St Louis Legal Separation Lawyers
Helping Spouses Settle Matters for Legal Separation
Even if spouses know they cannot get along and they no longer wish to live together, they may have reasons that stop them from seeking a full dissolution of their marriage. Religious values, tax purposes, or health insurance costs may all contribute to this decision to remain legally married. However, just because you are not getting a divorce does not mean there aren’t important legal steps you should take.
Having a legal separation agreement can protect your interests when it comes to your children, property, and finances. You should always consult with a skilled St. Louis legal separation attorney about your legal rights and obligations in this situation. Call J. Rench Law Firm for more information today.
“Separate Maintenance” in Missouri
Missouri law refers to legal separation without a divorce as “separate maintenance.” Separate maintenance involves a court issuing orders and protections for each spouse without officially dissolving the marriage. The documents are similar to a divorce petition, though you do not have to cite the grounds for divorce that your marriage is irretrievably broken. If one spouse contests the separation, the spouse petitioning the court may have to prove certain grounds to justify the need for the legal separation.
A separate maintenance order will address all of the same issues in a divorce, including:
- Property and debt division
- Child custody
- Child support
- Spousal support
Even though you are still married, the court will want you to resolve all of the applicable issues prior to obtaining a legal separation order. The process of resolving these issues is similar to a divorce case, and there are different options.
First, you and your spouse may agree from the start on the necessary resolutions, and your attorney will draft the agreement and submit it to the court. If you cannot agree, your attorney can help you participate in mediation and negotiation to see if an out-of-court agreement is possible. If you still cannot agree of if one spouse still contests the separation, your attorney will represent you in court so the judge can determine the best resolution for your situation.
Contact an Experienced Legal Separation Attorney in the St. Louis Area Today
You should always discuss whether a separate maintenance order may be right for you with a trusted family law attorney, who can then help with the legal process of obtaining the order. The J. Rench Law Firm helps clients with divorce, legal separation, and family law matters in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Call 314-725-4000 or contact us online to learn more.