Separation frequently leads to divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Legal Separation on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.

In Missouri, there are no official separation requirements before a couple files for divorce. However, it is quite common for many couples to separate in order to give themselves time to figure out exactly what they want to do: Either try once more to stay together or file for divorce.

Statistically, when a couple does separate, it greatly increases their chances of getting divorced. One recent study even found that roughly 79 percent of couples who separate later go on to file for divorce. Additionally, it seems that three years of separation is the breaking point, as those who have been separated for three years tend to not reunite and instead either stay in this limbo of separation or file for divorce.

For the study, researchers looked at data from 7,272 people who were between the ages of 14 and 22 in 1979. At that point, none of the individuals picked for this study has been married. Researchers then contacted these same individuals to check on their marital statuses today. Of those more than 7,200 people, 51 percent reported being married. However, out of the other 49 percent, more than half of those reported going through a marital separation. Of those who went through a separation, almost 80 percent ended up going through a divorce.

When looking at the timeline of a first-time separation, for those who decided to file for divorce, the average for the separation time was three years. Of course, some people did decide to separate and get back together, but in those cases, on average the separation lasted two years.

Additionally, since separation does not have a cut-off date when it has to end, research found that 7 percent of separations last 10 years or longer.

For residents in Missouri, what this research suggests is that while separation is common, it often times leads to divorce. Additionally, since separation can go on for quite some time without a resolution of either divorce or staying together, it is important to note that for the meantime there are separation agreements that a couple can enter into. These agreements can help to decide child custody, visitation and child support, among other aspects similar to a divorce settlement, like alimony and property division.

Source: USA Today, “Splitting? 79% of marital separations end in divorce,” Sharon Jayson, May 6, 2012

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