Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce in Missouri

If you and your spouse have decided that you no longer want to live together, you may find that a legal separation is a better fit for your situation than divorce. Though in casual parlance, the term “separated” might connote simply living apart while you make a final decision regarding your marriage, a legal separation is a formal, court-sanctioned process that spouses may choose to pursue for a variety of reasons.

Just like in divorce, a legal separation involves negotiation of child custody, child support, visitation, spousal support, and division of assets. It’s a significant process to go through, but you might find that it is a better option than divorce in the following circumstances:

  • Religious or moral reasons prevent you from divorcing.
  • Eligibility for government benefits, such as Social Security, or health insurance benefits requires that you stay legally married (though, in some cases, legal separation makes you ineligible for these benefits).
  • There is a tax benefit for staying married.
  • You believe there is a possibility of eventual reconciliation with your spouse.
  • You desire to be financially separate from your spouse.

The main difference between a divorce and a legal separation is at the end of the process, your marriage is NOT legally terminated in a legal separation.  If you and your spouse agree, you can also “undo” the legal separation and be legally married again.  Though a legal separation means you will remain married to your spouse, it is still a formal agreement that should be entered into with the advice of an attorney.

With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. Contact Jones Family Law Group, LLC today for any questions or to set up a consultation.