The standard for divorce in Missouri is if there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage of the parties can be preserved, and, as a result, it is irretrievably broken. The standard for legal separation, on the other hand, is that the marriage of the parties is not irretrievably broken and that therefore there remains a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.
In several counties, there are a number of automatic court orders which go into effect upon the filing of a petition for dissolution or legal separation. For example, in Saint Louis County, Local Court Rule 68.3 requires, among other things, that neither party may “harass, abuse, threaten to abuse, stalk, molest or disturb the peace of the other party or any of the parties’ minor children.”
A more pressing, monetary concern is whether any financial obligations terminate upon the filing of a divorce or legal separation. Chief among these concerns is what happens to health insurance. Are both parties required to obtain separate insurance? RSMo 452.315 provides the answer: From the date of filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, no party shall terminate coverage during the pendency of the proceeding for any other party or any minor child of the marriage under any existing policy of health, dental or vision insurance. Accordingly, Missouri state law that the status quo arrangement relating to health insurance remain untouched.
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