Separation agreements can have implications in Missouri divorces

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Legal Separation on Wednesday, August 8, 2012.

Many couples in Missouri who are splitting up face the decision of whether to go with a legal separation or a divorce. Both scenarios have some similarities in terms of reaching agreements, yet both have different implications that can affect a person’s financial future. This is why it is important to learn about both before coming to any kind of agreement.

With separation, couples can enter into agreements. These agreements often address similar issues to the ones in a divorce. However, those entering into these agreements should be warned that not only does a separation often lead to divorce, but that the agreements made in a separation can greatly impact any divorce agreements later on down the road.

For example, let’s say in a separation agreement one spouse agrees to receiving a certain amount in alimony. Months later, during a divorce proceeding, the spouse receiving alimony wants more money each month. In this situation, one can almost be certain the one paying will bring up the separation agreement and point to the fact that the husband or wife has financially been just fine with the current amount and therefore does not need to be awarded any more.

However, there are of course benefits to separation over divorce too, like one spouse being able to stay on the other’s health insurance benefits.

In terms of divorce, there is typically a set amount of time a dependent can stay on a spouse’s health insurance plan for. Additionally, those no longer legally married can no longer have the legal benefits, such as inheritance rights, decision making power and protections often awarded to jointly-owned property.

In the end, whether a separation or a divorce is the best decision really depends on a couple’s situation. An attorney with experience with both divorce and separation can help analyze both choices and explain how each could affect a person’s future.

Source: Fox Business, “Separation or Divorce? What Each Means for Your Finances?” July 25, 2012

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