Legal Separation Vs. Divorce In Missouri: Which Is Better?

When a married couple feels that the relationship is not as strong as it used to be, they may entertain the idea of dissolving the marriage. However, divorce is not the sole avenue available. In states like Missouri, legal separation is also a viable option. Deciding between legal separation and divorce can be quite challenging, as each option presents its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of legal separation versus divorce in Missouri and help you determine which path might be more suitable for you.

Legal separation entails obtaining a court order that explicitly outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties involved, all while maintaining the legal status of marriage. Although the couple remains married at the end of the legal separation process, they no longer reside together. It is crucial to note that legal separation does not terminate the marriage, and therefore, the couple is restricted from entering into a remarriage.

Financial Considerations

In certain instances, couples opt for legal separation due to financial challenges. For instance, one spouse may bear a substantial amount of debt that the other spouse is unwilling to assume responsibility for. In such cases, legal separation can help alleviate the financial burden on the other party.

Religious Factors

Religious beliefs often guide people’s decisions regarding marriage. In scenarios where a couple adheres to religious doctrines that prohibit divorce, legal separation serves as a viable alternative that aligns with their principles.

Children’s Well-being

When the couple has children, legal separation can present an ideal means of living separately while maintaining a level of stability for the children involved. This option allows the couple to assess whether reconciliation is possible while providing a sense of continuity for their offspring.

Continuation of Health Insurance

Upon acquiring legal separation, you may still be eligible for health insurance coverage through your spouse’s plan, ensuring that your medical needs are met.

Military Perks

Missouri extends certain benefits to military members who undergo legal separation, including housing and medical care, among others.

Time for Deliberation

If you are not yet prepared for a divorce, legal separation provides breathing room. It enables couples to live separately, work on their relationship, and reassess their decision while remaining legally married.

Divorce: A New Chapter Unfolds

Divorce, on the other hand, represents the legal termination of a marriage. Upon completion of the divorce process, the couple is no longer bound in matrimony, and both parties are released to pursue new relationships, should they so desire.

Reasons That May Lead to Divorce

Irreparable Differences

In certain cases, the relationship between spouses reaches a point where reconciliation appears unattainable. In such instances, divorce becomes an appropriate choice to pave the way for a fresh start.

Betrayal and Infidelity

Infidelity can inflict enduring damage on a relationship. Hence, when trust is irreparably broken, divorce often emerges as the most suitable path forward.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse not only erodes trust but also violates the fundamental laws of human decency. In marriages where physical abuse occurs, divorce becomes the sole means to secure the safety and wellbeing of the victim.

Advantages of Divorce

Closure and Moving Forward

Unlike legal separation, divorce provides a sense of finality. It grants individuals the opportunity to fully embrace new chapters in their lives and move on from the past.

Equitable Asset Distribution

Divorce allows for the fair distribution of assets. As Missouri follows the principle of equitable distribution, property division is based on fairness, although not necessarily equality.

Custody Arrangements

In instances where children are involved, divorce offers an opportunity to establish custody arrangements that prioritize the best interests of the child.

Conclusion: A Personal Decision

The decision between legal separation and divorce in Missouri is deeply personal and should be made after considerable deliberation. Legal separation serves as a suitable option for those who are not yet ready for a divorce, while divorce becomes imperative when the damage inflicted upon the relationship is beyond repair. It is vital to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative and consult an experienced attorney to navigate through this decision-making process successfully.

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