Top 7 Checklist for Marriage Separation in St. Louis, Missouri

When you are seeking a legal marriage separation agreement to be granted by a judge, you must state several items and make many decisions in advance. It is a complex process and most people hire a divorce or family law attorney in St. Louis, Missouri to help them.

Both spouses sign a separation agreement. It is a legal and binding agreement that is filed in the county where one of the spouses lives. The purpose of this document is to resolve debt, property and other issues with children; it details everything just as a divorce does. A judge may think that the grounds for divorce are not fulfilled, as the marriage is not irretrievably broken. This is the instance when he will sign a separation agreement.

Division of Property

The largest possession of most couples is the family home. A judge will take into consideration the financial abilities of each spouse to maintain the home to make a decision of who will be able to live in the home. This is considered marital property. Any property acquired by either spouse after they are married will need to be separated between the two spouses.

It is best for you to consider all items that were your property before you entered into the marriage and make a list of them. These items are your personal property that you can ask the judge to keep.

Debt Separation

The debts that each spouse incurred before the marriage are personal debts and the debts acquired after the marriage are marital debts. These must also be distributed between the two spouses by the court.

You should also make a list of all the debts including mortgages, loans, credit cards and any other source.

Alimony and Maintenance

In a legal separation preceding, a judge may grant a maintenance agreement for either spouse. The spouse that receives the maintenance agreement has a lower amount of income per month and with the thought that they can’t support him or herself through regular employment. This is also affected if they are requested to take care of a child at home whose condition makes it unable for them to find suitable work outside the home.

You should make a list of all of your income so it can be compared to your spouse’s income levels.

Child Custody

Each spouse can prepare a parenting plan on their own, or they can prepare one together. This plan explains where it is in the best interest of the child to live and why. It also outlines who would pay for health insurance for a child and who makes all the decisions, or if they are shared as to education, medical and dental decisions as well as extracurricular activities, daycare if needed and dispute resolutions.

A list should be made of all costs associated with the child such as educational, childcare and how bills not covered by the health insurance should be paid and by which party.

Child Support

Missouri can award child support to one spouse or to both. It all depends on your financial needs and resources of both parents. It also takes into account the work-related child care expenses of both parents and the standard of living that the child is enjoying as a result of the marriage.

Child Living Arrangements

You should also decide where you think the child should live. Take into consideration all facts that will make the separation easier on a child. For example, if the child grew up in one home their entire life and attended the same schools as their friends and neighbors, it may be in their best interest for them to live in the family home rather than move with the other parent.

Legal Fees

You should make a budget for any legal fees that you will incur in the marriage separation process and account for taking time off work to be in court.

This can be quite a daunting process and we are here to help you with it at the Law Offices of Kathleen Shaul, PC. We can make sure that all items are addressed for the best separation while making sure your children are cared for in the best manner.