Jacquelyn S. Gonz, Attorney At Law Llc

Do I have to communicate with a spouse I’m separated from?

Most experts agree that couples who split should cut off communication altogether or keep it to a minimum afterward. With time, parents may be able to work with their ex amicably for their children’s sake.

However, after a recent separation, is it possible to keep from communicating with your ex while seeking a divorce?

Filing for divorce

One spouse must file for divorce and the other should acknowledge it. You cannot file for divorce with your spouse. In fact, you must live separately for at least thirty days in Missouri in order to file for divorce in the first place.

Once you create the divorce complaint, you’ll need a third-party person to deliver the papers to your ex. This person could be a family member, friend or a professional process server. However, they’ll need to be 18 years or older, not involved in your divorce case and able to complete a proof of service form.

Negotiating the divorce

Any time you are negotiating the terms of your divorce, do it with a lawyer by your side. If you are receiving texts, calls or visits from your ex to discuss the divorce, you should redirect him or her to speak to your attorney about these matters.

Otherwise, the two of you can work together to negotiate your divorce agreement in timed mediation sessions with a third-party outside of court. If you want to avoid speaking to your ex altogether, you can conduct the divorce negotiations in court. Doing this, however, tends to take longer and cost more.

Getting back your stuff

If your ex has something of yours, you may ask your attorney to help request it back. However, if your spouse is not willing to give you an object or pet that is considered marital property, you may need to wait until property division is handled to try to get it back.

On the other hand, if you suspect that your pet or prized possession may be in immediate danger while in the care of your ex, you may be able to secure a court order to retrieve it until the terms of property division are concluded.

Unwanted texts, calls and visits

Similarly, if you are receiving unwanted texts, calls or visits from your ex that verge on stalking or harassment, you may be able to request an immediate hearing with a judge to secure a temporary restraining order.

Handling the kids

You may also be able to secure a temporary child custody order if you feel that your children are in danger while in your ex’s care. Otherwise, you may choose to use your attorney to make arrangements for the kids with your ex.

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