family law attorney answers all your questions here.

Legal Separation Missouri

Missouri revised statutes have established an alternative to divorce in Missouri: a procedure called legal separation. In this procedure, the court does not end the marriage but creates orders comparable to those in a divorce.

This can be a good step for couples who are struggling but are not ready to fully call it quits. A legal separation Missouri establishes some safeguards to protect the financial and legal rights of both parties and any other family members involved, but it is not a final end to the marriage.

The process begins by filing a petition for legal separation in county courts; this paperwork is reviewed by the court system and a decree is made. The legal separation can be undone by requesting the court ruling be dismissed.

Legal Separation in Missouri

At Masterson Law, we understand that no one wants to be put in a position to consider legal separation in Missouri. However, life happens, and sometimes it becomes necessary.

If you are wondering about what the differences are between legal separation Missouri and divorce, what the process is like, or what the benefits of separation are, we can help. Read on or reach out to an experienced family and divorce law attorney today.

Legal Separation in MO

A legal separation in Missouri is initiated when one partner files a separate maintenance petition. The court then enters a legal separation judgment when it deems that there is a reasonable chance that the marriage isn’t irretrievably broken and that it could be preserved. This also means that to the extent of its jurisdiction, the court has considered each child’s support and provision for custody along with the disposition of property and the support of either spouse.

After the petition is filed, 30 days have to pass before a legal separation is granted by the court. A ruling of separate maintenance grants the couple the legal protections similar to those of a divorce without formally ending the marriage. A legal separation is a suitable alternative to divorce if the couple has hopes for reconciliation. The separation judgment needs to simply be dismissed to allow a full reconciliation since the couple remains married.

Missouri Legal Separation

A Missouri Legal Separation starts the process of separating you and your partner’s lives and assets. Although it is not final or irreversible like a divorce, it is an important step because it lays the groundwork for the fair division of responsibilities and property. For instance, when a legal separation Missouri is enacted, the court may mandate that your estranged spouse pays for certain things and can help you if your spouse does not follow through.

Benefits Missouri Legal Separation

There is a number of benefits to legal separation Missouri. For example, if you and your spouse own a house, the legal separation agreement will outline who pays for what in addition to who will live in the home. If you rent a home, landlord-tenant relationships may change with your legal separation too. Home maintenance involves issues like utilities, mortgage payments, and lawn care which need to be thought about and outlined in a legal separation agreement: who is accountable for which part of the home’s maintenance?

Most couples have shared credit accounts, checking accounts, and savings accounts. A separation agreement would specify whether or not both spouses maintain access to these accounts. It might stipulate that all bank accounts be closed and have accounts opened in their own names.

It might also stipulate which spouse pays what monies on any joint credit accounts that the couple holds. All issues pertaining to the way money is spent and who’s responsible for what is outlined so that both spouses will be protected. An experienced family litigation attorney in Missouri can help you resolve this if you need assistance.

Most importantly, a legal separation agreement will protect you from being responsible for any debt acquired by your spouse during the separation period if you live in an equitable distribution state. You don’t get this protection under a legal separation agreement if you live in a community property state.

Missouri Separation Agreement

A contract signed by spouses, a separation agreement is designed to resolve debt, child, and property-related problems. Depending on the situation of the marriage, this may be a thorough and complex document. Many couples consult with an attorney like those at Masterson Law LLC for assistance on preparing their separation agreement.

Filing for Legal Separation in Missouri

Legal Separation Papers Missouri

The petition for legal separation in Missouri is filed in the residential county of either spouse and may be moved to the county in which the respondent resides if that county was the residence of their kids throughout the immediate 90 days prior to the filing. Alternatively, the best interest of the children will be served if the case is transferred to the residential county of the respondent if the kids and at least one parent has a significant connection with the county and there is considerable evidence regarding the current or future protection, personal relationships, and care of the children.

Missouri Revised Statutes Section 452.310 holds that the petition has to include the marriage’s date and location as well as the date on which physical separation occurred. It must also determine the ages and names of any children in addition to any agreements made by the couple concerning financial support and custody of the children. It is important to note that a petition doesn’t request that the marriage is terminated.

When there are children involved in a legal separation Missouri, it’s in your best interests to consult with a family law attorney to ensure that your kids are protected.

Legal Separation Missouri Laws

While Missouri is a state that does not require a couple to establish grounds for obtaining a divorce or separation, if a member of the union refuses to grant the separation, then it may become necessary to show the need for the divorce or separation. The reasons for which a legal separation could be filed are much like those for divorce and may include:

  • The irreversible collapse of a marriage
  • A spouse committed adultery and there’s absolutely no comprehension of the relationship being “open”
  • Abandonment by one partner for six or more consecutive months prior to filing for divorce
  • There’s been a separation in the past year due to misconduct by one of the parties
  • One of the parties has been involved in criminal activity
  • There is a record of poor spousal behavior
  • The couple has been living apart for at least two years

Before filing, one party must have lived in Missouri for at least 90 days. To go into effect, a legal separation requires at least 30 days from the time of filing. Since the couple stays married, the only thing they need to do so as to terminate the separation in the case of dispute resolution and reconciliation is to dismiss the court ruling. As soon as this is disregarded, the couple is able to have complete legal reconciliation.

Legal Separation in Missouri vs Divorce

They’re not a permanent solution, but legal separations are final orders. They don’t annul or dissolve a marriage. If a judge issues a legal separation arrangement, your partner and you are restrained from getting remarried, selling assets, or incurring debts. A separation order may cover issues that would be included in a decree of divorce, such as alimony awards, property division, and child custody. To finalize your case, you’ll want to convert your separation order to a divorce order.

Missouri law allows a judge if at least 90 days have elapsed since the separation order has been entered to convert a separation order. As an alternative, either partner could file a motion to set aside the separation order. You’re free to remarry and get a fresh start on life once you’ve had a divorce. Sometimes, you could be responsible for your spouse’s debts incurred during a separation interval. Assets acquired and income gained during a separation period are still considered part of the marital estate. Your income is yours when you are divorced and your ex-spouse can’t maintain an interest in your earnings or property.

The elements of a separation order comprise judicial findings and often form the basis for prospective divorce orders. It’s uncommon for household circumstances to change radically enough to justify a change into the orders of a judge. Frequently, the terms put forth on your separation arrangement will mirror the conditions contained in a divorce decree.

For questions on divorce, family law, and legal separation in Missouri contact a trusted Springfield attorney.

CONTACT SUMMER

Summer Masterson-Goethals
Consumer and family lawyer, former legal aid attorney and Missouri Bar Leadership Academy member, Springfield Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree. Site Map

Masterson Law
1771 S. Fremont
Springfield, MO 65804
(417) 522-1280

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