According to state law, there is no formal requirement that a married couple lives apart for a specific amount of time prior to their divorce. While some states require mandatory separation before the divorce becomes an option, that is not the case in St. Louis. While you might not face separation requirements, there are other necessary requirements in order for you to qualify for a divorce. The failure to adhere to the requirements set out by state law and St. Louis divorce lawyer could cause significant delays in your divorce case.
Divorce is never easy, and avoidable delays can only increase the risk of conflict or frustration. The J. Rench Law Firm, LLC is ready to help you avoid the mistakes that could complicate your divorce case. Reach out for a private consultation today to learn more.
Separation Before Divorce is Unnecessary in St. Louis
There are some states that require a married couple to live separately for a minimum amount of time before they have the right to seek a divorce. In these jurisdictions, living together as spouses even for a short time will reset the clock and require a couple to wait for a divorce all over again.
Thankfully, this is not the law in Missouri. There is no requirement that married couples separate before marriage, and there is nothing preventing a couple that still lives together to pursue a divorce under the law.
Whether or not a couple separates is entirely a private matter. The couple has the final say on whether a divorce moves forward, so two people who live apart and are pursuing divorce could change their minds, move back in together, dismiss the divorce case, and remain married.
Legal Separation in St. Louis
Separation before marriage is not required by law, but the state does recognize the concept of legal separation. In Missouri, a separation is a final court order similar to a divorce. However, the end result of this order is not the dissolution of a marriage. A couple remains married under the law even though an order sets out that they are separated.
There are some similarities between the two, however. A separation order can include language regarding spousal support or the division of marital property. These orders can also set child custody or visitation rights.
Although it is not required, a judge could convert a separation into a divorce. In these situations, one or both spouses must request for the court to do so. Following this conversion, the case continues like any other divorce. However, the judge is likely to keep the terms of the separation agreement intact in the divorce decree.
There are Residency Requirements for a St. Louis Divorce
The law does not require you to separate from your wife prior to divorce, but there are some restrictions on where you can live. If you or your spouse do not meet the residency requirements of the State of Missouri, you cannot obtain a divorce in a St. Louis courtroom.
Either you or your spouse must be a resident of the State of Missouri for 90 days before you can have the standing to file for divorce in St. Louis. The only exception is if you are a military member that resides in another state. If you live elsewhere but are stationed in Missouri, you have the right to seek a divorce in the state with the help of St. Louis Divorce Lawyer.
There is one more deadline you should keep in mind when filing for divorce. Even if you have met all the qualifications and residency requirements, there is a waiting period for the judge to grant your divorce. You must wait at least 30 days from the filing of your divorce petition to finalize the order.
Talk to St. Louis Divorce Lawyer To Discuss Your Options
Although there is no requirement that you separate from your spouse prior to divorce, there are residency requirements you must comply with in order for the court to have jurisdiction over your case. For a better understanding of whether or not you meet these requirements, schedule a consultation with the J. Rench Law Firm, LLC today.