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How to File for Legal Separation in Missouri

by Jaimie Zinski

When a marriage is coming to an end, one step that some couples take is to file for a legal separation. In Missouri and across the United States, legal separation is generally sought to keep the couple's finances together or for religious reasons. Filing for legal separation in Missouri is a legal process that involves a binding document that stands until the couple reconciles or files for divorce.

Obtain a petition for separation through a lawyer, the Missouri courts website or your local county clerk.

Fill out the necessary paperwork. The court will ask you for legal grounds for separation, such as adultery, abandonment for at least six months or intolerable behavior.

Make a list of the marital assets and liability. The list should include any property and to whom the property should be awarded, as well as liabilities and who is responsible for them.

Present a petition to your spouse that states the intent to file for legal separation, unless both parties are filing for the separation jointly. Both parties must agree upon the provisions concerning financial liabilities, assets, child support and placement of any children. Once both parties agree, the documents must be signed and notarized.

File the document with the clerk of courts. The clerk of courts will then prepare any other necessary documents, which will then be presented to a judge. This judge will either endorse or deny the legal separation.

Obtain copies of the documents filed for you and your spouse. These will be important if divorce proceedings begin.

Tip

  • You must be a resident of Missouri for 90 days to file for legal separation in the state.