Are You Considering A Legal Separation?
If your marriage is on the rocks but you don’t want to get a divorcee at this point, what other options are open to you? Perhaps a legal separation could meet your needs. Basically, this means that the marriage is not officially terminated, but “separate maintenance” is established. It is a good solution for many people.
Why Not Just Divorce?
For some couples, divorce is just not a practical option, but living as a married couple is not working any more. Cases where a legal separation might be a reasonable course of action include:
- You want the tax benefits of filing jointly;
- You know that you need to be married for 10+ years in order to collect military and/or Social Security benefits based on a spouse’s history;
- Only one of you has health insurance benefits, and a divorce would eliminate them for the other;
- Your religious beliefs prohibit divorce;
- You cannot afford to live in separate dwellings, but do not wish to live as husband and wife;
- You aren’t entirely sure that you want to give up on your marriage altogether.
- The grounds for legal separation in Missouri are similar to those required in a divorce:
- Living apart for two or more years;
- Misconduct within a year of filing;
- Behavior that one partner cannot be expected to tolerate.
In order to obtain a legal separation, one partner must file a petition for separate maintenance. If they can put forth a convincing argument that the marriage still has potential, custody and support issues will be addressed, as well as issues related to property disposition, spousal support, and any other necessary issues. After 30 days, the legal separation may be granted, which is essentially like a divorce except that it requires only a dismissal should the couple reconcile.
Benefits of Legal Separation
The obvious benefit of choosing legal separation over divorce is that both spouses get some space without making a permanent break from one another. Getting back together would not require remarrying. As the couple works to address marital issues, they don’t have to worry about issues like insurance, tax implications, religious consequences, or other problems that might come with divorce. If, ultimately, the couple decides that a divorce is the best course of action, moving forward will be relatively simple, as much of the work would already have been done.
Is Legal Separation Right for You?
If you are serious about needing a break, but not sure it’s the right time for divorce, a legal separation may be just the ticket for you. To discuss the implications and process, schedule a confidential consultation with the Springfield legal separation attorneys at Courtney & Mills in our office today.