THE PROCESS OF LEGALLY SEPARATING IN MO
Posted: January 19, 2018
As an alternative to divorce, Missouri revised statutes set forth a procedure for legal separation, which is formerly referred to as “separate maintenance” in the state. Separate maintenance does not terminate the marriage, but instead issues orders that are similar to those involved in a divorce, such as property division, alimony, custody, visitation, and child support.
In Missouri, the grounds for legal separation are the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage that may also include adultery, separation caused by misconduct in the year prior to filing, abandonment, living apart and separate for two years, and spousal behavior that the other partner cannot reasonably be expected to live with. One of the spouses must live in Missouri for at least 90 days before filing.
The process starts when one spouse files a petition his or her county’s circuit court. The court enters a judgment of legal separation when it finds that the marriage is not irretrievably broken and there is a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.