Jacquelyn S. Gonz, Attorney At Law Llc

Legal issues to considers before deciding to divorce

If you are separated from your spouse or feeling ready to ask for a divorce, you’ll soon need to have a very difficult conversation with your spouse. However, before broaching the subject of divorce, it may be wise to consider the potential legal consequences of the announcement.

Before deciding to tell your spouse you’ve decided to divorce, consider the following legal issues that could result.

Residency requirement

If you or your spouse has been a resident of Missouri for less than 90 days, you’ll need to wait a while before you could legally get a divorce in Missouri’s jurisdiction.

No-fault or at-fault

Most divorces these days are “no-fault” divorces. This means that the marriage is irrecoverably broken, but not because of any particular thing that one spouse did to wrong the other.

At-fault divorce, conversely, is normally filed when a spouse cheats on their partner or harms their partner.

Because at-fault divorces are not amicable, those who go this route should arrange for separated living conditions ahead of time and serve their spouse the divorce papers, rather than discussing the matter.

Hiding or damaging assets

Consider the character of your spouse. If you believe he or she may hide or damage shared assets after you announce the divorce, you can take legal steps to prevent this. An attorney can help you meet with a judge to establish a temporary order that will keep your shared assets protected until property division is handled in your divorce case.


If you are concerned that the safety of you or your children may be at risk once you tell your spouse your desire to divorce, you can meet with a judge to establish a temporary restraining order until your divorce proceedings begin.

This will establish a custody order and allow you to stay in your home and continue to use your car. Restraining orders that are violated could result in severe penalties, including jail time.

What happens next

You should also consider the logistics of what will happen after the divorce conversation is over. Who will change their living arrangements? How will bills be paid? If you share children, who will care for their needs?

Making these considerations in advance can make the discussion easier to have and end.

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