Trusted Divorce & Legal Separation Advocates in St. Louis, MO

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At Raza & Jones, LLC we will work closely with you throughout the entire process

Legal Separation

A legal separation is similar to a divorce in most respects; however, at the end of the process, the spouses remain legally married. Couples in Missouri frequently choose to pursue a legal separation instead of getting divorced for religious or financial reasons. In a legal separation, it is important to work through all of the same issues you would address in a divorce and formalize the terms of your separation in a comprehensive agreement (just as you would in a divorce).

Legal separation is not necessarily permanent. Separated spouses can agree at any point to undo the legal separation and resume their married life together. Conversely, one spouse might decide to convert the separation into a dissolution of marriage–a divorce.

Annulment

An annulment is different from a legal separation or divorce in that once an annulment is finalized, it is as though the parties were never legally married. There are only limited grounds to seek an annulment in Missouri, and individuals who are interested in an annulment are well-advised to hire an experienced attorney.

Protecting Your Rights in Your Legal Separation or Divorce

In both divorces and legal separations, there are many issues that need to be thoroughly addressed. At Raza & Jones, LLC we will work closely with you throughout the process, explaining your options, giving you advice, and making sure that you have all of the information you need to make informed decisions.
The primary issues involved in Missouri divorces and legal separations are:

Division of Marital Property

In a divorce in Missouri, marital property is subject to what the law calls, “equitable distribution.” This means that all marital property (property acquired during your marriage) must be divided in such a way as to promote a fair (though not necessarily equal) allocation. Property ownership is not solely determined by how the property is titled. The court will look at other factors such as how and when the property was acquired and the source of funds used to acquire the property. Non-marital property, i.e. property received through gift, inheritance or due to a prenuptial agreement is “set aside” to its owner.

When dividing marital property, it is necessary to know the fair market value (FMV) of the property in question. Determining FMV may require a professional evaluation or appraisal. Because those valuations can be complex and expensive, it is a good idea to work with a trusted and qualified expert. We regularly work with appraisers and business valuators and can recommend one if needed.

Spousal Support

If you or your spouse will be seeking spousal support (known as “maintenance” in Missouri), this is an issue that you will need to thoroughly address as well. There are different types of spousal support and different ways it can be paid, and you need to make sure that you are fully aware of your spouse’s finances in order to avoid paying too much or receiving too little.

Child Custody and Support

For couples with children, custody and child support issues are often some of the most emotionally-charged issues involved in their legal separation or divorce. Missouri has set guidelines for calculating child support, and there are certain factors that go into establishing custody and visitation rights based upon the best interests of the children.

Call (314) 449-8830 or email us to make an appointment